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What You Need To Know About The Best Air Conditioning Options For Older Homes

What You Need To Know About The Best Air Conditioning Options For Older Homes

Only 1 in 400 homes had air conditioners by the 1940s. Therefore, the likelihood is that your older home was not constructed with air conditioning in mind. You’ve come to the right site if you’re wondering what the finest options for residential air conditioning are. We’ve done extensive research on the subject and have some recommendations for you!

For older properties, the top air conditioning alternatives are:

  • Central Air Conditioning
  • VRF Systems
  • Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioner
  • High Velocity HVAC System
  • Window AC Units

The greatest air conditioning systems for your older home may now be in your head, but keep reading as we go into more detail on each. We’ll discuss some benefits and drawbacks as well as approximate costs for each method. We’ll also address some additional queries you might have regarding house cooling.

The Best Options For Air Conditioning In An Older House

Early in the 1930s, air conditioning systems were first used in residential buildings. Since they were so expensive, air conditioning was not installed in many households. After the war, air conditioning systems gained in acceptance and price in the 1950s. So, there’s a chance your house doesn’t have air conditioning if it was constructed before this. The good news is that you do have choices.

Central Air Conditioning
The most typical type of air conditioning in contemporary homes is central air conditioning systems. A central point cools the air, which is subsequently distributed throughout the house using ductwork and vents.

What You Need To Know About The Best Air Conditioning Options For Older Homes

This is one of the most effective ways to cool a house, as you can guess. However, installing a central air system in an older home can be expensive and tricky. Depending on the size of your home, you should prepare to spend between $5,000 and $10,000. The best approach to cool a home is, therefore, to install this if you can afford it and if installation is feasible. Additionally, it may contribute to increasing your home’s worth.

VRF Systems
Variable Refrigerant Flow is known as VRF. Due to the fact that it is ductless, it is perfect for older homes that cannot be equipped with a central air system. A VRF system cools air by using refrigerant lines rather than ducts. In comparison to a central system, it is also lighter and simpler to install. VRF systems are substantially more energy-efficient and have a smaller carbon impact for those of you who care about the environment.

What You Need To Know About The Best Air Conditioning Options For Older Homes

A VRF system is expected to cost $15 to $18 per square foot. serve ft.

Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioner
The Mini Split AC system is an additional ductless option. This technology allows for versatility in placement inside a room and is extremely energy-efficient. It can be fixed to the wall or ceiling if there isn’t much room on the floor. The cooling costs of a home have been known to be reduced by 50% with mini split systems.

A main unit for mini split systems is situated outside the building, and smaller units are scattered all over the house. If a room is huge or simply doesn’t cool off enough with one smaller unit, more can be installed. If your old house is hard to heat, another incentive to choose this choice would be because a mini-split system also has the capacity to heat a room.

Depending on the size of the home that has to be cooled, you can anticipate spending anywhere from $2000 to as much as $10,000 for this system. A number of quotes from nearby HVAC providers should be gathered in order to obtain a better notion of price.

High Velocity HVAC System
The operation of a high-velocity HVAC system is quite similar to that of a standard HVAC system, but it is far less intrusive, making it the perfect choice for older homes that can’t support a heavy-duty installation. In order to circulate air throughout the house, much smaller ducts and vents are used.

The vents are much smaller than standard vents, which are big, rectangular vents that can be up to 12 inches long. The vents are only approximately three to five inches in diameter. They can be made to appear less noticeable in your design and are less bothersome to the eye due to their small size.

You can anticipate paying a similar fee for these systems as you would for a conventional HVAC system. Always get quotes from several businesses because costs could differ where you live.

Window AC Units
Probably the first thing that came to mind while considering how to cool an older home was window units. After all, installing them doesn’t involve tearing down any drywall or walls. Window units might be a cost-effective option if you simply need to cool a few rooms.

The inability of window units to cool a big room is one of its drawbacks. They function best in a compact area. Additionally, window units can be rather noisy, jeopardize your home’s security, and reduce the amount of natural light coming in through your windows. They might also be ugly and big.

The cost per window unit ranges from $150 to $500, which is significantly less expensive than our other options. It’s crucial to keep in mind that this is merely the cost of a single unit, which can only chill a limited space. If you need to chill a huge area or a lot of rooms, you will need more units, which over time will reduce their cost-effectiveness.

How Can My Old House Be Cooled?

We’ve given you a number of possibilities for using an AC system to cool your old home, but if you’re pressed for time or just lack the funds to invest in a brand-new AC system, you might be wondering if there are any other alternatives. Thankfully, there are a few alternatives you can explore without forking over a huge sum for a new AC unit.

Regular fans won’t have the same cooling effect as an air conditioner with coolant, but even just moving the air in the room can significantly reduce the temperature of a space. Placed strategically throughout the space, box fans or ceiling fans can assist lower the temperature. You might try putting a box fan in the open window to bring cooler air inside if the outside air isn’t too warm.

Lock Windows And Cover Them
The temperature in your room may significantly rise if the sun is streaming in through your window. By keeping your windows closed and covered, you can insulate them. Blackout drapes are excellent for this. You must consider whether you are alright with shutting out the natural light in return for a cooler temperature because their major function is to prevent light from entering the room.

What You Need To Know About The Best Air Conditioning Options For Older Homes

If the idea of curtains bothers you, at the very least keep your blinds closed. Additionally, this will aid in keeping out the heat while yet allowing some natural light to enter the space.

Utilize Ovens Less
Here’s a good reason not to cook if you need one! The house may become much warmer if you use the oven to cook. Use your oven as little as possible during the warmer months, if at all possible. Instead, consider using a barbecue outside to do the cooking!

Verify The Insulation
It will be challenging to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer if your home is poorly insulated. It would be worthwhile to check the insulation levels in your attic. Sometimes, changing the quantity of insulation alone can have a significant impact.


For your older home, we’ve provided five air conditioning solutions. You should feel more assured or, at the at least, have a basic concept of which option you’d like to pursue after reading this post. Each choice has a number of benefits and drawbacks as well as a range of costs. You should take into account each of these while determining which system would be best for you.

What You Need To Know About The Best Air Conditioning Options For Older Homes

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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