If you live in an older home, you may know that cooling it is a challenge. The heating, cooling and ventilation system that existed 50 years ago was different. In some cases, there are older homes that have no HVAC installed at all. Builders of those homes did the best they could decades ago, especially in Los Angeles where summer weather can arrive at any point of the year.
Professionals like us at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air have decades of experience helping customers remain comfortable indoors even if their house is a little older. Here are some suggestions in the meantime.
Go Old School
Before technology delivered the highly energy-efficient HVAC systems of today, people still managed to cool their homes, even in Southern California. It may sound odd, but when it comes to cooling a home, going old school works. You can:
- Close the blinds
- Avoid creating extra heat indoors
- Open the windows at night
- Utilize ceiling fans
- Change the bedding
One benefit of going old school is that you are not negatively impacting the environment. An old school method requires no machine that exerts energy. Closing the blinds to prevent the sun’s rays from directly entering your home does not increase your carbon footprint. Plus, it is a good habit to get into because it prevents the sun’s rays from aging your furnishings. Over time, the rays cause colors to fade, so it is a good idea to protect your furniture while you cool your home the old school way.
Opening the windows at night is also a great way to cool down your home. Often, that cool air can last inside hours after the sun rises once again. Plus, you are ventilating the inside of your house. Good ventilation leads to improved indoor air quality. This is a must for those who suffer from respiratory issues.
Not adding extra heat after the cool air has dissipated is easy to accomplish. All you have to do is cook when the sun is not at its peak. Depending on the time of the year, the sun may begin to set at 6:30 p.m. If you do not mind a later dinner, you can enjoy it in a more comfortable indoor temperature. You can also cook outside. California is a great state for grilling since many homes have some backyard space.
If you do not own a set of bed sheets for the summer and a different set for the winter, it is time to do some shopping. Jersey sheets are great for getting cozy in the winter. They are not so great for the summer nights, though.
Ceiling fans require electricity to operate, but they are still considered a viable old-school way to cool an older home. These fans can reduce the heat in a home by an estimated 15%. The ceiling fan of today is as energy efficient as an HVAC system. Therefore, it can run for many hours without having too much of an impact on the cost of your energy bills.
Regular Service on Existing HVAC Systems
Unless your current HVAC system is broken, there is no reason why you cannot make what you currently have work. You just need to ensure that it receives regular maintenance. How efficiently the unit operates depends on its age and how well it has been maintained in the past, even if its warranty has expired.
HVAC maintenance includes:
- Outdoor inspection
- Filter replacement
- Parts lubrication
- Parts testing
- Fluid refilling
Technicians usually begin by ensuring that there is no obvious debris blocking or clogging the unit’s ability to push out cool or hot air. Then, they replace the filters. Next, they check the refrigerant levels.
Technicians also take a look at the other parts. They are searching for obvious wear and tear on the various components. If everything seems fine, the machine is turned on to give the professional the opportunity to listen for odd noises such as hissing or rattling. There shouldn’t be any odd smells, either.
If you feel like your machine is not producing enough cool air, technicians can explore solutions for you. If ductwork is attached to the unit, they will inspect the ducts. It could be that the ducts have leaks that allow air to escape. Sealing those leaks can be completed.
Keep in mind that ducts are not as efficient as the ductless systems of today. All of the cool air produced is never going to make it to its destination. The older the ducts, the greater the potential that more air will be lost.
Even though your home is older, there is no reason why you cannot upgrade your current HVAC system. Some people shy away from this option because it requires an upfront investment. There are also financing options available to customers. If you are longing for a better working way to cool your home, this is a viable path.
If the cost is your concern, keep in mind that thanks to the savings the unit will provide, you are going to break even on your investment sooner rather than later. The majority of HVAC systems sold today are energy efficient. This means that you do not have to run it as long as you did the old one. That leads to an immediate savings. Plus, you have peace of mind, which is priceless.
A newer machine is not going to need labor-intensive repairs, replacements or maintenance for a few years. Also, you will have a warranty just in case anything does go sideways.
Zoning systems are another great option. The best way to determine if it will work in your home is to allow an inspection first. In Los Angeles, our company makes you, the customer, our priority. We take your comfort into consideration and aim to deliver peace of mind.
Zoning systems are wonderful for those who do not want to cool down the entire home. Instead, you are seeking to cool the room you are in at any given time.
Those who are not ready to make the investment in an HVAC unit can start off small. Maybe you are simply in need of a smart thermometer. You can also look into a ductless split system. Rooms that have no existing ductwork are great candidates for this option. If you add a room to your home, that is another candidate for a ductless unit.
Times have changed along with real estate. Over 50 years ago, the availability of electricity was limited. The idea was that during the summer, homeowners would rely on their windows and trees to cool their house. Today, in urban areas where multi-unit buildings are the norm, those methods do not work anymore even for houses because there are fewer trees.
The best way to move in this direction is to consult with a professional HVAC technician in your area. After an assessment, the best solutions are outlined for you to consider.