If you are tired of sweating through summer with open windows and overworked fans, a new air conditioning installation can be just the upgrade your home needs. There are a few questions you need to answer first before you decide what AC solution will work best.
Does Your Home Have Existing Ducts?
The biggest challenge with adding central AC to an existing home is duct placement. Homes with central heating will have a full duct system already, which the new AC unit can use to transport cold air throughout the home. You may need to have a air returns installed to meet the air flow needs of the air conditioner, but you won't need to worry about any extensive installation work.
Is There Space for Duct Installation?
If your home doesn't currently have duct work, then you need to consider the options. If you have an attic, basement, or easily accessible and roomy crawlspace, your AC installation expert may be able to put in a duct system. Hose-style ducts, which can be fed through walls without any need for demolition, may also be an alternative in your home. Older homes, in particular, may not have space in the walls or ceilings for duct installation, which means you will have to consider central AC alternatives.
Where Will You Place the Exterior Unit?
Central AC units require ample space for the exterior unit. Not only must this space be large enough to house the unit, it must also provide sufficient clearance around the unit for air flow. For most homes, this means placing the unit on a dedicated concrete pad next to the home. If you don't have a suitable space on the ground, a roof top unit may be an option if you have a flat or low slope roof. Your AC installer will need to verify that your roof can support the weight of the unit.
Do You Need Whole House Cooling?
Not all homes are suitable for central AC, so you need options if the above questions reveal that central AC isn't the best option. If you only need to cool one or two rooms, then a window air conditioner may be the simplest and most cost effective option. You will need to sacrifice a window for the installation of the AC. Another option that works well, particularly if you have a few rooms to cool, is a mini-split system. With a mini-split, you have a small outdoor unit installed on an exterior wall. It is then connected via air delivery hoses to a ceiling- mounted vent in each room that it cools.
Contact an air conditioning installation contractor for more help.