How Much Does It Cost to Install Central Air Conditioning in an Old House?
Here in Sacramento, we’re famous for a few things: the trees on our wide city streets, the farm-to-fork cuisine from all our nearby farms, our super hot summers, and our fabulous old Victorian houses.
There’s a real irony, however, to those last two things; they just so happen to be at odds. See, most old houses in our area weren’t built with central air in mind because it wasn’t invented yet. That means our hot summers can be particularly uncomfortable for folks who live in those big ol’ Victorian homes.
Don’t worry too much if you happen to live in one of those old homes, though. I’m sure you know, it is possible to install central air—you just need to enlist an experienced HVAC team to do it. Now, I think I can guess your next question before you even ask: how much does it cost to install central air conditioning in an old house? This is a common inquiry from Sacramento homeowners with historic and older homes, so let’s get into it.
How Much Does It Cost to Install Central Air?
I always find it challenging to give estimates of cost when I haven’t been out to look at a house, so I am going to answer this question in very general terms. For your average Victorian Sacramento home that doesn’t already have central air or ductwork, you’re likely looking at around $7,000-$8,000 in installation costs. This estimate is for a home that is approximately 2,000 square feet; if your home is bigger, expect the price to be higher.
For your average Victorian Sacramento home that doesn’t already have central air or ductwork, you’re likely looking at around $7,000-$8,000 in installation costs.
If your home does happen to already have central heating and ductwork, though, the cost to install central air is essentially cut in half. Again, for a 2,000 square foot home, I’d guess that you’d pay somewhere between $3,500-$4,000 in central air conditioning installation costs. This will, of course, depend on what shape your existing central heating system is in and, again, how big your house is.
How Much Work Is It to Install Central Air Conditioning in an Old House?
I’d be lying if I said that installing central air conditioning in an old house was an easy job, but for trained HVAC professionals, it isn’t as big of a deal as you may think. In other words, if you hire a pro, they’ll make it look easy and won’t create that big of a mess in the process.
…if you hire a pro, they’ll make it look easy and won’t create that big of a mess in the process.
If you don’t have existing central heating or ductwork in your home, HVAC professionals will do a retrofitting job, which means cutting into your walls and/or your ceilings and installing a duct system that will bring the cool, conditioned air to each room of your house. They’ll be able to hide evidence of the ductwork in places in your home that aren’t overly visible, like inside closets, behind walls, and up in your attic. Typically, this job takes about a week, give or take a day or two, depending, again, on the size of your home.
If you already have existing central heating, the HVAC pros won’t likely have to do anything to your ductwork, unless it is showing signs your ducts need to be replaced. Let’s assume, however, that your ducts are in fine working order. In this case, installing a central air conditioning system would probably only take two or three days. In most cases, however, some adjustments to your ducts will need to be made in order to accommodate the extra load the AC will put on the ducts, which often adds an extra day of work to the project.
Financing Options for Central Air Installation
If you live in Sacramento, or in many other cities around Northern California, you may be eligible to get help financing your central air conditioning installation—with no upfront costs! There are plenty of energy efficient financing options for Californians, including:
Now, these programs are incredibly accessible to most homeowners, but the paperwork can be difficult to navigate, so I’d suggest you work with your contractor to figure out which financing you qualify for and how to easily apply. The friendly fellows at Bell Brothers are a great place to start with any energy efficiency home upgrade work, including installing central air conditioning in your old home, because we have experience with all of the above financing programs. Just as Sacramento is famous for its old Victorian homes, we’re famous for our help with financing.
With these financing options, you don’t have to let the cost of installing central air conditioning in your old home scare you away from cool, relaxed summer afternoons at home. Even if you do need to have ductwork installed, there’s no better time to do it than now because you could get most, if not all, of the cost paid for up front. Then, your beautiful Victorian home can be as cool and comfy as it is beautiful.
At Bell Brothers, our trained HVAC professionals would love to help you make your home more energy-efficient by installing central air conditioning—or even new windows. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Image courtesy Unsplash user Jessica Furtney