Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>How to get efficient A/C for an older split level with forced air heat
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Brenda D.
How to get efficient A/C for an older split level with forced air heat

I would like to put central AC in a '50s era split level with forced air heat. The ducting is original, but the furnace was replaced 3 years ago. There are 4 'living' levels to be cooled-playroom level, LR DR Kitchen level, bedroom level (three bedrooms) and a master bedroom level. When I had the new furnace installed - a York single stage constant speed furnace,I discussed the central AC possibility but decided the budget couldn't handle both just then. The gas company representative who was doing the pricing said nothing about any difficulties with this other than a somewhat higher cost for adding the AC unit later.
Since then, I have been told by other HVAC people that central AC will be very inefficient in this type of house -that basically it would be impossible to cool the master bedroom level, and neighbors with the same model house have complained about the difficulty of cooling even the main bedroom level efficiently. However, one HVAC person DID think it was possible to solve this problem by putting baffles into the ducts to direct the cool air efficiently. Unfortunately this person lives out of state and can't take on the project. One system which I have heard does address the problem is an attic AC system, which seems too expensive to contemplate.
Has anyone had experience efficiently cooling a 4 level split level?

dj1
Re: How to get efficient A/C for an older split level with forced air heat

You will need to find a contractor close to you who will be able to advise you or do this job.

Don
Re: How to get efficient A/C for an older split level with forced air heat

A experienced AC installer will be able to determine the right-sized system and recommend options such as a "split system" which will involve two smaller units each zoned for different areas of the house. Also, dampers at the rooms - controlled by a thermostat - will help level temps and allow users to customize their comfort level.

Brenda D.
Re: How to get efficient A/C for an older split level with forced air heat

Now the question is: How to find a really knowledgeable local HVAC, since the local guys who weighed in earlier came up with no useful information as to how they could solve the problem!

Don
Re: How to get efficient A/C for an older split level with forced air heat
Brenda D. wrote:

Now the question is: How to find a really knowledgeable local HVAC, since the local guys who weighed in earlier came up with no useful information as to how they could solve the problem!

Go to manufacturer's website for installers. Also, check out homeadvice.com (I think), a database of satisfied contractors.

Get quotes from three different manufacturer's installers/vendors. Get a firm from a neighboring city. This is the time of year to get AC work done as they are normally slower than in the spring and summer.

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