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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Historic townhome A/C recommendations (Washington DC area)

    Contributors to this forum know their stuff, as evidenced by all the high quality information I've been reading. I'd be very appreciative if someone can assist me with my question:

    I've purchased a townhome on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. It's from around 1908. It's got no A/C, but does have radiator heat. There are currently no metal ducts for an A/C unit.

    I've had a home inspection done and the inspector recommended high velocity A/C units. He noted Space Pak etc. The building needs a new roof, so I was thinking about doing the A/C at the same time and putting A/C on the new roof. My question is this: conventional or high velocity?

    High velocity Pros: 2 1/2" tubes versus 8"x4" metal grates in the walls for a conventional unit. Also, high velocity is less visible. Space is a premium, and I'd be looking to rent the basement out at some point, it has 7' ceilings with exposed beams, so high velocity would be easier to snake in between the joists when I drywall over them to finish the ceiling. Does high velocity last as long as a conventional unit?

    Conventional Pros: More efficient and cheaper? Longer lasting? Less expensive?

    Any insight into this is appreciated. Including brands and even contractors in the area if applicable. thanks and keep up the great work

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Seattle, WA
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    Having been raised in that area I can say that you might also want to look at using a few ductless air conditioners located in different levels of the home. If your old radiator system is still working correctly I'd continue to use that and rely on the stand-alone ductless A/C systems.

    Fitting a high velocity system of most any type is quite a job in most of those older homes that have very little extra space for the main blower unit and to go through walls to get to the other floors for the air supplies, especially if you have a three story.

    Most of the time valuable closet space has to be used. And/or the main blower unit will need to be located in an inaccessable space in the basement rental space or between the limited crawl space in the space between the top floor ceiling and roof. It's been done but can get quite expensive and messy.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Colorado flatland native
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    My doctor gave me six months to live, but when I couldn't pay the bill he gave me six months more.
    Walter Matthau

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