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Challenges of an Older Home

Many eager, young home buyers are moving away from new construction homes in search of something with great character and charm – an older home. Older homes in established neighborhoods have options such as unique architecture, larger lots, and high grade building products that are sometimes lacking in newer construction. Therefore, older homes have the potential of providing more house for the dollar.

Unfortunately, with an older home come some fairly common problems. Home inspectors often warn potential buyers about structural issues, foundation concerns, the need for electrical upgrades, plumbing that is outdated and roofing that needs replacing or repairing. At Morris Heating & Air Conditioning we are concerned about one of the most common problems we often see in older homes – outdated heating systems which is sometimes dangerous and almost always severely lacking in terms of energy efficiency. While we love the character and history of older homes, here are few challenges specific to the HVAC systems of an antique home which should be considered before you purchase that home of your dreams.

Older house with ornate decorative molding

Heating Equipment and Technology

If you’re hiring a home inspector, hire an inspector with experience working with old houses. He or she should pay close attention to the heating, electrical and plumbing systems. Many older homes have antiquated heating systems which heat unevenly leaving some rooms cold and other rooms stifling! This uneven temperature could be due to a variety of reasons from ductwork issues to a problem with the sizing of the heating system itself. Times have changed and energy efficiency of HVAC systems is light years ahead of what is was even 10 years ago. If you are considering purchasing a home with a heating system greater that 15 years old, you may want to get copies of the current utility bills and consider calling us for a professional opinion/free estimate on replacing the current system. We recently completed a This Old House Project for a home in Arlington (old house/old heating system). By upgrading to a new energy efficient heating system, the homeowners saved 80% off their utility bills by. See story here https://morrisheatingandair.com/this-old-house/

Heating system maintenance — If you find the property you’re considering has system that has not been properly maintained, that’s another red flag. On average a furnace has a lifespan somewhere between 10-15 years depending upon the model and how well it has been maintained. Poor maintenance history will not only shorten the lifespan of the heating system, indoor air quality and energy efficiency are impacted as well.

Zoning — Zoning is not a concept designed into the original heating systems of antique homes. For this reason, you may find yourself facing some very high utility costs. This is not unsolvable. We have solutions for older homes, but be aware that zoned heat is not common in older homes.

AIr Conditioning — What AC? Yes it’s true. Many antique homes do not have AC and because they are often lacking in ductwork, adding AC to older homes is in some cases not an easy proposition. The good news is that with Mitsubishi Ductless systems we can now add AC (and heat for those drafty hard to heat areas) just about anywhere — no ductwork required. These are great systems for older homes. For more information click here https://morrisheatingandair.com/ductless-heating-and-ac/

Energy Efficiency –

Believe it or not many older homes had energy efficient elements built right into their original designs. Original construction methods capitalized on natural sources of light, used trees and nature for protection from wind and elements, and positioned homes to take advantage of solar energy.

At Morris Heating & Air Conditioning we have many happy customers living in beautiful antique homes. In fact Morris Heating & Air Conditioning’s owner, Tim Morris, grew up in a antique home — built in 1826. We love old houses here at Morris — we’d just like to caution you on what to look for before you purchase a home with an outdated HVAC system. If you find a home you fall in love with and the heating system is outdated, don’t cross that old beauty off your list just yet. We have lots of excellent energy efficient heating and cooling solutions which are perfectly suited for the many beautiful New England homes in this area. Call a Morris Heating & Air Conditioning Comfort Advisor at 978-356-9900 for a free estimate or even if you’d just like some advice. We’re here to help.