Adding central air to an existing home is no small remodel. It may be worth it, but you need to be extra prepared in order to ensure the process goes smoothly. Here are some of the things you need to plan for if central air is in your future.
Plan Which Areas Are Going To Be Used In Installation
Unless there is old duct-work in the walls that you can get access to, which is unlikely if you are just now installing a centralized system, you are going to have to run new ductwork through the walls as part of the installation. You don't have to completely open up your walls and ceiling, but you will have to open up several holes to run the ducts.
In order to minimize the damage to your home and your routine, you should sit down with your contractor and decide exactly where the holes are going to go. There are going to be workman all over your home, but if you plan things out properly, you can minimize the time they spend in personal areas like bathrooms and bedrooms. You might even want to mark the walls that will be opened with painter's tape. If you have to move the location, you can move the tape without damaging the paint.
Make Sure You Are Ready For All The Upcoming Expenses
Working with an experienced contractor will help you get an accurate quote. However, even the best contractor doesn't have a crystal ball to tell you all the possible issues that can occur during the installation. A good rule of thumb is to add 15% to 20% to the contract when deciding how much money to set aside. If the project goes according to plan, great, but if not, this will give you a buffer against unexpected expenses.
If you've never had air conditioning in your home before, your summer energy bills are about to jump. An energy calculator can help you get to a ballpark number, but you won't know for sure what that number will be until you get the system up and running. While it is likely worth the cost, be sure you are adjusting your monthly budget to cover this new expense.
Consider Whether Or Not Another Option Might Better Meet Your Needs
Installing central air is an expensive and intrusive process. In some cases, it just isn't the right direction to go. In smaller homes, a couple of well-placed window units can do just as well without the installation hassles. While they aren't the nicest looking things from the outside, a good window unit will be easier to maintain and less expensive to operate.
Another choice is a ductless heating and cooling system. These units still run from vents in each room to a compressor outside, but they run coolant instead of air, so the lines are tiny in comparison. Ductless systems also benefit from individual controls, and can thus be far more efficient. If you really only need to cool a few rooms at a time in a larger home, you should at least consider whether or not a ductless HVAC system will work better in your home. While you may come to the conclusion that central air is indeed the right choice for your home, considering all your options will help prevent buyer's remorse.
Now that you know what you need to do to get your home ready for central air, all you need to do is actually follow the steps. Once you have a start date set with your contractor, you can complete the planning process and start actually moving your items around to accommodate the installation. For more information, contact a company like Universal Refrigeration.Share
4 March 2016
As a DIY enthusiast, I started doing everything I could to make my household appliances more effective then ever before. I insulated my attic, worked on cleaning the vents around my kitchen appliances, and eventually turned my attention to my air conditioner and furnace. Unfortunately, the process of taking care of my HVAC system was more intense than I had originally anticipated. I realized that I needed to read about air conditioners and furnaces before I started tinkering around. I made this blog to showcase all kinds of different articles that talk about HVAC, so that you can become a more informed homeowner.