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TrueSouthernPeach 04-08-2010 04:50 PM

Old house with no forced air at all.
Well, I have found and awesome house that my Fiance and I could actually afford in the upcoming months. I was a bit concerned to find it had been on the market for a while, but I think the reason is because it has no Air Conditioning (and it's also right by the train tracks; but we don't mind this). In fact, we're pretty sure it has no forced air at all! (we are going to find out 100% tomorrow) I have saved up quite a bit of money, and I will be saving up even more in the upcoming months. I think I will have enough to put up a down payment, and even get air conditioning installed.

I am just curious, how much do you think such a thing would cost? Also, are there ways to cut down on cost by doing certain things yourself? The house has a regular-sized crawlspace that runs all the way under it, all of the main rooms are on the first floor (Except for one large room upstairs--an attic) and there appear to be no vents, ductwork, or even heat (radiators) at all. It does have 4 fireplaces, but only one is usable at this time. The house has about 1,600 square feet, and was built in 1914 with pretty high ceilings. I would like to avoid dropping any ceilings as much as possible to run the ductwork to the second floor. My dad told me that doing ductwork is pretty hard, but he thinks me Fiance and I could pull it off and do (at least most of it) ourselves. I am glad he has faith in us, but would you agree?

Any advice/suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Wuzzat? 04-08-2010 06:14 PM

Beg, borrow or steal a Manual D to see how complex designing ductwork can be. And a Manual J.


Heating & Cooling Degree Days - Free Worldwide Data Calculation
I get 1700 Cooling Degree Days for Nashville.

You also need the Outside Design Temperature.
Outdoor Temperature and Relative Humidity - US Winter and Summer Conditions

You have at least 60 A elec. service?

Cost of Central Air Conditioning - Get Prices and Estimates -

Also, the prices of houses sold is public record. Get prices, sq. footage and ages for a dozen or so houses in this area. Plotting the results should show what a reasonable price is for this particular house.

TrueSouthernPeach 04-08-2010 07:17 PM

Thank you for the links, Wuzzat!

I hope my dad was joking when he said that... I don't think I would want to attempt ductwork just yet... Hehe.

As for the prices of other houses around... A lot of them are around the same price (For a much smaller house) and a lot of them are even a little more expensive. (20 - 30K more... Right by the tracks also.) I know you should never fall in love with a house... But it's kinda my dream home. :)

I'll know more tomorrow when we go out to the place to explore.


Wuzzat? 04-09-2010 09:11 AM


Originally Posted by TrueSouthernPeach (Post 43332)
it's kinda my dream home. :)

I hope it works out for you - just watch out you don't get on the slippery slope of
Sunk costs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Read the part about the movie ticket.

handyguys 04-09-2010 09:33 AM

Congrats, in advance, on your new home.

A few tips...
Make sure you have a full home inspection done. Duh, you probably already know that. Shadow the home inspector with a video camera or take pictures. If the inspector doesnt want you to do this find a different inspector. Don't go on the roof with him but at least into the attic and crawl space.

Make sure you understand all the possible issues. Adding AC is nice but if you have a leaky roof, unstable foundation, unsafe electrical, leaky plumbing, etc. Then those should be a first priority.

As for adding AC - I have done duct work myself before. Both times I was working alongside or with a professional. first time the pro did all the calculations, designs, etc. and made up all the duct work (ridged and insulated) in his shop. He came on-site and showed me how to connect the pieces. He did the main connections at the furnace. The second time I did it I was working with a pro and we installed a combination of fiberglass and flex duct, that was specified by the 'builder'. (after katrina, doing some relief work). We discussed the pros and cons of fiberglass and flex ducts versus ridged. Yeah, fiberglass was easier to fabricate onsite and a lot cheaper. Ridged gives you durability and max airflow.

Anyway - yeah its possible to DIY duct work but work closely with a pro and pay for his time and expertise. Also consider possible one or more mini-split systems. They don't require duct work and are easier to install.
You do have a thing hanging on the wall tho. Usually up high. They are much more quiet than a window unit. They are typically a professional install but pretty easy for any pro with the right tools and experience. They can come with one compressor (outside) servicing multiple inside units. You may be able to get away with one or two inside units if you have an open floor plan.

Okay, I'm rambling. i have a DIY home inspection checklist. DO NOT USE THIS AS YOUR HOME INSPECTION. But, listen to the show and print out the checklist and take it with you, if you can spend some time at the house check some of the things on the checklist. It will give you an idea of whats what.
both the download and the show where we discuss it are here
Episode #57 Springtime House Inspection

Good luck

Wuzzat? 04-09-2010 09:41 AM

Here's what I was looking for
They might have a directory in your area that you can look at.

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