Heating and Cooling System Options for Older Homes

Older homes hold a special brand of appeal for some buyers that centers not only on the apparent durability of the structure, but also on style, character, and architectural hallmarks of the era in which they were built. Although not all homeowners are interested in the charm that older homes exude, there is a certain segment of society that is drawn to this type of home rather than the cookie-cutter construction that seems to dominate the modern housing market. And the appeal may have something to do with the fact that these fixer-upper homes can be had for far less than the cost of a brand new structure. Unfortunately, there is a trade-off. Many older homes need repairs and upgrades, especially if the inhabitants value an adequate and reliable power supply and other modern amenities. And depending on the age of the home, heating and cooling could be an issue. Luckily, there are several options to consider when it comes to controlling the air flow and temperature in an older home. Here are a few heating and cooling system options you’ll want to explore.

The first thing you should probably focus on is a way to regulate the temperature in the home, after which you might want to upgrade insulation in order to maximize energy efficiency. Your house may already be equipped with a centralized fireplace or wood stove, as well as some piping that goes to other rooms in the home. Or you might have a boiler and radiators, depending on the era and the area. Systems like these may work perfectly well and require no upgrades or replacement. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Of course, the problem with such antiquated systems for many homeowners centers on the cost and hassle of running them. And while these systems heat your home, they don’t tend to provide any relief during the hot summer months, when you’ll find yourself relying on ceiling and table fans to keep you cool.

So what are your other options? Central heating and air is the most popular modern form of heating and cooling homes. But since your house wasn’t designed to accommodate the equipment that goes along with such a system, you may have trouble figuring out where to place your furnace and AC unit, not to mention how to hide ductwork. And the cost of installing this entire system, complete with tearing out and replacing walls and potentially moving piping or electrical conduits, could put you in the poorhouse. In short, it may not be cost-effective, no matter how much use you get out of it or how much value it adds to your property.

A simpler option could be to install ductless heating and air conditioning units. While you might not like the look of the units, which will likely have to be installed by cutting holes in the walls in order to properly mount each unit (they have to attach to exterior walls for outside venting), they will allow you the freedom to heat and cool each room in your house independently. And the money you’ll save over installing central air is enormous. Of course, your best bet is to work with the system you already have in place, if possible. It’s probably going to be a lot cheaper to upgrade your boiler and radiators than to install central air. And if you have a wood or pellet stove already attached to ductwork that runs through the home, you might look into¬†one stage vs two stage furnaces that could be installed in place of the stove, using the original piping. Older homes may require special considerations, but there’s no reason you can’t get the heat and AC you need to be comfortable. You just have to understand your options and select the system that meets your needs and fits your budget.

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  4. 5 Potential Issues That May Arise When Purchasing an Older Home
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