If you live in an older home, you already know about the challenges that come with trying to do any updates to make your living space more modern. Many times, older homes don’t have the space or means to accommodate today’s common cooling systems, such as central air conditioners that make use of ductwork.
Instead of trying to retrofit a new air conditioning system into your home, and damaging plastered ceilings, walls, and floors in the process, consider one of the cooling alternatives below.
Ductless mini split systems
These systems make use of indoor (air handling unit) and outdoor (condensing unit) components to cool a couple rooms in your home. The air handling unit is often installed on a wall or in the ceiling, when there is adequate space. The condensing unit is installed on the side of a home, often beneath a window.
Mini split systems work by blowing warmed air from inside your home over cold coils known as evaporator coils. Refrigerant in the coils absorbs the heat, which is pushed outside into the condensing unit. The only downside to this type of system is that it cannot be used to cool your entire home. It’s ideal for use in one or two rooms.
Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems
VRF systems can be used to cool much larger spaces, including multiple levels of your older home. The basic structure of a VRF system includes one or more outdoor units (compressors), several indoor units (air handlers), refrigerant running through piping, and a controller used to change temperature settings in your home – similar to a thermostat.
Since these systems are somewhat more expensive when compared to ductless mini split systems, their installation can be somewhat complex. However, the system is designed to allow for expansion. You could start by having it installed just in your main living areas, such as the kitchen and family room, and then expand the system to other areas of your home over several months or years.
High velocity cooling systems
These systems are a great idea for homeowners who are worried about compromising usable space. Their design includes flexible ductwork that can often be installed inside walls or ceilings. This means you don’t need to worry about having multiple air handlers taking up usable living space in your older home.
A high velocity system works by using suctioning mechanisms to gradually push a stream of air out through the flexible ductwork outlet into a space. They are known for being less drafty than more common cooling systems, such as central air conditioners, because they don’t push large amounts of air out at once. Large amounts of cooled air in an open space can quickly lead to problems with regulating temperatures.
Regardless of which type of cooling system you think is best for your older home, consult with a professional. He or she will be able to help you determine which option is best for your home based on your cooling needs, budget, and usable space.