Air-Conditioning Choices for Historical Homes

Do you have a historical home that you need to cool down, but aren’t sure where to start?

You might be confused what all the choices are, and how they relate to your budget.

Maybe you received a bid that included removing one of the few closets in your home.

Or, while trying to retrofit a system into your home, the Historical Society started giving you issues.

Air conditioning a historical home doesn’t have to be difficult and confusing.

There are three types of air conditioning systems available to historical homes: Window Units, Conventional A/C systems, and High Velocity (or small duct) A/C systems.

This guide will help clarify the pros and cons for these air conditioning choices, and help you determine which one is best for your particular home and budget.

1)    Window Units

Since most historical homes were not designed with central air conditioning in mind, window units are very common. They are the most inexpensive choice among the three air conditioning types, and very easy to install.

Unfortunately, while they are easy to install, they are also easy to remove. This causes safety issues, allowing robbers the opportunity to remove the unit. It even gives them something to step on to enter into the window.

While the unit can be a great temporary solution, for long term use it is problematic. A few of the problems include:

  • Lack of Humidity removal
  • Extremely Noisy
  • Uneven room temperatures
  • Lack of good filtration

If you want a clean, mold-free, quiet, comfortable, hypo-allergenic home, we recommend looking into the next two options.

2) Conventional Air Conditioning

As the name suggests, conventional air conditioning is the most common type of air conditioning used in a home, and the type of system most contractors and architects are familiar with.

Conventional air conditioning provides better filtration, humidity removal, noise reduction and safety than window units. It also begins to give you thermostat options,  which provide tighter control on the temperature.

While the cost of the initial system is “average” out of the three options,  the large ductwork that comes with conventional systems can be very costly for multiple reasons:

  • Covering the ductwork requires additional design and construction that must be factored into the total cost.
  • Cost of storage space. The few small closets built inside a historical home is usually lost when conventional a/c is added. 
  • This type of system also typically removes the majority of attic space allowed for storage and build-outs.

Another huge problem historical homes  encounter with conventional air conditioning is reduction in historical value and architectural integrity. Additions such as fur-downs are non-aesthetically pleasing, and the large grills can affect the overall historical look.

Uneven temperature is another problem caused by conventional air conditioning. Hot and cold spots are frequent.

3) High Velocity

High velocity air conditioning, also called small duct air conditioning, is the perfect combination of form and function for a historical homes.

Functionally, high velocity a/c systems provide:

  • The best possible humidity removal
  • The best comfort level
  • The best possible filtration to control mold and allergies
  • Even temperature control with the latest thermostats
  • Super-efficient and carbon monoxide free gas heating, which can be adapted into the system (future article on this subject coming soon)

In beauty and form, high velocity systems are unmatched, for multiple reasons:

  • The small duct work takes up less space, freeing up your closets and attic space again. The total installation takes up only 1/3 of the total attic space, on average.
  • The system can be installed with little to no remodeling
  • Designer grills and many outlet choices to add to the beauty of your home

High velocity systems are a premium product, and come with a premium cost, sometimes- 20-50% more than conventional air-conditioning. In our next series, we will be discussing solutions to help with the cost of a high velocity a/c system.

Preserve the architectural integrity and historical value of your home by installing a high velocity system.

Having your system installed by Airmart of Texas means you will be taken care of by experienced professionals with a total of 40 years’ experience in high velocity air-conditioning.