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Common HVAC Problems & Issues in Older Homes

Older Homes

There are many unique challenges faced by older homes in Chicago when it comes to heating and cooling. From poor indoor air quality and aging HVAC equipment to the absence of ductwork and outdated thermostats, uncover the issues homeowners encounter and solutions to enhance comfort and efficiency.

Row of older homes in Chicago North Shore area

What Are Unique Issues for Heating & Cooling in Older Homes?

Poor Indoor Air Quality

Construction techniques in Chicago have come a long way over the decades. Today’s efficiency standards are far superior at keeping comfortable, conditioned air inside and extreme temperatures outside. Older homes, though, don’t have the same level of sealing for windows, doors, and attics. Gaps in these areas often let irritants inside where they can overwhelm your HVAC unit’s filtering system.

Aging HVAC equipment

The average life span of HVAC systems is 15 years. If you’ve recently purchased your older home and don’t know if regular maintenance checks were performed on the HVAC unit, you should probably anticipate decreased efficiency and a short life span from when you moved in. If your unit cycles on and off more frequently than normal or takes longer to heat or cool the house, you may need to look into a replacement unit.

HVAC technician performing furnace maintenance

No Ductwork

Many of Chicago’s older homes don’t have ductwork at all! You can install conventional ducts for a central AC system, but it does require sacrificing some closet space. You may also need to box in corners of rooms. In the Chicago area, where it can be unbearably humid in the summer, a typical older home requires 4 to 5 tons of cooling. An alternative option is to at least partially install ductless mini-splits, a particularly good choice for three-story or expansive homes. Keep in mind, too, that installing ductwork in many older homes includes the added cost of replastering and redecorating.

Poor Airflow

If your home does have older ductwork, it may be improperly designed or constructed with out-of-date materials. Modern advances in duct design and technology have made a dramatic difference in a home’s airflow. Older duct systems may also have decades of dust, dirt, and pet hair buildup in them.

Outdated Thermostats

Modern thermostat technology is far superior to its aging counterpart. Today’s programmable digital thermostats are energy-smart and budget-friendly, and they remember your heating and cooling preferences and can better control internal temperature levels. Many can be operated from your smartphone or other device.

HVAC technician adjusting digital thermostat

Lack of Zoning

Older homes tend to have a single thermostat that controls the entire home’s internal temperature. A zoned HVAC system lets you designate heating and cooling temperatures for individual rooms and zones throughout your home. For homes without ductwork, multiple ductless mini-splits can also be used throughout the house to create a zoned environment.

Contact Chicago’s Older Home HVAC Experts

Owning an older Chicago-area home is an overall enjoyable experience. Updating an existing HVAC system or installing a new one can make it doubly so. American Vintage Home is the North Shore’s most experienced and trusted HVAC provider for older homes. Whether you need a new or replacement HVAC system, or for help in determining which system is right for you, contact us online today, or call us at (847) 999-4595 to schedule a consultation.

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