AC for Older Homes – What You Need to Know

Posted June 27, 2023 by in Home
ac in older home

Older homes frequently lack ductwork, leaving homeowners without many air conditioning options. Cross drafts or window AC units may provide temporary cooling relief; however, they can be loud and present a security risk.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about getting AC for your old home. Afterward, you can visit the following site if you’d like to schedule an AC installation in Colorado:


Installing air conditioning in an older home depends on two key factors: the size and energy efficiency rating of its unit. More efficient units typically require higher upfront investments, but their reduced energy bills could compensate for these initial investments over time.

Air conditioners with SEER ratings of 17 typically range in cost from $3,450 to $6,600 and are considered high-efficiency units, making them suitable for homes in slightly warmer or moderate climates with reduced monthly energy costs.

Old homes typically do not have an extensive network of ducts that distribute conditioned air. To install a central AC, an HVAC professional must create new ducts and seal leaky ones; this process may damage original plasterwork, woodwork, and floorboards.

To avoid these complications, opt for a ductless system like a mini-split air conditioning system. These systems deliver cool air directly into individual rooms without the need for bulky ductwork – perfect for older homes without space constraints!

Energy Efficiency

Many older homes lack proper insulation and energy-efficient HVAC systems, making upgrading costly.

One major obstacle is that older homes tend not to include the necessary ductwork required for traditional air conditioning systems, making installation expensive and complicated – and often incompatible with historic architecture. Adding new ducts can require costly reconstruction work, compromising the aesthetics and integrity of buildings.

A cost-effective ductless mini-split AC system may be the ideal solution, as they are far less costly to install in either an attic or extra room in your house. Furthermore, such systems save money year-round as their efficiency keeps costs to a minimum.

Professional HVAC technicians will assess your load requirements and install a system with sufficient capacity for an older home. They can suggest the top brands, ensuring the equipment fits as intended and replacing any outdated aluminum wiring that overheats easily and poses fire risks.

Installation Options

Modern central air conditioning systems consist of an outdoor compressor and indoor “air handling unit“, connected by ductwork to distribute conditioned air throughout your home. Installing traditional equipment typically involves remodeling walls, floors, ceilings or closets to make space for ducts and equipment.

HVAC specialists can offer advice for air conditioning solutions that don’t entail installing bulky ducts in an old house, as well as conducting load calculations to make sure that the new system fits in perfectly with your usage needs.

Alternative options to consider for winter electric bills may include installing an air-source heat pump, which combines cooling and heating functions, to lower winter electricity bills by up to 40%. Unfortunately, older homes typically don’t have enough electrical capacity to support such an upgrade; an alternative ductless solution that only requires one indoor air handler and outdoor condenser is more cost-effective while still adding value.


As with any home renovation project, some older homes require special consideration when renovating them. For instance, many older buildings do not include ductwork for forced air heating and cooling systems – making installation expensive and time-consuming, often necessitating the demolition of walls and lower ceilings to fit new equipment into such homes.

Another potential obstacle lies with the electrical system of an older home. Older properties often utilize 60-amp systems that don’t provide enough juice to run modern appliances in them, leading to tripped circuit breakers or other complications that require upgrading from an electrician. Sometimes this upgrade must occur before your HVAC contractor can install air conditioning equipment.

However, some older buildings do have ductwork that allows for traditional split system AC equipment to operate effectively. These systems feature an outdoor condenser unit and indoor evaporator units which work in conjunction to distribute air throughout the building. If you’re searching for AC solutions suitable for your historic home read on to discover three innovative methods which don’t rely on traditional ductwork piping alone.