For years we've tolerated the heat here in Napa with a swamp cooler and now I want to put in central air. The home is a 1950s ranch style house. I'm a rookie in home additions or improvements. Can you tell me the cost of installing central air and whether it affects the structural integrity of the roof or other parts of the house?
Beverly G. ~ Napa, California
The installation of a new HVAC system should have no impact structurally on your home. In fact it might help your home structurally to install a new HVAC system because it would replace the swamp cooler and get it off the roof, if that is where it is currently located. Roofs are rarely engineered to accommodate the weight of a swamp cooler. As far as the cost is concerned, there are many variables that can drastically affect the cost of a retrofit install. What is the square footage? What type of system do you want? Where are the new ducts going to be installed, attic or crawl space? Is there room for the ducting? Are you going to have multiple zones? Do you have space in your electrical panel to accommodate the additional breakers? Do you have sufficient gas lines if you are using a gas system? These are just some of the factors that are going to come into play when the system is priced out. The best I can do for you in terms of what a new system will cost will be to provide you with an approximate range from $7000 - $25,000. I know this is a broad range but there are about a 100 different ways to add an HVAC system to a home. I hope this helps?!