Wednesday, June 23, 2010

seeking CAC system recommendations

See this message from a resident of T Street NW:
I live in the neighborhood and have a home build in the 1920`s that has no central airconditioner system. I am looking for recommendations on what types of systems are best and less obstructive to install in this older homes, based on other residents who have had to install a central air system.

What companies or individuals would you all recommend and give me also an idea of length of time to install one, costs, unit on the roof vs. backyard? The attic has not been insulated and has no venting system so the heat in the home is oppressing at times.

Any advice would be appreciated.

7 comments:

  1. I put in central air about 2 years ago, working with Mike Little (also of the NOA Gallery on Rhode Island Ave, NW). I did not want to drop my ceilings or install bulkheads, so he advised me to install ductwork in the basement beneath the first floor, and in the attic with downward venting thru the attic for the 2nd floor. I also do not have attic insulation, which I need to do. The system works reasonably well (I also have a 5 ton unit for my 2,000 sq ft house) and I don't have any complaints. The one downside is that without zoned HVAC the house cools unevenly - I have to keep the first floor very cool in order for the 2nd to remain cool enough (this likely is largely the result of no insulation).

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  2. If you have a unit on the roof, better have easy access to it for maintenance.
    I have a SpacePak and the mechanicals that are in the attic crawlspace make it sound like a truck idling outside. I had a maintenance person come and spent a good amount of time trying to find neighbors with roof access so he could get up there to look at the unit. Other than the noise and the roof issue, I like my SpacePak. No bulkhead things, the vents blend in with the lights. The downstairs is about 2 degrees cooler than the upstairs, but I insulated heavy when I had the house rehabbed.

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  3. My home was built in 1898. We did a complete gut job, insulated the hell out of it (all walls including interior) and put in three zones for four floors. The units are on the roof and the air handlers are in their own closets for easy access. I also built access to the roof for maintenance. This is basically how it should be done. It's expensive but it works and is very energy efficient. Absent this type of commitment, you may be better off with window units until you're ready to do it right.

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  4. We installed AC last year and used R&B Air Conditioning. We wanted to run the flexible tubing through the ceilings and walls and they did an excellent job. Very clean and the job was done in about 2 weeks. The unit is on the roof and the air handler is in a closet. The air handler is a bit loud but we built the closet especially for the unit and added soundproofing which helped dramitically. As other posts have mentioned, we have areas that are not well insulated so some of the cooling is uneven. Overall, we are very pleased -- not to mention cool and sleeping really well! With unlimited funds we would have added a second unit to create two zones to cool a 3 story home.

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  5. I too will be looking for a contractor for a central-air system. In my case, it will entail installation of ductwork and a two-zone system for a three-level house. Does anyone have any advice for this kind of project. Does anyone have a notion about the cost range? Many thanks in advance!

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  6. There is another option--ductless, room-specific 'mini-split' systems:

    http://www.superpages.com/supertips/mini-split-air-conditioning.html

    These are eligible for the tax credit.

    Good luck!

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  7. Steven Ali, esa17@yahoo.com, will charge you actual cost for materials plus his time. I have recommended him to many people who are all satisfied. He guarantees his work and has come over years later to look at issues without charging me. He's awesome. Tell him Gregg sent you

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