Installing air conditioning in an older home: what you should know.
12 jun 2019
Older homes are beautiful, but unfortunately they often come with chilly winters and sweltering summers!
Older homes come with charm and history that you simply can’t buy. Unfortunately, they often come with chilly winters and sweltering summers due to inadequate insulation.
With rapidly evolving heating and cooling technology, we’ve come to expect a lot more from our homes than our ancestors did. Installing an air conditioner can be a quick fix to bring your house into the modern age, but before you go out and make a purchase, here are a couple of essential things you should take into consideration.
Address the root cause first
There is no use installing a brand new air conditioner if the cool/warm air will escape through ageing doors and windows. It’s a good idea to rejuvenate any insulation in your home and any gaps and cracks in your windows, doors, fireplaces, skirting and fans.
Each home is different, so if you can’t identify these yourself it’s best to seek professional advice to save you money in the long run.
Heritage List Homes
Once you’ve identified your issues and needs, be sure to check if your home is heritage listed. Each local council will have different rules and regulations you’ll have to follow, so make sure you ask for permission before making any significant changes. Failing to adhere to the standards can leave you with a massive fine, or even worse - restoring the property to its original condition which could cost you thousands. Even though this can be quite daunting, learning about the history of your home can be exciting and also give you a newfound appreciation for your abode and some great design ideas.
If you’re not sure what is achievable with a heritage listed home it’s best to seek professional advice before the project commences.
Heritage listed or not, older homes tend to have character features that give the house its charm. Make sure you consider this when deciding where to place to your air conditioning. For example, if you have old fashioned roof cornices, it would be a shame to damage them (not to mention pricey if you ever wanted to restore them).
Having an energy efficient home is more important than ever before as it helps to reduce your carbon footprint and saves your hard-earned dollars on utility bills.
One of the easiest ways you can achieve this is by making your home airtight so you’ll rely less on air conditioning to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. If you’re willing to invest long term, you can also upgrade your blinds and windows. Uncovered windows are responsible for up to 50% of unwanted heat in summer and 40% of heat loss in winter.
All air conditioners will come with an Energy Efficient Ranting, giving you a quick overview of the model's energy usage. It always best to select the model with the best rating, provided it suits your budget.
Choosing the Right System
With some many different solutions available, do your research and make sure you select a system that meets the needs of your family. You will need to consider if you are after cooling, reverse cycle, room-only or a ducted system solution. If you are unsure of what system you are looking, have a look at our air conditioner buying guide to compare the latest options on the market.
One System Doesn't Fit All
Even though you have selected the perfect system for your home, it may not always be achievable. Sometimes it can be impossible to place a fully ducted system into an old home. Some older houses have less roof space than their modern equivalents, meaning there is no room for ducts. The layout of the roof space may also not allow for a safe install. If the design of trusses and supports is unfavourable, the roof may need to be altered or completely removed to fit the air con unit, meaning you may need to seek advice from a builder or engineer to ensure the integrity of your roof isn't compromised.
Your ceiling type will also impact whether or not a ducted system is a suitable choice. For example, ducts cannot be laid over raked ceilings made famous in the 60s, and 70s, meaning you be back to the drawing board if you're roof isn't sturdy enough.
In these cases, a ductless split system air conditioner could be a great alternative for you.
Installing an air conditioning system in an older home can be overwhelming at first; however, if you chat to the experts It can be a stress-free process keeping your family comfortable all year round. So what are you waiting for?
If you need help finding the right solution, contact the Panasonic Specialist Air Network. Our expert team will help you find the ideal solution for your family.