Another summer in your beautiful, old home has you strongly considering a more efficient cooling system. You have done your best to create a cross draft, rely on the ceiling fan, or strategically place one or more window AC units, but it’s just not cutting it for your comfort. Most homes built before the 1950s did not come with the luxury of a central air conditioning system. Some homeowners may have installed an air conditioning system but compromised the original architecture and design of the home in the process. Running bulky ductwork in cramped walls, closets and floor joists of an older home can be a challenge, but it is doable and doesn’t have to break the bank. There are a variety of ways to install central air conditioning while still preserving the charm of your home.

Home Design For Air Circulation

Central air conditioning systems in older home designs were never a priority since home cooling did not become popular until 1953. Up until then, suitable options included creating cross drafts, aligning doorways to provide air streams, porches and awnings, and even the option of a cold air stove. What these older homes are left with are beautiful, custom features and outdated, inefficient cooling systems. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. 

Retrofit Your Older Home with an AC System

If you’re ready to move on from window AC units and hoping for a cross draft, consider installing a central AC system or a ductless split system. By doing so, you will make insufficient cooling a thing of the past. Understand the design of your home, your needs, and decide if you’re open to altering some features of your older home to help you determine the best system for you. 

Traditional central air conditioning

The most common modern air conditioning system consists of a compressor, air handling unit, and ducting. The compressor sits outdoors and is generally the easiest element to place. The air handling unit and duct system require space indoors, which is not always available in older homes. There is no one-size-fits-all air conditioning system and determining a design requires a discussion with a professional HVAC technician. In this process, you will determine load requirements and if bulky ductwork is an option. The best-case scenario will include minimal remodeling. The worst-case would require cutting out some of the floor, ceiling, or walls to make room for the ductwork. 

Mini-duct AC

A mini-duct air conditioning system shrinks the size of the ductwork into skinny tubes allowing the air to push through the system at a higher velocity. Additionally, smaller ductwork can more easily travel through the tight wall cavities of your older home. This is a diverse option in that it requires less remodeling and offers extremely efficient cooling. Mini-duct systems can remove humidity at a higher rate than a traditional central air system. The vents do not need to be an eyesore that takes up space and are typically placed in the corners of a room. A mini-duct system uses a small, circular vent in place of the standard rectangular vents. The vents are less than a few inches in diameter and help propel the cool air at a higher velocity. The vents do a great job of blending into the floors and walls.If your primary concern is preserving the history of your home, the mini-duct system is the best choice.

Ductless split system

A ductless system is another great option for adding air conditioning to an older home. When the structure of your home prevents you from adding bulky ductwork or a mini-duct system, you can skip the ductwork altogether. The tradeoff is placing a system on your wall or ceiling that has a blower that pushes air throughout your home to meet your ideal temperature. The good news is that these systems are relatively quiet. However, they will take up some space on the wall and are tough to hide. With little to no remodeling and no ductwork, you can eliminate the humid air and enjoy your house all summer long.


The most energy-efficient retrofit option would be to install a geothermal system. A geothermal system operates on the energy provided by the earth to heat or cool your home. Each system is completely customizable to suit your house. Installing a retrofit geothermal system is an easy process that does not tear up your property in the process. Additionally, there are tax credits and rebates available to offset the cost. Learn more about the geothermal systems we can provide.

Replace An Existing AC System Before The R22 Phaseout

If you own an older home with an air conditioner it may be using R22, more popularly known as Freon. A phaseout for Freon takes effect on January 1, 2020, and it could be worth considering an alternative air conditioning system before next summer. If your current unit runs on Freon, you can use your unit until the existing Freon supply runs dry or run your system until failure. Some units could be a candidate for a convertor allowing it to use R-410 instead of R22. Reach out to us for more information on how the R22 phaseout could affect you. 

Contact Wyckoff to Install Central Air Conditioning in Your Home

Don’t go another summer with an inefficient home cooling system. There is nothing wrong with opening the windows for fresh air, but you will do yourself and your home a favor by adding a quality air conditioning system. Get in touch with the HVAC professionals at Wyckoff Heating & Cooling to see which system fits you best.