Most Efficient Air Conditioning for a Historical Home
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Brian in Texas who has an air-conditioning question. And in Texas, you probably need that. What’s going on, Brian?
BRIAN: I’m actually looking at purchasing a home. It was built in 1914. It’s on the historical list and I’ve already gotten permission to do pretty much whatever I need to to it. But I was trying to find out what would be more efficient: either air-conditioning units in the walls or would it be better to just open up the walls and put in central air?
TOM: Well, from an efficiency perspective, certainly central air conditioning is going to be a lot more efficient than a bunch of window units.
Now, when you have a historical home, though, it becomes a little more tricky about how you run the ducts. There is a type of system, though, that’s called a high-velocity system – low-volume, high-velocity system. And this uses ducts that are about the same diameter as a dryer vent – around 3 inches or so – and they can run inside wall cavities without necessitating the destruction of tearing the wall apart. So if you hook up with a good HVAC contractor and go through your options, you should be able to figure out a way to get a central air-conditioning system in this home with the least amount of disturbance and destruction possible.
BRIAN: Actually, it’s got the original plaster walls and I really would hate to lose those.
LESLIE: Now, I don’t think you have to. If it’s done correctly and if it’s done creatively, there are ways to work with what you have.
BRIAN: OK. Well, I really do appreciate it. I just – I really didn’t know what would be the best way to go with it. I mean this is my first time dealing with anything historical. I’ve had other small projects but this I’ve been real hesitant on. I’ve listened to you guys’ show for a while and I really, really do appreciate your advice. And I just – I want to say thank you.
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome, Brian. So I think you can do this project. Keep in mind that if it becomes more complicated to run the ducts, that could run the costs up. So get some estimates so you know what you’re getting involved with. And whatever you do, make sure you get a professional home inspection of this house done before you buy it. A good home inspector will be able to screen out any major problems before you sign on the dotted line, OK?
BRIAN: Very well. I do appreciate it. Thank you.