hvac options for old houses

HVAC Options for Old Houses: Finding the Right Fit


Older homes can be a real challenge when it comes to HVAC installations due to limited space and the need for ductwork, but there are smart solutions that preserve the charm of your home. Ductless mini split systems and high velocity systems offer efficient, less disruptive options that fit perfectly into older structures without the need for extensive renovations. Dive in to explore how these modern systems can provide the comfort you need while maintaining the integrity of your beloved old house.

Short Answer

Older homes face challenges with HVAC installations due to limited space and the need for ductwork. Ductless mini split systems and high velocity systems offer efficient, less disruptive solutions, ideal for maintaining the charm and integrity of older structures.

The Problem: Where to Put the Equipment and Ductwork?

Where to Put the Equipment and Ductwork?

Older homes come with their own unique challenges, especially when it comes to installing climate control systems. One major issue is finding space for ductwork without tearing apart the house. Many older homes, especially those in the Philadelphia area, were built without modern air conditioning options in mind. These homes often rely on central heating systems like boilers and radiators, which means there’s no existing ductwork to distribute conditioned air.

Installing modern duct systems can be tricky in older homes. Internal space is often limited, and modern duct installation can involve tearing down walls or creating soffits to accommodate ducts. This can disrupt the architecture and come at a significant cost. Additionally, the equipment required for HVAC systems can be quite large and have specific space requirements, which may be difficult to meet in homes like rowhomes. These installations can also be noisy and inefficient, much like the window AC units that need to be removed and stored in the off-season.

Looking for a less expensive and less disruptive solution? Central air conditioning systems might not be the only option. Keep reading to explore some great alternatives.

Air Conditioning Options for Homes Without Ductwork

Air Conditioning Options for Homes Without Ductwork

For homeowners seeking indoor comfort without the hassle of installing ducts, several solutions are available. Ductless mini split systems and high velocity systems are two modern options worth considering.

Ductless mini splits are perfect for heating and cooling individual rooms efficiently. These systems consist of an outdoor unit connected to one or more indoor units. They’re particularly useful for older homes without existing ductwork and are much more efficient than conventional HVAC systems. They also tend to be cost-effective and less disruptive during installation.

On the other hand, high velocity systems use small, flexible ducts that can be easily installed within existing walls, attics, basements, or crawl spaces. This system is a good retrofit solution that preserves the architectural integrity and charm of your home. High velocity systems are ideal for rowhomes and other historical buildings in the Delaware Valley.

Not sure which solution is best for your home? Contact a trusted HVAC company in California for expert advice tailored to your needs.

Ductless Mini Split Systems

Ductless mini split systems offer a versatile and efficient air conditioning solution for older homes. These systems consist of two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and one or more indoor air handlers. They don’t require ductwork, making them a perfect fit for homes where space is a concern.

These systems can heat and cool individual rooms year-round, providing a cost-effective alternative to window units. They are also great for additions and renovations, where extending ductwork would be impractical. Installation is straightforward and requires only access to electricity.

Ductless mini splits are particularly useful for older homes where space is at a premium. They can be installed without major modifications to the house and are an excellent replacement for less efficient cooling solutions. Plus, they can reduce energy costs by targeting only the rooms you use the most.

High Velocity Systems

If you’re looking for a retrofit solution that maintains your home’s architectural integrity, consider high velocity air conditioning systems. These systems use small, flexible ducts that can be threaded through existing structures without extensive construction.

High velocity systems are ideal for homes with limited space, such as rowhomes, restored barns, and colonial-style houses. They offer a modern solution without compromising the charm and character of older buildings. The compact air handler can be installed in small spaces like attics, basements, or closets, minimizing disruption.

This type of system provides excellent cooling performance and is especially suited for homes in the Delaware Valley. By retrofitting a high velocity AC, you can enjoy modern comfort without the need for significant renovations.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an AC Solution

When selecting an air conditioning solution for an older home, there are several key factors to consider:

  • Space: Determine where the system can be installed without causing too much disruption.
  • Cost: Evaluate the cost of installation and ongoing operation. Both ductless mini splits and high velocity systems offer cost-effective options.
  • Efficiency: Look for systems that provide energy-efficient cooling to reduce your bills.
  • Versatility: Consider the ability to control temperatures in different rooms or zones independently.

Ready to find the perfect HVAC system for your home? Reach out to an experienced HVAC installation service to discuss your options and get a personalized recommendation.

Some Final Thoughts…

Installing central air in an older home doesn’t have to involve extensive ductwork and cutting into walls. High-velocity and mini-split systems offer less intrusive and economical solutions.

If you have questions about the process or need help deciding which system is right for you, don’t hesitate to contact climate control specialists. They can guide you through the process and ensure you get the best solution for your home.


Can you install an HVAC system in an old house?

Yes, you can install a central air system in an older home using modern ductwork systems and a heating system with a minimally invasive installation process.

How to get air conditioning in an old house?

How to get air conditioning in an old house?

  • Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioners work well in old homes without ductwork.
  • Portable Air Conditioners are easy to set up and can move from room to room.
  • High-Velocity Systems use small, flexible ducts that fit in old walls.
  • VRF Systems offer precise cooling and are energy efficient.
  • Window or Through-The-Wall AC Units are good for individual rooms.

What is the most efficient way to heat and cool an old house?

Heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat and cool an older home by transferring heat from outside to inside during colder months and acting as an air conditioning system in warmer months. Modern HVAC systems are designed to maximize energy use while maintaining comfort.

How to air condition a house without ductwork?

Window and Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners work great in old homes where installing new ductwork isn’t an option. Another solution is a ductless air conditioner, which is easy to install and offers efficient cooling without the need for ducts.