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A/C Options For Older Homes

In San Diego, we have a quite a few older homes and historical properties and it is often difficult to put air conditioning into them. We Care Plumbing, Heating & Air shows what it takes to put air conditioning into an older home.

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Jordan: In San Diego we have quite a few older homes and historical properties, and they can be very hard to put air conditioning into. So, today I am actually the client, and I have invited Bob Briley from We Care Plumbing, Heating & Air to my rental unit, which is a very old home, built in about 1910, and it is hot in here, Bob.

Bob: Yes, it is.

Jordan: So I want to talk about what it takes to put air conditioning into these older properties that are maybe a little bit unconventional. 

Bob: Well the first thing you have to do is talk to the homeowner first and see what their overall plan is. Are they trying to keep the look of the architecture if they want it? And then you have to go through each room and figure out what you want to do, how you want to cool it, where you want to put the systems, and if you can put the systems there. In a home like this, it would be highly recommended to do mini split system, where you have separate heads in each room, that way you don’t see any duct work, because you have no attic access to actually deal with. 

Jordan: Correct, there are bedrooms upstairs, so I do not have an attic that you can run ducting through. And to paraphrase, because this interview that Bob’s talking about, we’ve done.

Bob: Yes. 

Jordan: He asked me all the questions, it’s not, we’re condensing this into a couple of minutes so for your benefit at home, but he did thoroughly go through all these questions with me, and we talked about my goals. And now it sounds like these head units that go on the wall, how do we know what to do with this? 

Bob: Well, we’re going to be feeling the system, well first for sizing we have to do a heat locale for the house, to find out exactly what size we need to do. You don’t want to just say hey, this room looks like a 10-by-10, let’s just throw this here. You have to do an actual Manual J, it’s called.

Jordan: Because that’s how you figure out how much power each thing needs to have. 

Bob: Right, because each room is going to be it’s own little entity, it’s going to breathe on it’s own. There’s heat loads coming in at different angles. You have to figure out what exactly you need to put in. 

Jordan: So how is a mini split different from traditional A/C, other than just the lack of those big traditional ducts that you think of?

Bob: That is the obvious one, the ductwork.

Jordan: Okay.

Bob: Also, they are a higher efficiency system. They’re a compact system, so basically you have a head system on the wall, and the condenser is outside, and that’s what does all the heating and cooling. They’re really used a lot in Europe, and in other countries.

Jordan: And as we’ve been walking around the house what is it that you’re actually looking for or figuring out where things are going, and what fits where, what are you looking for? 

Bob: I’m lookin’ at how it’s going to look, because that’s the big thing, you don’t want to walk into a room and say, oh my God, look at the size of that head unit. That’s just ugly looking. How it’s going to work, what’s it going to look like on the outside, because the refrigeration lines have to go down the wall on the outside. 

Jordan: Right.

Bob: So you want to look at that to see how is that going to affect your look outside? And then if everybody can go, we’re going to work it’s way back to the system.

Jordan: Okay, and so of course, what happens when you actually give me the proposal and you’re going to walk me through it? What do I need to be looking for? If I’m going to be a smart shopper and compare with a couple different quotes? 

Bob: Right, you want to make sure well, brand is one. You also want to make sure that the guy knows what they’re talking about as in how it’s going to work, if it’s going to work for your house, because a lot of times you put these systems in and they’re not going to work properly. You have to make sure it’s done properly. 

Jordan: So how do I check that when I get the quote and the paperwork, you have this book you’re showing me. 

Bob: Yeah, I have a book that has all of our, we call it a brag book, it has all of our brags, all of our awards in it. Also, it has literature of the systems itself. 

Jordan: Great, so mini splits are an option. I have choices when it comes to putting air conditioning into this old, historic home, and I’m looking forward to seeing what We Care comes up with for me.