Can You Install Central Air Conditioning in a Heritage Home?

July 6, 2018 Cooling

They don’t build homes like they used to. Heritage homes come with decades of charm and a warm, architectural design you can’t find in modern-day homes. But that architecture also creates challenges when it comes to installing modern amenities like air conditioning.  

Most homeowners who have invested in a century home aren’t eager to tarnish its appearance with boxy window air conditioners. But is it possible to install central air conditioning in a heritage home?  

What You Need to Install Central Air Conditioning 

There are two things you need to install central air conditioning:

  1. Space to install both the indoor and outdoor units
  2. Ductwork to distribute air to different parts of the house

The most common type of central air conditioner is the split system. A split air conditioning system consists of an indoor air handler housing the fan and evaporator coil, and an outdoor unit containing the compressor and fan motor.  

The fan draws warm, indoor air into the return ducts, where it travels to the evaporator coil. The outdoor unit delivers pressurized refrigerant to the evaporator to cool the air. Then, the cool air is distributed back into the home through the supply ducts.

This cycle repeats as needed to maintain the temperature set at the thermostat.  

Today, most houses come with the ductwork already installed and ready to move air on day one. But ducts aren’t a given when it comes to older construction, and that complicates the task of installing central air conditioning in a century home.  

When a house already has a forced-air central heating system, it is possible to modify the existing ductwork to accommodate central air conditioning.

Some century-old houses, however, do not have any form of ductwork in the attic, basement or crawlspace. This limits the options of homeowners who don’t want to undertake major renovations just to have central air conditioning. 

Fortunately, there are other options. 

Installing Central Air Conditioning in a Home Without Ducts 

For older buildings and homes without ductwork, there are ways to install central air conditioning without compromising the unique architecture.  

One option is a ductless air conditioner, which uses compact indoor units and space-saving tubing instead of traditional ductwork.  Fujitsu-brand ductless units are popular choices for heritage homeowners who are installing central air conditioning in Toronto and the GTA.   

While not quite the same as a complete central air conditioning system, ductless air conditioners are perfect for cooling a select number of rooms in older homes built without central ventilation. Ductless air conditioners are much more quiet and discreet than window air conditioners. Most importantly, they’re unobtrusive, so they don’t take away from the beauty of a well-loved heritage home. 

Fujitsu Ductless Air Conditioner Installation for Heritage Homes 

Ductless air conditioners are ideal for homeowners who have a desire to install multi-room air conditioning without installing ductwork.

Rather than using ducts, Fujitsu’s ductless air conditioner distributes air through a thin, copper tubing connected to discreet grilles. It is available either as packaged or split system, making it possible to install one even if there is no room for an outdoor unit. 

Spacepak Air Conditioner Installation for Heritage Homes 

Spacepak gets its name from its space-saving design that makes it a great fit for older buildings and heritage homes. Spacepak air conditioners are installed with 2’’ thin flexible tubing that can be threaded between closets, wall studs, or ceiling joists.

The manufacturer offers discreet grilles and registers in many colours and textures to blend in.  

Our technicians have installed Spacepak air conditioners in a variety of homes and buildings throughout the GTA, including the Campbell House Museum in the heart of downtown Toronto. Thanks to central air conditioning, this historic site stays cool and comfortable throughout the sweltering summer months. But good luck spotting the system when you visit — it’s tailor-made to blend seamlessly in with the building’s incredible architecture and interior design.  

Looking for ductless or Spacepak air conditioner installation in the Greater Toronto Area? Call us 24/7 or fill out the contact form here. 

 

Image: Michael Karbe