The entire United States has millions of older homes that are either for sale or currently
Antique, historical and even ancient is a few names people refer to them as. Based on a survey from the American Housing Authority, the average structure is about 37-40 years, countrywide. However, in states such as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and some Midwest states, the average age is more than 50 years old. Having an older house may be sentimental to your family or a historic landmark. However, when homes were built, air conditioning was the furthest from their thoughts. As a common rule for homes, if it was built after 1990, it is considered new. Anything else past that date is considered older. Now, imagine the age of your appliances, cabinets, air conditioning system, etc., in an older home. Just because the house may be up-to code, doesn’t mean everything in it is up to date. There could always be issues lurking around the corner.
AC issues seem to be most common when it comes to older homes. When buying or selling a home, people these days, are mostly interested in the roof, water heater and air conditioning system. That is because these portions of the home are normally the most expensive. When a house was built in a certain year, there are many select factors that go into building a home. Materials and the cost of materials play a large role. In older homes, asbestos was used as insulation around the home. This type of material was a cheaper version of insulation that would be rolled out. As we later discovered, asbestos can cause severe health issues.
When it comes to adding HVAC equipment to older homes, there is the possibility of various challenges. The crawl space is normally minimal or non-existent. Many homeowners do not want to sacrifice their closet space to add an AC system. There are pipes and drain lines that could cause AC issues for installation of insulation. If your home does not allow for hidden ductwork, this could lead to more AC issues. You may run into compromises with system designs and installation complications. That is why it is important to have a professional company perform the work needed. Many DIY homeowners are concerned about saving money wherever they can. At AC Today, our best interest is always with the customer. We will provide the best options for you to consider, as well as stay within your budget. An option best for older homes with minimal space are mini-split ductless systems. They are customizable to create individual comfort zones. You could install a unit in a single room that is regulated by a handheld remote. There is also the option of multiple mini-splits which adds comfort to multiple rooms.
Discussing Common AC Issues
If you are in an older home, the air conditioning system may not be quite up to date. Noises, clicking, and banging are a few signs of common AC issues. Some may be minor while others need to be repaired by a professional. Depending upon age and how well the system was taken care of, you may not have as many problems as you could. Older systems do not always indicate AC issues, but one key indicator is a sudden increase in your utility bill. If this happens to you, it may be time to start to consider replacing the air conditioning system. Your AC Today contractor can recommend several options that will suit your needs and budget.
Air Flow and Ducts
Duct installation and sizing is both a mathematical game and science in older homes. Unless you are planning to remodel the entire home, the ductwork will be a little difficult to maneuver. During an inspection, our technician will review the entire system and the placement of the current ductwork. It is very typical for return air vents and supply registers to be undersized and insufficient. Both are major AC issues that would need to be addressed. By having these AC issues, you are restricting the air flow from moving around your home effectivly. This causes unbalanced temperatures around the home as well as added stress to the system.
The process of air conditioning is removing moisture from the air. The condensate that is collected on the evaporator coils must drain to a proper location. This is why there are condensation drains. This drain is actually a pan that fills up with water, which is essentially the humidity that is being removed from your home. As the pan fills up, it continually drains to prevent overflow. If the water leaks out it could cause damage to the equipment and surrounding area. In older homes, many people have connected the drain pipe to a waste pipe. By doing this, your home will fill with sulfur smells when the air conditioning system is running. The drain pipe from the pan is recommended to be a completely separate system.
This is one of the most common issues for older homes. Insulation is what protects your home from different temperatures. For instance, the insulation keeps your home warm inside while it is cold outside. It is a glorified blanket for your home. When purchasing older homes, the insulation is somewhat stale. As a homeowner, it can be difficult to tear down drywall to inspect your insulation located around the home. There are other options that will help build the insulation to it’s proper capacity. Blow-in insulation is pumped into the wall cavities and attic of your home. Even though it won’t be as effective as using rolls of fiberglass insulation, it can still be a cheaper option for you. It will keep you from having AC issues in the long run.
Asbestos is a common form of fire retardant and insulation used until around the 1970s. This hazardous material has been linked to many forms of cancer, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. To complicate matters further, asbestos is incredibly widespread and difficult to detect. This type of material is compiled into roof tiles, floor tiles, duct work, and many other older building materials. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is recommended to leave the area alone and not cause disturbance. However, when the asbestos is used as a whole home insulation, then it becomes a major hazardous airborne issue.
There is no project too large or small for AC Today. From older homes to newly constructed homes, our technicians are there every step of the way. When choosing the proper air conditioning system, it is important to discuss options with a professional technician. Sizing and efficiency are the main reasons for AC issues. By not having a properly sized system in your older home, the comfort zones will tend to be unbalanced. Let us help bring new technology into your older home.