Installing ductwork in an older home can be challenging for many reasons. Oftentimes, there simply isn’t enough room for HVAC ducts. Even if there is, you may still need to break through plaster walls, lower ceilings, cut holes in the floor, hide ducts in boxed corners, and repurpose limited closet space.
But air ducts aren’t the only way to get cooled or heated air to each room. Here are five alternatives to installing ductwork in an older home that can be more convenient and energy efficient.
1. High-Velocity AC System
Similar to a central air conditioner, a high-velocity system also uses ducts. But these ducts are flexible and just two inches in diameter. You can pass them through walls and ceilings without modifications or damage to the structure. Meanwhile, the AC unit is compact and can be installed in a basement, attic, or crawlspace.
High-velocity systems are primarily used for cooling. They can also be combined with heat pumps to provide heating. Either way, they deliver reliable temperature control for the entire house.
2. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) System
A VRF system features an outdoor condenser unit, which can be connected to multiple indoor units. No ductwork is needed. The indoor air handlers are connected by refrigerant lines that require very little space.
Zoning is another benefit of VRF systems. By creating temperature zones, you can simultaneously heat and cool different rooms and areas. The temperature can be adjusted to a different setting for each one. Best of all, you don’t have to tear down parts of your home or make any significant structural modifications.
3. Portable Air Conditioner
A portable AC can be put anywhere near a window and an electrical socket. Single-hose units exhaust air outdoors. Dual-hose systems do the same and also draw air in to cool the compressor and increase efficiency. However, these portable systems can be noisy, so check the product’s decibel rating before you buy it.
A portable AC is a type of heat pump (usually an air-source system) that contains a condenser, evaporator coil, and refrigerant. It can provide cool air in summer and be reversed to provide heating in winter. Both modes use the same refrigeration process to absorb and release heat.
4. Window/Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner
Window ACs are relatively easy to install. They’re also compact and can fit within a window frame. But if there aren’t many windows, a window unit doesn’t look appealing, or you want more natural light, a through-the-wall AC is an option. The unit fits in a large hole in the wall but involves less work and disruption than installing a central system. It’s also more secure than a window AC.
5. Ductless Mini-Split System
A ductless mini-split has an outdoor condenser and two to eight indoor units. They are connected by a small conduit for the electrical cable and refrigerant line, which fits through a 3-inch-wide hole in an exterior wall. A mini-split system is more efficient not only because it eliminates ductwork, which can leak air. It also allows zoned temperature control in each room with an air handler.
Indoor units can be mounted just about anywhere there’s enough wall space. However, some units can be installed on or in a ceiling. The system’s modular design is also a benefit. A mini-split can be used just for a home addition or remodeled area. Or, you can start small and add more zones later, thereby spreading out installation costs.
Keep Your Older Home In Its Original Form
These alternatives to installing ductwork in an older home can help retain its original charm and character. You can preserve high ceilings, wood trims, hardwood floors, pillars, crown moldings, and other features. There are financial benefits too. A well-preserved older home can be extremely valuable. Alternative AC systems can also save on energy and maintenance costs.
Call Sky for Help with Alternatives to Installing Ductwork in an Older Home
Sky Heating & Air Conditioning specializes in ductwork services such as duct cleaning and sealing. But we also install ductless mini-split AC systems that offer a range of benefits, especially in older homes. To learn more about them and our special offers and financing options, continue browsing, schedule an appointment online, or call (888) 900-2109.