Older homes don't always come equipped with a central air conditioning system. Fortunately, it's possible to have a new AC system installation in just about any house, even if it wasn't built to house a traditional central air conditioner. The following can help you understand what options are available if you are ready to add AC to your home.
Many homes have an existing duct work system even if they have never had AC -- the ducts that serve the furnace. Your AC installers can usually integrate the AC into these ducts without any issue. The ducts will need to be inspected first to ensure they can handle the larger air volume that an air conditioner produces compared to a furnace. In some cases, your installer may need to install additional ducts or returns to accommodate the AC. Fortunately, since the room is already built into your walls and between the floors for the furnace ducts, there is typically plenty of space to add in further duct work.
If your home doesn't have existing ducts there is still the chance that a traditional central air unit is possible. There are three options, depending on the style of your home -- the crawlspace, basement, or in the attic. Crawlspace installations should only be implemented if there is plenty of room in the crawlspace, even after installation, for service access, and if the crawlspace is consistently dry. Basement installations can be a great option, particularly for otherwise single story homes. Attic installation also works nicely, particularly if you need to run ducts to a second floor, as long as the attic is well insulated. Keep in mind that new duct installation is typically the most expensive option for a new install.
What if there are no suitable options for installing ducts? The answer is the mini-split system. A mini-split air conditioner consists of the outdoor air compressor, the air handler that delivers the cold air indoors, and the air conduit. The compressor is mounted outdoors, and then handlers are installed indoors -- one per room that needs cooled. The conduit, which consists of a flexible hose, is run through the ceiling between handler and compressor. The bonus is that installation is quick and only requires the drilling of a few holes.
Contact an AC installation service so they can inspect your home and help you determine which is the best option for getting AC into your house.