Energy Efficient Historic Home, Part 5: Heating & Cooling

Alan working on ACYou love the historic charm of your New Orleans home, but does that mean you want to live like one of the early settlers? Probably not. We modern Louisianans like to have our cake and eat it too. We want the beauty of our older home intact, but we also want to enjoy 21st century comfort. Fortunately, now that you’ve had your home audited, sealed, and insulated, you’re well on your way to achieving the dream.

Air conditioning and heating are vital aspects of a pleasant home. They keep us cozy, but just as importantly in southern Louisiana, they keep our air dehumidified and clean. If your HVAC unit is out of date, that can be a costly endeavor, as nearly half of our energy dollars are spent on heating and cooling in America! The good news is that you can reduce your heating and cooling costs by 30% to 50% with a super-efficient HVAC upgrade.

Since you’ve taken the time to air seal and insulate your historic home, you’ll find that you don’t need quite the large HVAC unit that you may have imagined. In fact, a large unit can actually create more problems than it solves. If your air conditioner is too big for the home, the unit will run for a brief time to cool your rooms, but that length of time won’t be enough time to dehumidify the house. You may find that your home is ideal for newer, ductless AC units that provide non-intrusive cooling for your older home.

Likewise, you can improve the energy efficiency by upgrading the furnace that generates your winter heat. While it may cost a bit more up front, an energy efficient heater will pay off in the long run. The cost of fuel to run a furnace over its lifespan dwarfs the cost of the furnace itself.

However, as not every new furnace is high efficiency, you should be sure that you know what you’re getting if you’re looking to conserve energy. The efficiency rating of a furnace indicates what percentage of the generated heat actually gets into your home’s air rather than going up the chimney and outside. A 96% efficient furnace only loses 4% of the heat generated. You’ll spend much less money heating your home when you actually keep the heat inside!

You may find that an outdated water heater is also contributing to your family’s energy loss. Up to 15% or more of the average American family’s energy bill goes towards washing dishes, bathing, and laundry. One of the most energy efficiency systems you can find is a tankless water heater, which only heats water as you need it. Replacing an outmoded unit with a tankless unit can cut your water heating costs by up to 45%!

Heating and cooling upgrades improve your historic home’s value, energy efficiency, and comfort while saving you money. Though some of the renovations cost more at the outset than traditional models, the savings over the lifetime of your home far outweigh those initial payments. These improvements can be made with little impact on the structure of your home, which means you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of your older home while experiencing modern comfort.


Main Office: Sunlight Contractors, LLC 2323 Bainbridge St #110, Kenner, LA 70062 (504) 222-2082

New Orleans location: Sunlight Contractors, LLC 650 Poydras St, Suite 1400, Rm 33, New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 302-0058

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