Old homes have a lot of charm, which is why they tend to attract restorationists and conservationists alike. However, one common problem many homeowners run into with older houses is how to upgrade the homes' ancient heating systems that can no longer keep up with modern heating needs. Here are two options for tackling this issue while still ensuring your home retains its appeal.
If your vintage home already uses a radiator system to heat spaces, one option is to upgrade it to in-floor or in-wall radiant heating. In this modern system, pipes are embedded in the floors or walls and hot water is run through them to heat the surfaces. The wall or floor surface then radiates that heat into the room.
There are two benefits to using this type off system. First, heat is delivered from the bottom of the room and rises to the top instead of being forced from the top of the room to the bottom as is the case with many central heating systems. This ensures occupants feel comfortable faster, which can help reduce your energy bill since the system doesn't have to run as long before reaching the desired temperature.
Second, the pipes are hidden in the walls and floor, so you can get rid of the radiators taking up space in your home if you want to and replace them with something that better fits your home's style.
Be aware, though, that installing the system does require opening up the walls and floor as will repairing any major problems that crop up (e.g. leaks). If you want to preserve these areas for some reason, then this option may not be for you.
Mini-Duct or Ductless Systems
Another option for supplementing or replacing the old heating system in your vintage home is to install mini-duct or ductless units. A mini-duct system is similar to a central heating unit in that it blows treated air to each of the registers placed in the room. However, the ducts used are significantly smaller and made from flexible material that can be wound around various obstacles. This is a good way to get central heating without having to make major renovations to accommodate regular-sized ducts.
A ductless system functions similar to a window air conditioner, on the other hand. The unit is placed on the wall and a small hole is made to the outside so the unit can draw and vent air. The primary benefit of this option is each room will have an independent heating unit, which may help you save money on your energy bills. However, the unit is a good size and its modernity may clash with the vintage architecture and/or décor of your home.
For more suggestions on ways to upgrade your old heating system, contact an HVAC technician.