How to Install Central Air in an Old House

How to Install Central Air in an Old House

Installing central air in an old house can be a bit more challenging than doing so in a new construction home. However, it is still possible to add this type of system to an older home, provided that certain precautions are taken. The most important thing to consider when installing central air in an old house is the condition of the ductwork.

If the ductwork is in good condition, then installation should be relatively easy. However, if the ductwork is damaged or needs to be replaced, then the project will be more difficult and expensive.

  • Check the house’s ductwork to see if it is in good enough condition to use for central air
  • If the ductwork is in bad shape, it will need to be replaced before central air can be installed
  • Have a professional contractor come and assess your home to see what kind of unit would be best for your needs and whether or not your home’s electrical system can handle the new unit
  • Purchase the central air unit and have it delivered to your home
  • Hire a professional contractor to install the unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Turn on the unit and enjoy cool, comfortable air all summer long!

Installing Central Air in a House Without Ducts

Installing Central Air in a House Without Ducts


If you live in a house that doesn’t have ducts, don’t despair – you can still enjoy the benefits of central air conditioning! There are a few different options available to homeowners in your situation, and we’ll go over some of the most popular ones below. One option is to install what’s known as a ductless mini-split system.

This type of system consists of an outdoor compressor unit connected to one or more indoor air handling units via small-diameter pipes. The advantage of this option is that it doesn’t require any major changes or renovations to your home – the only thing that needs to be done is to drill a small hole in an exterior wall for the pipe(s) to pass through. Another advantage is that mini-splits are very efficient since there’s no chance for leaks in the ductwork (which can be quite common).

Another option is to install a vented central air conditioner. This type of system uses an existing chimney or vent stack as its “ductwork,” so again, no major changes or renovations are necessary. One potential downside of this option is that it may not work well if your home has poor insulation or if there are significant drafts coming through the chimney/vent stack.

Also, because these systems rely on natural convection (hot air rising), they tend to be less efficient than forced-air systems like mini-splits. If you’re interested in installing central air conditioning in your home but don’t have ductwork, talk to a contractor who specializes in HVAC systems. They can help you evaluate your options and choose the best solution for your specific situation.

Is It Possible to Install Central Air in an Old House?

Yes, it is possible to install central air in an old house. There are a few things to consider when doing so, such as the age of the house and the type of HVAC system that is already in place. If the house is over 50 years old, it is likely that the ductwork will need to be replaced.

This can be a costly and time-consuming process, but it is necessary in order to install central air. The other option would be to use a mini-split system, which does not require ductwork. Mini-split systems are more expensive than traditional HVAC systems, but they are much easier to install and maintain.

How Much Does It Cost to Add Central Air to an Old House?

Adding central air to an old house can be a costly project. The cost will vary depending on the size of the unit, the type of unit, and the installation process. The average cost for a basic unit is around $3000.

Installation costs will depend on the type of system you choose and can range from $1000 to $5000.

Can You Put Central Air in a House Without Ductwork?

No, you cannot put central air in a house without ductwork. Ductwork is necessary to distribute the cooled air from the AC unit throughout the home. Without ductwork, the cool air would stay in one room and would not circulate throughout the home.

Additionally, central AC units require professional installation, so it is not a do-it-yourself project.

Can Any House Be Converted to Central Air?

Yes, any house can be converted to central air, but it may not be the most cost-effective option. Central air requires a forced-air heating and cooling system, which means ductwork must be installed throughout the house. This can be expensive, especially if your home doesn’t already have ductwork in place.

Additionally, central air systems require regular maintenance and upkeep, which can also add to the overall cost.

How to Install a Whole-House Ductless System | Ask This Old House


If your old house doesn’t have central air, you may be considering installing it. Central air can be a great way to improve the comfort of your home, but it’s not a cheap or easy project. Here are some things to consider before you decide to install central air in your old house.

The first thing you need to do is check the condition of your ductwork. If your ductwork is in good condition, then you can proceed with the installation. If not, then you may need to replace it, which will add to the cost and complexity of the project.

Next, you need to choose the right location for your new air conditioner. It needs to be close to an outside wall so that the ductwork can be connected easily. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, mark it off and cut a hole in the outside wall for the unit to fit through.

Now it’s time to install the unit itself. This part is best left to a professional, as it involves working with electricity and refrigerant gases. Once the unit is installed, they will connect it to your ductwork and test it out to make sure everything is working properly.

Finally, enjoy your new cool home!

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