Can You Put Central Air Conditioning In An Old House?

One of the most common questions by homeowners is if they can put a central air conditioning unit in an old house. We are curious about that, too. That is why we have conducted thorough research to get an accurate answer.

Yes, you can install a central air conditioner in an older house. It is possible as long as there is an existing forced-air heating system. The new central air conditioning unit can use that current ductwork to make the installation cheap, quick, and straightforward.

If you want to renovate or upgrade your old house and put in a central air conditioner, we suggest you read the entire post to know the well-explained factors to consider. 

Installing an indoor air conditioner using a screwdriver, Can You Put Central Air Conditioning In An Old House?

Putting Central Air Conditioner In Your Old House

You can add a new central air in your old house; however, before starting the installation, you must consider some factors. It is to ensure that you know what you are doing. Check the points below that might help you out.

Young man installing air conditioner

1. Ductwork

So, does your old house have existing ductwork or a zone-based ductless cooling system? If there is none, are you willing to spend lots of money to install one? 

Installing A New Ductwork

If your old house doesn't have existing ductwork, expect the installation cost to be much higher. It can also cost double depending on the difficulty of installation and the size of your house.

In this case, you can add ductwork to an attic or closet. However, that will depend upon the construction of your home. If there is no closet or attic available, it will lead us to another option.

Ductless Mini-split System

This air conditioning system can permit you to control the temperature of every room individually or of zones in your old house.

And this system has two primary components, they are:

  1. Outdoor unit/compressor
  2. Indoor unit/air handling unit 

Both are straightforward to install. Also, you have to provide three inches hole via the wall for the line, which accommodates the copper tubing, communication or power cables, and most especially the condensation drain lines that connect the indoor and outdoor units.

2. How Much Air Conditioning Will The House Require?

The primary thing that you should know is the capability of the air conditioner to cool the house. You will need to hire an HVAC professional for this one, or you can do it yourself as long as you know what to consider.

To specify, you or the HVAC professional should know the details about the insulation levels, air filtration, and the surface of the exterior walls of your home. These factors will indicate the cooling amount that your home requires. And will be measured in BTUs.

Also, know that the size of your air conditioner will largely contribute to its performance. There is a required air conditioner size for a particular dimension of a house.

An air conditioner that is large enough for the entire house can cool the area faster than usual. However, that is not recommended. You think that is a good thing, but in reality, it is not. It will turn on and off faster than it should.

An air conditioner that is too small for the house, on the other hand, will continuously operate and consume so much energy, which also increases your monthly energy bills.

So, we encourage you to purchase just the right size air conditioner. Plus, we highly suggest that you call an HVAC professional to do the math for you.

3. Efficiency Of The Unit

Before purchasing an air conditioning unit, always check for its SEER rating first. The higher the SEER rating of a unit, means the higher its efficiency, as well. However, a higher SEER rating will also mean the unit is more expensive. But that will be nothing compared to how much money you will save in the future for using a high SEER rated unit.

Benefits Of Installing A Highly Efficient Central Air

brand new air conditioners

Aside from saving money because of lower energy consumption, there are still more benefits that a highly efficient air conditioner can give. Most highly efficient air conditioners are the newer models because of the improved technology.

Superior performance

An efficient air conditioner can operate excellently with the help of its improved features. For instance, if you have purchased or are planning to purchase an air conditioner with variable-speed compressors that can keep your home cool even if it runs at 25 percent capacity.

More extended lifespan

Highly efficient newer air conditioners undoubtedly have a longer lifespan than older ones. And that is because they cycle less frequently. 

Environmentally friendly

Those air conditioners made starting in 2011 are no longer damaging the environment. They consist of R410a refrigerants that are more unassailable for the environment, which means they no longer harm the ozone layer. 

Health benefits

In addition to its benefits, most newer air conditioning units offer antibacterial features that can help people with allergies and asthma. These units can remove allergens and dust even before they circulate in the air.

Installation Costs Of Central Air Conditioner In Old Houses

Air conditioner hanging on the wall

According to HomeAdvisor, the average price range of the installation is between $3,800 to $7,600. But the exact costs will rely upon where you live, labor cost, the difficulty of the installation process, and when you want the installation to happen.

Labor and material cost

Hiring more people to do the installation means higher labor costs. And also, the more materials you purchase, the more it will cost you.

Know that this factor is highly affected by your ductwork. Reworking your old ductwork will still cost you money, and installing a new one will cost much more. Labor costs will also be affected by the difficulty of the job.

Season or time of installation

Homeowners usually want to do the air conditioner installation during summer. However, installing a central air conditioner may cost you a lot during this season. So, if you plan to conduct the installation during winter, expect that the cost will be less than 20 percent.

Size of the air conditioner

As mentioned above, the larger the house, the bigger the air conditioner you will need. And that will make the process more expensive.

Best Central Air Conditioners For Your Old House

air conditioner condenser unit in the backyard of a hom

To guide you in choosing a central air for your home, we will share the best central air conditioners in different categories in this section.  

Goodman: Best Budget-friendly Central Air 

If you are looking for a budget-friendly central air conditioner, you can opt to buy Heil or Amana. However, that is not the top pick of most homeowners. The brand that leads is Goodman.

They offer cheap central air conditioners, and the warranty is too good to ignore. Goodman enhanced its quality when Daikin (a Japanese manufacturer) bought it way back in 2012.

A Goodman air conditioner with a rate of 16 SEER is already excellent enough for the best budget unit.

Read more: "How To Clean A Goodman Central Air Conditioner."

Check out this Goodman 16 SEER Air Conditioner on Amazon.

Lennox: Best Energy-efficient Central Air Conditioner

If we talk about energy efficiency on air conditioners, Lennox will be the one on top of the list. If saving energy and money is your priority, you should go for this brand.

Lennox will not let you down; they have a strong reputation for efficiency. They offer air conditioning units with SEER ratings from 13 up to 28 max, the highest SEER currently existing. And their top-tier model is none other than the SL28XCV.

However, even if you buy the most efficient central air conditioner available on the market, if your home is not insulated correctly, expect its energy efficiency to be useless. While energy efficiency is essential, it cannot be the only factor to consider.

Read more: "How Long Does A Lennox Air Conditioner Last?"

Trane: Best Central Air Conditioner For Reliability

Excellent customer service and well-built quality parts are the factors that make Trane the best when it comes to reliability. Trane's XR14 is their most affordable unit. However, it is still more expensive than their competitors' budget-friendly units.

Although Trane does not offer a lifetime warranty on their units, its 12-year compressor and 10-year general parts warranties can outweigh it.

Read: "How Long Do Trane Air Conditioners Last."

Amana: Best Central Air For Warranty

The replacement parts for your upper-end Amana central air conditioner are likely to be free if they preclude. In addition, all Amana air conditioners with a rating of 16 SEER and higher hold a limited lifetime warranty for the unit alone and 10 years on their parts. And as of today, the ASX16 is the most affordable central air conditioning unit from Amana.

Carrier: Best Quiet Operation Central Air Conditioner

Helping you sleep better at night is what a quietly operating air conditioner offers. Today, different brands strive for the title of the quietest air conditioner as technology and designs advance. And the brand that is on top of this category is Carrier.

The model that leads this is Carrier's Infinity® 26 Air Conditioner with Greenspeed® Intelligence. This unit produces only 51 dB noise, while most air conditioners have a regular sound rate of 70 dB to 80 dB. 

In Conclusion

Installing an indoor air conditioner using a screwdriver

Installing a central air conditioner in your old house can be a good idea, and everything will run smoothly as long as you have enough budget for the overall installation. Moreover, we highly advise you choose a central air conditioner wisely. Consider the tips and guides we mentioned above.

We hope you find this article helpful. If you want more, check these out!

Rheem Air Conditioner Making Loud Noise – What To Do?

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