Old homes often have many things to recommend them: character, style, interesting nooks and crannies, high ceilings, beautiful wood and sound plaster walls. Something they often don’t have, however, is an excellent heating and cooling system.
Back in the days when these homes were built, the technology wasn’t on par with the systems available today. They generally had furnaces in the basement that were required to serve the entire structure, but the air distribution system didn’t effectively carry heat throughout the house, especially to the upper floors.
Thankfully, the world of HVAC has come a long way in the past 100 years, and there are ways to make your home much more comfortable, both in winter and in summer. Why not consider upgrading your home’s heating and cooling systems to make the atmosphere more pleasant year-round? Let’s explore a couple of excellent options.
High-Velocity HVAC System
If your lovely old home wasn’t built with central heating and cooling, it undoubtedly doesn’t have the ductwork to accommodate a central system, and the walls may not have enough space to instal standard ductwork. However, there’s a modern solution available: a high-velocity system that uses mini-ducts and a heat pump.
Mini-ducts are flexible in build and much smaller than the standard ductwork found in homes, which means less heat lost in the walls, given their smaller surface area. This makes the systems easy and quick to instal; your HVAC professional to snake the ducts over ceilings, under floors and through walls during installation; the accompanying modular air handlers generally fit into small spaces, too. The high-velocity systems require small vents, so there is less esthetic intrusion into your home’s design – they are usually available in a variety of colours and wood stains to blend well with your décor.
Hi-velocity systems are often designed to also filter air and dehumidify, which makes your home even more comfortable. They can also be installed in zones, allowing you to vary the temperatures in different parts of your home.
Just as appealing, these systems are generally energy efficient, which is beneficial to your bottom line.
Ductless Mini-Split HVAC System
Given that the ductwork in old houses is usually inadequate for modern needs, why not consider a system that avoids ductwork altogether? A ductless mini-split HVAC system combines heating and air-conditioning, making it an excellent choice for year-round comfort.
The ductless mini-split uses an outdoor heat pump that is connected to interior handling units in the rooms you’d like to heat/cool. Depending on the model you select, the exterior unit can support a number of indoor handling units. They are connected via wiring and refrigerant piping which can be installed as a set.
The handling units are generally mounted on the wall, but they can also be installed in the ceiling of a room, and they can be adjusted individually by remote control. In effect, they offer zoned heating and cooling; it is possible to adjust various rooms to different temperatures and to minimize the heat/cold in rooms that aren’t in use. The independent controls allow the system to be energy-efficient.
Upgraded Radiator System
Many old homes were heated with hot-water-based radiator systems that included clanking and banging pipes as heat was delivered to various rooms in the house. If you’re primarily concerned about heating, rather than air-conditioning, talk to your HVAC professional upgrading your system with new components. It may not be necessary to instal an entirely new system to get more efficient heating throughout your home.
You may simply need a new boiler, and a modulating-condensing boiler may offer the comfort you’re seeking. These boilers don’t heat all the water they store at once; they only heat what’s necessary to heat your home, saving both energy and money.