If your home is older, it may not have a duct system, forcing you to resort to window AC units, fans, radiators, and space heaters to warm and cool your home. However, if you’re looking to upgrade your HVAC systems, you can have a new duct system installed into a ductless home.
Research a Contractor
What might seem a daunting task to the homeowner is easy work to the contractor with the proper skills. In an older home, you have more to consider than just having a new duct system installed.
Older homes were not built with the planning to accommodate ductwork, so they likely do not have the room allowance. It is important to maintain the character and avoid aesthetic damage to the structure.
Be sure to hire a contractor with the proper credentials for this kind of work, and learn what you can about their longevity with respect to any follow-up and product guarantees.
Get a Technical Evaluation
Every home is different, and a careful examination of the structure considering the aspects of cost, aesthetics, performance, and energy efficiency must all be taken into account before you begin this project.
Your contractor will need to assess the home’s existing insulation including window and door frames.
Homes that allow the air to escape also allow the outside air to come inside, resulting in temperature fluctuations that any system must work harder to compensate for.
Evaluate Your Home’s Load Capacity
Regardless of what type of building you’re putting a new duct system in, you’re going to need to calculate the load capacity before committing to the installation. This calculation is an industry standard for determining the right size of air conditioning unit to install.
A home is only as comfortable as its HVAC system. Too big or small and your unit cannot deliver the comfort you are seeking. This calculation takes into account the square footage, ceiling heights, occupants, windows, number of floors, and direct sunlight exposure the home gets. This is what will achieve the energy efficiency you expect in a new duct system.
Install Ducted Air Conditioning
Older homes generally do not have any existing system of ducts. However, homes that do may prove to be leaky and could benefit from replacement with new ductwork.
Since older homes were not originally designed to contain bulky central air systems, the available space is often the greatest challenge. Today’s ducted air conditioning systems do not need as much space as before, and the indoor unit is now much smaller.
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This makes it possible to place it in an attic or basement. Your contractor will calculate the best placement in relation to the air handler and the return to avoid potential air contaminants.
Check the Electrical System
Older homes’ electrical systems rarely have the capacity to handle plugging in all of your usual devices let alone an updated central air conditioning system with ductwork. The higher load capacity of a new HVAC system places huge demands on an older home’s electrical system.
It may be necessary to have the wiring redone before starting work on the new installation. This part of the job is not aesthetic.
It must be contemplated as part of the installation and is unavoidable in many cases. Otherwise, you would be plagued with tripped circuit breakers, shorts, and the potential for a house fire from overheating the old aluminum wiring.
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Air distribution systems can affect the health and safety of the occupants. Leaks in the ductwork rob a house of energy and comfort. Your contractor will properly seal all joints with mastic and fiberglass tape.
Constrictions in the ducts must be avoided to prevent the airflow from being choked off. Straight runs and gradual turns make for the best systems.
Properly designed ducted air conditioning delivers maximum comfort to homeowners. Carefully chosen contractors can help you achieve these results.
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Image credit: putting a new duct system by envato.com
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