Installing Central Air Conditioning in an Old House

Despite the oppressive heat, there are many older homes throughout the state of Florida that have never had central air conditioning. If you live in one of these homes, you might think that installing central air is impossible. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Here’s what you need to know.

Traditional Installation

Per statistics from HVAC system manufacturers and installers across the nation, the average cost associated with adding central air to a home with existing forced-air heating costs anywhere from $3500 to $4000, including the cost of the system and the labor involved. It typically takes a maximum of three days to complete the job, but this can vary based upon factors like clearance in the furnace area. In this type of installation, the techs install the outdoor condenser unit and attach the indoor unit to the existing furnace. Ductwork for the furnace is used to deliver cooled air to the home.

Differences when Installing Central Air in an Old Home

Most homes in the Lakeland area don’t have forced air heating. It rarely gets cold enough to run a furnace, so it’s an investment most people just don’t make. This means there are tens of thousands of homes in the area that have no ductwork at all, so these homeowners rely on window units and ductless mini-split systems to keep them comfortable. These can do the trick, but they’re not as efficient as a newer-model central air unit. Installing central air in these homes will require the installation of the entire system – including the ductwork – and is likely double the cost of a traditional installation.

How Long Does It Take?

Installing central air conditioning in an old home can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on several factors. For example, because there are ventilation regulations, homeowners may be required to modify their homes to suit their new central air systems. What’s more, the location of the ductwork – under the floor, in the basement, or even in the attic space – will also help to determine the amount of labor that goes into the project. The best way to figure out the cost and project timeframe is to have a professional evaluate your home and provide an on-site estimate. Some companies will do this free of charge.

How to Prepare

In most cases, installing central air in an older home takes time. This means that homeowners will likely deal with noise and technicians coming in and out of their homes regularly. It’s important to plan for this disruption. While some homeowners find they are more comfortable staying with friends and family during the installation process, keep in mind that your HVAC company may require the presence of someone over the age of 18 to enter your home for liability reasons. Talk to your HVAC installer and plan accordingly.

If you live in an older home, you might think installing central air is impossible. It can be done, and while it costs quite a bit more than a traditional installation, it will add value to your home in the long run and eventually provide a positive return on your investment. The best part? It’ll lower your energy bills and keep you more comfortable, too.

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