Air Conditioning System for Old House with No Ducts
LESLIE: John is joining us from New Jersey, who listens to The Money Pit on WCTC.
And you want to talk about weatherproofing windows. Are you freezing yet?
JOHN: Just about. (all chuckle) In fact, they’re talking snow.
LESLIE: It’s that time of year. It’s inevitable.
JOHN: You bet.
LESLIE: Well, what kind of windows do you have?
JOHN: Double-hung. And what in particular I’m concerned about is that we have a fairly large number of window air conditioners and it’s very hard to get the window air conditioners in and out.
LESLIE: So you want to keep them in there.
JOHN: I’m wondering is there something on the market that might be able to save me some dollars without having to take those air conditioners in and out.
TOM: Well, there are window air conditioner insulators that are like big, quilted covers that fit around …
LESLIE: Yeah, it looks like a toaster cover, except it goes on the outside of your air conditioner.
TOM: Yeah. But John, honestly, they do an OK job but you’re still going to have huge energy leaks through those windows if you don’t take them out. Have you thought about installing central air conditioning if you have a lot of units? Is it something that’s economically possible for you?
JOHN: At this point, no. We have a really large, sprawling, older house with hot water heat.
JOHN: No ductwork.
TOM: OK, well there’s an option on that and it’s a system called SpacePak. It’s spelled S-p-a-c-e-P-a-k. And it’s a high-velocity, low-volume air conditioning system. It involves ducts that are very, very narrow. They’re about the size of a dryer exhaust duct – like about 3 inches in diameter – and they fit inside the walls of older homes. It’s a very efficient way of getting air conditioning in an older house without doing a lot of demolition.
LESLIE: And also, if you’re really deciding to just keep that air conditioner in the window, make sure you get a good-fitting cover that’s insulated that’ll cover the outside of the air conditioner and then also get a quilted one that fits really nicely that covers the inside face of the air conditioner. And a good one you can find online at Brookstone.com and it’s very reasonably priced. It’s like $20.
LESLIE: So first choice, take them out. But if you’re not going to, cover them up.
JOHN: I like the information you gave me, too, about the new – now is that just a ductwork system that …?
LESLIE: Yeah, and it fits between your studs in the wall. It’s almost like the dryer hose.
TOM: Right. John, their website is SpacePak.com. And remember, Pak is spelled P-a-k. And you can probably find a dealer near you. It’s a pretty cool system. I really like it.
LESLIE: Yeah, we’re looking at it for our house and I went to their website and they were very quick to get in contact with us and very nice and very informative and they’ll really work with you to make it work for your house.
JOHN: What about the possibility of putting a central unit in the attic?
TOM: Well, that’s where the air handler would be mounted, John. Typically, when you take an older home that has a hot water system, you put the condensing unit in the attic; you put the compressor outside. So the air handler and the condenser is in the attic. That’s the big box that’s in the attic. That’s where the duct starts and then they feed down through your walls.
TOM: Alright, John?
JOHN: Makes a lot of sense.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.