Top HVAC Problems Found In Older Homes
The heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system in our house all work together to keep the home comfortable. Without this system in place, your house would be ice cold in the winter and sticky, hot, and humid in the summer. It’s important to properly maintain this system because the smallest problem could keep it from working correctly and could end up increasing your monthly bills. And if you live in an older home and have not maintained or updated your HVAC system, you can expect some problems.
Poor Air Quality
A big problem in older houses is outside air coming in the home. Years ago, the building standards were not as stringent as they are now. Building codes were not as strict, and the windows and doors that were installed were not as efficient as the ones used today.
When outdoor air enters your home, it directly affects the quality of your air. The outdoor air brings in humidity and other pollutants that you and your family breathe in. High humidity levels cause your AC system to work harder than it should, which in turn causes your monthly bills to go up. Breathing in pollutants from outdoor air can cause severe health issues such as congestion, headaches, and respiratory problems.
Installing better doors and windows and making sure all the cracks in your home are sealed up is something people who live in older houses can do to help improve the quality of their indoor air. Also making sure to change air filters on a regular basis or installing a media filter to the AC unit will help alleviate the problem.
High Utility Bills
You probably don’t think about insulation much – it’s not like you see it every day – but it plays an important role in the air conditioning and heating system. It is a cost-effective way of keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The correct amount of insulation will act as a shield against heat loss and gain through the roof. Many older homes (and even some brand-new ones) were not built with the proper amount of insulation, causing them to waste energy because all the hot and cool air being produced is leaking out of the home.
Builders back then didn’t pay much attention to the amount of insulation that was being installed in homes. Many older homes don't have near enough insulation. If homeowners fix their insulation problems they could save up to 20% on their monthly utility bills.
Lack of routine maintenance also plays a large role in higher utility bills. Anytime there is a small problem in your system it’s important to get it fixed immediately. Sure, your system will still be able to run without getting it fixed, but it is only running because other parts of the system are working harder to overcompensate for the broken area. This causes your unit to use more energy, and using more energy causes your bills to become a lot higher than they should be.
Maintenance is key to keeping an AC and heating system running in good condition. Getting on a regular maintenance plan will ensure the longevity of the unit. The average life-span of an AC unit and heater is 10-12 years, and with routine maintenance you are able to get 12 years out of it while maintaining consistent monthly bills.
Lack Of Airflow
Air ducts play a large role in the HVAC system, moving the hot and cool air throughout your home. Although they last longer than an AC unit and heater, they still need to be replaced every 15-20 years. Older air ducts that have not been cleaned and maintained are filled with debris and other microorganisms. As air flows through the ducts it creates moisture, which is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. These contaminants also block the airflow, which keeps rooms from properly cooling or heating.
You can make your air ducts last a long time by periodically having them cleaned. But after years, they are going to need to be replaced. They start to get a frayed inner lining, and that plus the accumulation of debris will start to come out of your air vents and you will see it spread across your house.
Living in an antique home has many benefits, but just because your house is older doesn’t mean all the systems in it should be. By updating your system and having all of its parts inspected twice a year, you are making sure you and your family are breathing in clean air and keeping your monthly bills down.
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