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4 Things to Consider When Installing AC in an Old House

AC Installation in Melbourne, FL1. Does my home currently have ductwork?

If your home has a forced-air heating system, it won’t be too complicated or costly to add central air to the existing ductwork and should only take a few days. Bonus: Older homes typically have larger furnace ducts making it easier to retrofit than the newer, smaller ducts. Be sure to have the ducts inspected first. Retrofitting existing ductwork is the simplest and least expensive option.

2. What if there are no ducts?

Installing new ducts

The time and cost to air duct replacement can double or even triple depending on the design of the home, and works best in homes with an attic or basement. Otherwise, you may have to sacrifice precious closet space or box out room corners to accommodate new ducts. Holes will be cut in the ceilings for registers and return vents. An expert contractor can subtly mask this work by incorporating it into the design of the home. Do your due diligence and hire the right pro for your job.

Ductless system

A ductless system works through wall units mounted in each room connected to an outdoor compressor. They’re exceptionally energy efficient. Each unit creates its own zone and can be turned off when the room is not in use. They are pricey, but less expensive than installing new ducts.

3. What type of A/C system will work best for my home?

Many factors contribute to selecting an A/C system. Higher SEER ratings drive up the price. If you only run your A/C a few months out of the year, this is less important. For more information, check out our new AC installation page, which includes various models.

4. Do I need to upgrade my electrical system?

Many older homes have no room on the circuit panel. You can add a subpanel on the existing box; however, the electrical service may only be 100 amps and adding central air might exceed that capacity. If most of the major appliances are gas-powered, this might not be a problem. Electrical service can always be upgraded in the future if you notice the lights flicker when the A/C kicks on, but at a cost. For peace of mind, make sure your HVAC contractor and electrician come highly recommended and experienced in retrofitting older homes.


Hearth & Home has been a trusted service provider for your heating and cooling needs for over 35 years. We are the only state certified and licensed contractor in Brevard County, serving Melbourne and Palm Bay, FL, and the surrounding areas in the beautiful Space Coast of Florida.  Set up a FREE consultation with us today!