An example of an air conditioner.

Old homes have a charm and beauty that just can’t be matched with a modern home. Of course, the older ones also lack a lot of modern conveniences, with air conditioning topping the list. If you’re trying to bring present-day comfort to a house from yesteryear by installing air conditioning, you’ll want to use this helpful guide.

Choose Between a Central System and Room Units

Homes built with air conditioning incorporate whole-house ducts and vents that connect to a single cooling system that includes an indoor air handler and an outdoor heat pump. This is the simplest type to operate, but it’s probably too complex to be added to an existing home. If so, there are window units and hotel-type air conditioners you can choose. Window units are fast and easy to install, while the wall units will require a new opening.

Determine the Appropriate Size

The larger your air conditioner, the faster it will cool the room. It would seem logical to choose the biggest one you can afford, but that’s not necessarily best. A large unit will run very briefly before shutting off for a long time, during which the home builds up humidity and feels warmer. A smaller unit running more frequently will remove more moisture and reduce the indoor heat index.

Consider Available Power

Even the most energy-efficient air conditioners use a lot of electricity. Older homes typically lack adequate electrical service for the added demand, so you may want to talk to an electrician and determine the maximum load you can add to your panel. You may need to downsize the AC or upgrade your electrical panel. Failure to consider this will lead to frequent breaker problems and could leave your home overheating while you try to figure out what to do next.

Use Good Consumer Skills

Finally, choose wisely based on the dollars and cents. Look at brand name reputations, side-by-side comparisons with other products, and the details of available warranties. An expensive purchase like an air conditioner gets even more expensive if you overlook performance and product support, so make sure you know where you stand at the cash register and for the long term.

Air conditioning is a comfort we’re accustomed to having. At the same time, many of us prefer the materials and designs of older homes. When you do your homework and choose the right air conditioner for your older home, you can get the best of both worlds.