Three Things to Consider When Installing a Furnace in an Old Home

Posted on: 15 May 2019

Installing a furnace in an old house comes with all sorts of considerations and challenges that more modern homes are often without. This can make the installation process more tedious and expensive, but not impossible. Planning for these issues ahead of time can save you time and money, so here are three things to look for when considering installing a furnace in an old house.

Duct Installation, Repair, or Cleaning

When inspecting the house, it's important to find out if the house already has ductwork installed, and how well it currently functions. In older homes, especially those where the HVAC system may not have been used for some time, a contractor should inspect ducts that already exist to see if they need any repairs, or if they should be replaced. In the case of minor to moderate physical damage, it's cheaper to have them repaired, as duct installations get expensive quickly. However, if there is any cleaning that needs to be done, this may be a different story. Some materials, like metal, can be cleaned of mold and other debris, but materials like fiberboard will need to be replaced if mold or rodent waste is more widespread.

If there is already solid ductwork in the house that doesn't need replacing, make sure it runs to all the rooms you want it to and that it's upgraded to current standards. If there are any improvements or upgrades you can make for efficiency, it's a good idea to tackle those early on.

Heat Distribution

If the house doesn't already have ductwork, you may have multiple options to choose from when it comes to how the air will move through your house. In houses not designed for central heating and air, you may run into some difficulties where there may not actually be room to install ducts throughout the attic and ceiling.

If you can't, or don't, want to look at traditional ductwork, you can look at ducts that are installed under your floors instead. Alternatively, you can use a high-velocity mini-HVAC system, which uses much smaller tubes that are more easily installed throughout your house. These systems tend to be more expensive, but their smaller size can also give you more freedom as to where vents in each room are installed.

Furnace Size

Whether you're installing a brand-new furnace or replacing an old one, you should calculate the correct size of the furnace you'll need. If a furnace already existed, don't order one of the same size; it helps to double check.

The size you need is often based on the square footage of your house. A furnace designed for larger houses will cycle off and on too quickly, and a furnace designed for smaller houses will have to run longer than it should to warm your home. Both can be bad for your heating bill and efficiency as well as the life of your furnace; furnaces that run like this will need more maintenance and are likely to fail sooner than one of the correct size.

If you aren't sure, you can use an online calculator to help you find out which size you need. You can also ask a contractor to help you make sure you are working with the right square footage.

If you are looking at a new furnace for your home, contact a team like Laroc Refrigeration-Metal Division to discuss your options.