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Old 04-26-2010, 06:11 PM
 
Location: New London County, CT
8,950 posts, read 9,814,109 times
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The condo I am in now does not have Central Air. I am very used to having it in Texas, and I can tell you that it can be subject to all the problems people have with window units. I had a townhouse in Austin-- and couldn't go upstairs in daylight from May - September because the a/c didn't cool the bedrooms well. I made repeated attempts to have the a/c balanced, but no one could seem to do it right....

After that experience, I'll take window units any day. My current condo has window units, but the walls have cutouts to accommodate them, which I think is much nicer than blocking the windows. I will tell you that I will likely find the noise from the window units disturbing in the summer.
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Old 04-26-2010, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Fairfield, CT
5,531 posts, read 8,188,759 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankeerose00 View Post
We are house hunting now and there is a house we are interested in. We haven't had a showing but it looks good on paper and in photos, good location, and it seemed like a good price. But I see they have no central air. Central air for us is like heat. It's a necessity. We have window units in this rental and we hate it.
So just how big of a job is it to put central air in a house? Is it not that big of a deal or is it this huge undertaking that is just not worth it?
The house is 2300 square feet and was built in 1978.

I've actually seen quite a few homes w/ no central air and so far I've been scratching them off. But maybe I should reconsider. I just don't want to get into a 30k job where our house is torn apart for the better part of 6 months.
Anyone put in central air?
Central air is overly common here in moderately priced houses, so you might be foolish to rule out a good house just because it doesn't have central air.

How difficult it is to put in depends on what type of heat the house has. If it has forced air heat, and the vents are already there, then it's fairly easy.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:22 AM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
64,991 posts, read 47,321,826 times
Reputation: 10512
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankeerose00 View Post
For heating, it just says oil on the listing. I don't know if it has forced hot air or radiators. I don't know much about heating.
the house is two levels and I would definitely want two handlers. Our first house in Florida had one handler for two floors and not only is it a waste to cool upstairs when you aren't even going to bed, but the 2nd floor was never cool enough. We had two handlers in Virginia and that really worked the best.
I'm going to email a few contractors and get just and idea of cost. I don't even want to waste a seller's time if it's too big of a job.
Snowman, that's good to know that it's not such a huge job. If we could do it for under 10k and have it done within a month that would be great.
A good energy star compressor is $1500. An Air Handler about another $1000. Thermostats $50 each. Duct, vents depends on locations. You gotta figure material will be near $4000. So it's up to the HVAC guy if he wants to do the work for $5000. Might not be worth it... Budget at least $12,000 for the job.

P.S - dont forget you can get money back if its an energy star unit.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:58 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
1,419 posts, read 2,935,913 times
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I just moved from CT where I had no central air, but had wall units in all the bedrooms and the great room and it was completely fine. I loved that I could control the rooms individually so easily. Now I'm in VA where it would be a serious issue if it didn't have central air...but in CT, it really isn't that bad without it.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:31 AM
 
Location: New England
8,155 posts, read 18,200,053 times
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I prefer "window" units because I can basically zone the house how I wish. We keep the master bed chilly and dry at night...some would say "cold", and I don't have to spend a fortune making the whole house like an icebox.

We have two large units in the main area, and then two small units in two bedrooms. Works great.

It really depends on the house to get C-Air installed and there are several types on the market now. The traditional way to get into the attic is running a large duct through your closets, and they take up a lot of space.

There are new "high pressure" systems that use much small plumbing.

I also have a few customers who installed the new slimline wall units like Samsung and Haier have out. They are easy to install, not taking up a window and work like a champion. They are also very quiet - whisper quiet actually.

They are called ductless because the compressor is still separate but they incorporate the air handler and controls all in one unit. There is only a small connection needed to the main compressor. You can also zone your house how you wish, even by individual room if you like.



Ductless air conditioner, best heat pumps / mini split air conditioners

You can probably get the whole house done like that for less than half the cost of a traditional ducted system. You'll also not have to do regular duct cleaning ($$) as well. IMO someone got smart and realized running a 1/2" tube instead of gigantic ducting was a lot easier and opens up options.

Just some thoughts.

Last edited by JViello; 04-27-2010 at 06:43 AM.. Reason: Fixed link.
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Old 04-28-2010, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Central Virginia
834 posts, read 1,942,074 times
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thanks everyone! I've never heard of the ductless a/c. I'm going to have my husband look into it. I really don't want to write off a house because of a/c. It's so hard to find a house anyway. They either need way too much work or they are over priced and have been sitting for the past year.
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Old 04-28-2010, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
1,787 posts, read 2,489,067 times
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I bought a century old 2 story Colonial farmhouse and had central air and heat installed. It was 5 years ago, it cost under $10,000, I have 1 unit in the attic and 1 in the crawl space and I am VERY happy I did it! They worked about 1 week, all the vents look and work GREAT and coming from Fl to me it just didn't feel like a 'home' w/out it. Of all my renovations in my house....roof, foundation, plumbing and electric....this was a 'breeze' It was very well worth it and as long as you hire good HVAC people you'll be fine! Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Fairfield
588 posts, read 1,627,002 times
Reputation: 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankeerose00 View Post
thanks everyone! I've never heard of the ductless a/c. I'm going to have my husband look into it. I really don't want to write off a house because of a/c. It's so hard to find a house anyway. They either need way too much work or they are over priced and have been sitting for the past year.
Besides ductless, if you have an accessible basement and attic, they might be able to run the ducts up into the attic for the 2nd floor, and then a separate run of ducts through the basement for the 1st floor. This will save you from having to lose a huge chunk of closet space, but will cost you more $$ in terms of hardware. Ductless units can easily run you $10-15k.

I wouldn't automatically exclude a house because it lacked AC, but if you are insistent on having it, then factor install cost into the price you're willing to pay. Most importantly, just remember that there are a LOT of houses on the market...so don't be afraid to keep looking.
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Glastonbury, CT
15 posts, read 17,688 times
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JViello: Great post on the ductless air conditioning. I have friends who have done it in their old houses when they decided they wanted AC. It's common in Europe and Mexico, where the AC was retrofitted to old buildings. The indoor unit typically consisted of a small unit near the ceiling, much like the picture, that was controlled by a TV-type remote. As long as you didn't run the unit in full power Icebox mode, they were pretty quiet.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Connecticut, USA
47 posts, read 90,222 times
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We moved to CT and everyone told us "You don't need air conditioning, its only hot a few days in the summer". Yeah, right. The first summer proved that wrong!

The house has a oil fired boiler so I thought it would be horribly expensive to do AC. But, I found a system that would work without having to cut up the walls to install ducts. Its called high velocity HVAC. There may be other manufacturers, but you can start checking it out here: Unico System Inc. - Small Duct High Velocity HVAC The Unico System. You'll see how it works.

One word of advice: Try to think ahead regarding room usage and the number of air outlets in each. We have a bedroom that gets too cool and the room next to it has all the computer stuff and never gets cool enough.

The whole job here ran about $8K, less than it cost to replace the roof shingles a couple years ago. The house you're talking about is a little bigger, and its a decade since I did it, so I would expect to pay more. It took about a week to do the job.
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