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3 Items You Must Consider When Adding AC to an Older Building

January 8, 2014 | Blog

What Makes Air Conditioning an Old Building so Difficult?

How did the subject of Air Conditioning Old buildings come up? A couple of weeks my little family embarked on a drive to Galveston for the Santa Hustle Half Marathon. My wife ran. After watching a sea of red for about an hour I decided to take a walk behind the older buildings along “the strand.” What I found was a comical hodgepodge of air conditioning systems added over time to the older buildings of Galveston’s historic downtown.

Since Texas is such a young state, this is a fairly rare occurrence.  There are very few buildings that were not made with air conditioning — who would have wanted to live here without it? However, in the uncommon case that air conditioning needs to be added to an old home, what do you do? What system-related items should you (and your contractor) think about?

Three Things to Consider

When adding air conditioning where there was none before, you must consider a few things that wouldn’t normally come into play for a new home.


In order to install an efficient AC system, you must have enough room to provide good airflow in and out of the unit and to each room. Many old buildings weren’t built with enough space to accommodate enough ductwork for this if there’s room for ductwork at all.

Equipment Type

Central air conditioning is often very hard to install on older buildings, especially because it requires so much space and can make an older building lose its character. This is precisely why ductless mini-split systems have dominated markets around the world in places where almost all buildings are too old for central air. America is largely an exception to this. The rest of the world mostly operates on ductless mini-splits because they are cheap, easier to install (generally) and extremely efficient.


You almost always have to sacrifice a little space, or looks, for the sake of comfort, especially in older homes. However, there are some options that are more discreet. LG currently has an HVAC product that produces cold air but looks like a large picture frame. With ductless AC, the possibilities are almost endless.

If you’re looking to add AC to an older building, count on Mission AC to help you choose the right path. Contact us today for more information or to begin a service request.


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