How to do DIY

Old Houses and HVACs: Achieving the Cozy Factor

Many of us love the look and feel of an old property and those classic, antique and Victorian homes have a lot of character going for them, but one thing that often needs updating in them is their HVAC systems.

Some of these old houses might not even have a system installed in them but for those that do, the HVAC system will often need updating so that the homeowner can make their house more comfortable and energy-efficient.

Picking the correct system for your home

Suitable compromise
Cooling an old house is often a challenge and it is not unusual to find a property that has bags of character, but is difficult to upgrade due to issues such as windows painted shut and small spaces that were not designed to fit ductwork.

If you own an old house, you might be tempted to cool the house by opening as many windows as you can and make use of any oscillating fans that have been fitted.

The configuration of many Victorian homes for example, really doesn't lend itself to a standard HVAC system and then there is the subject of maintaining the original character of the property.

This is why you might want to learn more about options that offer suitable compromise, such as a mini-duct system, which has the potential to offer you the best of both worlds.

Advantages of a mini-duct system
There are a number of reasons why a mini-duct system might be a good choice in an old property.

The ducts are smaller and more discreet and rather than terminating in a large grill which could spoil the character of your home, the ducts end with an opening that is about the size of a drinks coaster.

Another positive aspect is the air in a mini-duct system, is forced through the ducts at a faster speed than a typical HVAC unit, so you end up with a cooling system that is unobtrusive but is more than capable of providing a modern cooling solution in an old property.

Achieving the cozy factor
In addition to cooling an old property, you do of course want to feel warm and cozy in the winter months and having an antique home does present challenges in your desire to achieve this.

Consider installing a thermostatic radiator valve so that you can create separate zones in your property and gain greater control.

If you already have an HVAC system in the property that is almost as old as the house, you may want to at least get a qualified service engineer to detect and then repair any leaking ducts so that you can at least improve the efficiency of the system.

If you are in the market for a new system or want to fit one from scratch into your antique home, as well as the mini-duct option already mentioned, you might want to consider a hydronic HVAC system.

This uses water rather than air to transport heat around your home and the advantage of this in an old property, is that it will help you to reduce the amount of dust and pollutants that you will be blowing around the house.

Old houses and HVAC's don't always go hand in hand, but they can if you make the right choices.

Sonia W. Terranova is an energy efficiency specialist. She likes writing about the energy industry. Her articles appear mainly on home improvement and energy sites.

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