In the hot and humid climate of Southwest Florida, air conditioning is practically a necessity during the hottest parts of the year, and a quality system can increase the value of your home significantly. Many older homes lack a central air conditioning system, so here are a few tips that will help when installing air conditioning in an older home:
Prepare Your Home
For an air conditioning system to run efficiently without dramatically increasing your energy costs, your home must be reasonably sealed and insulated. Drafts around windows, doors and other penetrations in your exterior walls can allow cool air to escape, significantly increasing your cooling costs, and a lack of insulation will make it hard for your home to maintain a cool temperature. Before installing air conditioning in an older home, consider having an energy evaluation done to find out where your home needs proper sealing and additional insulation.
Choose a System Type
If your home has existing ducts for a furnace, adding a central air conditioning system can be a relatively inexpensive choice. If, however, ducts must be added, the costs will increase dramatically. In that case, you may want to consider adding a ductless mini-split system, which can cool one or more rooms without the need for traditional air ducts. If you are upgrading your heating system at the same time, another option may be a heat pump, which requires air ducts, but can both heat and cool your home efficiently and cost-effectively.
Size It Correctly
Often, especially in older homes, air conditioners are oversized to compensate for any problems with air leaks or poor insulation. An air conditioner that isn’t properly sized will run inefficiently, increasing energy costs. Oversized systems will cycle on and off frequently, preventing proper dehumidification and stressing components like the blower motor and fans. Systems that are too small will work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. A professional should be used to size the system, using the proper Manual J procedures.
For more tips on installing air conditioning in an older home, talk to our team at Conditioned Air.