Most cities in the US have been around for quite a while and this is why it is common to see some older buildings. Despite their old age, these buildings are unique and beautiful and probably the reason their owners do not want to demolish them. To conserve the building, you may be torn between doing a HVAC retrofit or replacement.
If you are in this position and not quite sure of what you need to do, below are some ideas to look at.
When making cosmetic changes or structural fixes, you may want to salvage the existing HVAC system or components. This is especially the case with heating systems. For instance, you may want to replace the older boiler, but keep the old radiators. You may only reconsider a retrofit when adding AC to sections of the building not cooled by the existing system.
If a HVAC retrofit doesn’t work, you may consider replacing the older system with newer HVAC technologies which will give you significant benefits. One such system is the variable refrigerant flow (VRF). These systems do not require ductwork and this means you won’t have to damage your existing walls and ceilings.
The primary concern of historical home conservation is aesthetics. This includes both exterior and interior. The placement of equipment is therefore extremely important whether you are doing a retrofit or completely replacing the HVAC.
The condensing unit should not be put on a visible part of the roof. When adding the vent pipes, also exercise caution so that you do not ruin the roof line aesthetics.
Ordinarily, HVAC professionals are best suited to handle a retrofit or replacement exercise. Hire a company that has sufficient experience in handling older buildings because missing out on this element in your installation could result into condensation which in turn may damage the structure of your building.
Water leaks can easily stain ceilings and walls while uncontrolled humidity can damage woodwork and your expensive finishes.
Having a preventive maintenance contract is a smart move because then you will have someone on the side in case of damages or emergency repair needs. Older buildings in particular have higher stakes because their equipment and ventilation systems are in delicate places which only a professional can access them without inflicting damages on the building finishes.