Boston area A/C expert give tips for cooling older homes

Boston area A/C expert give tips for cooling older homes

The summer heat can be debilitating for cooling any type of home. But do older homes in the Boston area face unique issues that newer homes might avoid? Air conditioning expert Jim Kerns of highly rated Jim Kerns Heating and Cooling in Dedham, Mass., took time to discuss what homeowners should consider.

Are there unique problems older homes face as homeowners try to keep cool for the summer?

Kerns: Older homes do not always have adequate insulation, and they may have leaks around windows and doors. But most older homes can be outfitted with some type of central air conditioning.

I get more calls from older homes in the summer because most newer homes have had future planning ideas installed in case they wanted to add central air conditioning later.

Does a system cooling an older home need more maintenance?

Kerns: There is very little maintenance for central air conditioning. The homeowner needs to only change the air filters a couple times a season, and if they want, they can cover the outside condenser in the winter months. It isn't really necessary; condensers are made to withstand all kinds of weather.

What can homeowners do to off set any issues with cooling older homes? 

Kerns: [Homeowners] can make sure the house is well insulated, that the doors and windows are sealed against drafts and maybe hang drapes on the south side of the house to keep the sunlight out.

What should homeowners consider before purchasing a central air conditioning system?

Kerns: It is easier and cheaper to add central air conditioning if you have a warm air furnace. But if you have hot water or steam heat then you will have to install an air handler in either the attic or basement and run duct work to the rooms in the house you want to cool. Another option is to install a ductless mini split air conditioning system. Mini split ductless systems can also provide zone heat, humidification's and cooling.

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