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Can anyone give me a very rough ball park idea of how much it might cost to install central air in classic 6 prewar building? Approximtely 1400-1500 sq feet. Thanks
Before we get an estimate from Primer and from columbiacounty, could you let us know, the bathrooms - are there windows, and in particular, windows in the shower?
Need more information -- Is this part of a larger renovation where the walls and ceilings will already be open? Do you have outdoor space for the condenser? How much do you care about aesthetics; do you mind having air handlers hanging off your walls, or do you want something almost invisible? Is there closet space you can give up and/or the ability to drop the ceiling for equipment and ductwork?
10k to 15k but the aggravation of getting board approvals is priceless.
$8 to $10K for the airhandler/furnace, evaporator coil and compressor (you'll likely need a 3 or 3.5 ton unit) seer rating will afect cost here.
The rest, duct work is impossible to guess and will vary unit by apt. THis work will likely cost more than the unit.
It's also something not futz around with, if not properly engineered, you'll have an expensive supplement to continued use of wall units.
It's worth spending the couple thousand to have an architect draw up exact specs. Then you can have contractors quoting apples to apples and removing guesswork and blame for a flakey system.
the unit and duct work kill so much space--why? in a 6? i mean, if you are top floor with roof access or have a place to put the unit, maybe--if you can, just go thru-the-wall--if not, i'd buy a different apt
$10-15k is completely unrealistic, by the way.
I mentioned this a couple of times previously and promised to post pics. I installed a 4 zone "mini split system" central air system in my ~1,900 sq ft prewar. Using the split systems, you don't need big ducts. The mechanical equipment was probably ~30% of the cost of the total system. Custom grill and duct work, cabinet enclosures, etc. all added significantly to the cost. The total cost approached ~$80K if memory is correct. This was part of a gut renovation of the apartment -- no interior walls remained so access was very easy. We sacrificed a small windowed area of my son's room for a mechanical closet, maybe 3x5 feet. The system works flawlessly. Happy to share some add'l insight. Pics -- in no particular order -- are finally posted to flickr:
The building I am looking at it landmarked, so there can be no window units in the front. So that presents a problem for us. The ceilings are very high so I don't mind the AC taking up some ceiling space. The board allows central air to be installed, but wanted to get a sense of what kind of project this would be.
earo the installation of the AC for your apartment was 80K? wow. that seems pretty steep to me.
There are pros and cons to living in prewar. Victorian or non-existent a/c is a big con. I live in a 6 prewar and am "lucky" in that I am permitted to have through the wall a/c - which is loud and takes up valuable space. Frankly, it is awful. But I have beautiful ceilings and other pros. If you really want central air live in a post war.
We priced it out in a few different configurations. No doubt we could have done it cheaper, but we wanted a concealed look. If we used the wall-mounted air handlers, we could have cut the cost substantially. I think that the equipment cost would have been about 1/3 lower w/ wall-mounted air handlers vs the ducted ones we used. That would have then brought the cost down much further, reducing the need for complicated duct work above/within cabinetry and the necessary millwork as well.
earo, nice job, especially the grilles in the cabinet-work.
10-15k? Even a window A/C would cost 5k for 1500sqf.
Realistically, you are looking at 80-100k. You can have C shaped central air with minimal ducting for under 30k. Each room is individually controlled and it does not take up any space as it is flushed to the wall, like any other central AC.
earo, very impressed with the job you did!
earo, who did the install on that system? company name? very impressive!
Thanks earo for posting the pics. helpful to actually see.
Earo that is awesome-- feel like this is an underdiscussed topic on SE so amazingly helpful.
The architect (Andrew Franz Architecture PLLC) ran point on the AC system. He installed similar systems in several other apartments. I visited a few of his other projects and was sold on the concept. The owners I spoke to raved about the setup. I think in all if not most of the units he used Airflow Mechanical, for the AC work. The duct work they did was amazing to cram in all required elements in my awkward ceilings. My GC did all the millwork.
For the in wall (ex. Mitsubishi Units) how do you handle the outdoor condensor requirement?