by Kelly Wingard |
Sure, you love cozying up to your radiators in the winter.
But come summertime, when you're sweltering in 98% humidity, you curse
your ductless home and search intently through real estate ads for a
home with central air conditioning. Then your eyes flit lovingly to
your 12-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, and carved oak mantelpiece and
you sigh. Maybe you will sweat it out a few more years without central
But why let a little heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
(HVAC) problem stand between you and your beloved castle? Today
you can have your Victorian
and cool it too, thanks to ductless air conditioning systems. Although fairly
new to the U.S. market, the Japanese have been cooling their homes for years
with these ACs. Often called split-system air conditioners or ductless mini-splits,
these ACs can be retrofitted into homes unequipped with standard HVAC ductwork.
They also work well as supplementary AC units to cool hot spots like sunrooms
and commercial kitchens.
Split-System ACs Preserve Architectural Integrity
Ductless air conditioning systems appeal to old-home lovers because
they provide the comfort of central air conditioning without disturbing
a historic home's ambience or architectural features. Indoor air-distribution
units hang discreetly on walls or ceilings, requiring only a three
inch diameter hole to connect them to an outdoor compressor. Far less
invasive than installing ductwork, split-unit ACs keep century-old
plaster walls and hardwood floors intact.
Both window air conditioners and split-system ACs have the energy-saving
capacity to cool only one room instead of the whole house, but window
units are noisy and unsightly. They also require considerable effort
to put in and take out--not to mention they prevent you from opening
your window on breezy days. Since split-units operate on a thermostat,
they maintain your room at a constant, comfortable temperature, as
opposed to the erratic on-and-off chill of window units.
Advantages Over Window ACs
Old House Web: Ductless, Split-System Air-Conditioners
This Old House: Ductless Air Conditioning
Bob Vila: New Air Conditioning for Old Houses
About the Author
Kelly Wingard is a freelance writer and a homeowner
with 30 years of budget-minded decorating and remodeling experience.
She also lives in
a ductless, circa 1888 Victorian sweatbox. She called an HVAC contractor