When installing or upgrading an HVAC system in an historic building, there are critical conditions that must be met. The system needs to not only satisfy the comfort needs of the home’s occupants but also preserve as much of the appearance and features of the historical architecture as possible. These two responsibilities create certain challenges:
Modern HVAC equipment offers greater comfort than older systems. Unfortunately, the weight of the equipment can weaken or damage significant historical features.
Some older buildings have tall ceilings. These ceilings may have to be preserved due to their contribution to the architectural character of the buildings. On the contrary, some buildings have low ceilings, which make it challenging to add air handlers or ductwork.
Apart from the ceilings, you will probably want to retain the historic finishes, such as plaster walls, moldings, stonework, and woodwork, as well as decorative elements like switch plates and wallpaper. Some HVAC solutions, such as the installation of vapor barriers or new insulation, may require the stripping of the finishes.
Overcoming the Challenges
In historic buildings, it’s essential to keep as much of the finishes and space as possible. An excellent way to achieve that is by building the existing HVAC elements, such as radiators and ornate grille covers, into the new system whenever possible.
You can minimize the weight and complexity of new AC systems by adding:
- Operable windows
- Ceiling fans
You could avoid damaging the interior finishes and exterior stonework or cladding by adding insulation to the attics and basements instead of to the walls.
Plenty of damage can be done if HVAC installers don’t take the time to learn the needs of historic buildings. It’s important to evaluate historical architecture properly to come up with the best HVAC solutions. If you’d like to work with an experienced HVAC company in the Yuma area, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company. With more than 428 years of combined experience, we can correctly design an HVAC system that is sure to work efficiently and keep you comfortable throughout the year.