After buying a historical home, I discovered that there are major advantages and drawbacks to a structure built several hundred years ago.
The home was built to last with heavy beams, studs and floor joists, and every length and width and height is perfectly plum and square.
I love the hardwood floors, doors, moldings, banisters and mantle. I appreciate the higher ceilings and big windows. However, when my family first moved in, there was one electrical outlet in each room and all of the overhead light fixtures operated off a pull-chain. Very few of the windows opened and yet they all leaked air. The house wasn’t equipped with any type of traditional ductwork, so there was no opportunity for central heating or cooling. The former owners managed to get by with electric space heaters, fans and window air conditioners. This method of temperature control was ineffective, inefficient and looked horrendous. Because the studs in the walls were turned sideways to optimize living space, we couldn’t incorporate conventional ducts even if we were willing to tear down the plaster walls and ceilings. Unwilling to live with insufficient comfort and huge monthly electric bills, I did some research and came across high-velocity heating and cooling. This type of system is also known as a mini-duct system because it uses ductwork that is one about three inches in diameter. The flexible tubes are able to be inserted into existing walls and routed around plumbing and electrical boxes. The system relies on a very compact unit that can be installed into the attic or even a closet. Smaller diameter vents are available in all shapes, sizes and styles and can be installed in ceilings, walls or even floors. Through a process of aspiration, the system provides heated or cooled air at a very high rate of speed, creates a gentle suction within the room and mixes the air quickly.