We fall in love with a home — its look, its location — and we move in, only to discover that it is not, indeed, perfect. Maybe it needs a new HVAC system or other home energy improvements. And so the retrofits begin. Here, we’re focusing on retrofitting windows and air conditioners, in part because they can be where common energy leaks occur (windows, in particular). Also, air conditioning is increasingly popular as homeowners decide to forego window units and add central air conditioning instead. Already, 75 percent of all homes in the U.S. have air conditioners, according to the Department of Energy.
When we talk about retrofitting a home, we’re really talking about improving the energy efficiency of the structure by adding a ‘retrofit,’ or improvement or upgrade. The retrofit can take many forms, from adding insulation to adding a basement in an existing home.
Retrofitting windows means opting to work within the framework of the existing window and to improve it by adding a new frame, new glass, etc. This is rather than putting in a newly-constructed window.
To retrofit air conditioning, you are opting to forego traditional window units and instead add some kind of central air conditioning.
Before deciding if you’re going to retrofit windows in your home, you’ll want to price out whether that makes sense, as opposed to replacing them with new windows. Here are some basic points to consider:
The good news is that experienced DIYers can retrofit windows. If you’d prefer to hire a professional, that’s an option too. The point is that this potential energy-saving improvement can happen fairly easily, especially since you can take on this task one window at a time.
First you need to know the two basic types of replacement windows:
Do It Yourself offers a straightforward plan for how to retrofit windows. The basic steps include:
The Window Replacement Center offers the following pitfalls to avoid if you decide to retrofit windows in your home yourself:
Deciding to forego the hassle of individual window air conditioning units for the ease of central air conditioning might seem impossible. The good news is, you can retrofit central air conditioning in your home and it doesn’t have to be a massive expense or task. Here’s what you need to know to see if your home could be retrofit for air conditioning.
Retrofit air conditioning, however, can be done another way, using ductless air conditioners. A ductless system, also known as mini-split, uses an outdoor air compressor and indoor air handlers so you can set up different cooling zones.
“This Old House” notes that homeowners also can retrofit air conditioning by snaking small, flexible ducts through existing walls and ceilings, a procedure that’s 100 percent less invasive than using standard ductwork.
You can take other steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency. We offer suggestions for a variety of energy tips on our blog.
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