Air Circulation in Old House

Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.

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Air Circulation in Old House

Post by corinne564 »

Alright guys, I'm in a pickle. I recently inherited an old house. God rest my great Aunt for leaving me this because it gets me out of an apartment but I'm not sure if this is much better. Anywho, this house was built around the 1940's. It's a small one-story house with no central heat and air. I called some electricians about having some plugs fixed and they dropped a $30,000 bomb on me that I would need to have the wiring gutted and new put in. I believe them because if I run too many items with the window AC unit on whichever side of the house, switches will overheat and the power will go out. This is Texas. It's 95 degrees or more on a regular basis in the summer and it gets to sweltering levels. I go to bed sweating even if a fan is running. In the winter time, it's freezing all over. Thank goodness for old-school gas outlets or I would surely freeze in here.

So my question is, in the summer, what is a great way to get some air circulated around here? I'm not looking for magical cool air to move around, but just something that will help circulate the little cool air I can find from one end of the house to the other.

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Re: Air Circulation in Old House

Post by pqtex »

I'm going to say that $30,000 is too much, especially if the house is one story and small. I also live in Texas and live in a 100 year old farmhouse. After I acquired my family homestead, I upgraded from knob and tube a mishmash of patched in/added lines to 200 amp service. Keep in mind that my house was built without electricity in 1913. My father remembered when it was added in the 30's. Over the years, appliances were added, including air conditioners, washer, dryer, dishwasher, toasters, etc. Splice heaven (or hell).

My house is one story, approximately 2000 square feet and to have the entire house completely rewired and brought up to code was under $13,000. The electricians completely disconnected the knob and tube, but did not remove it. That $13k included quite a few extras, such as underground wiring to our garden shed, outside security lighting (I bought the fixtures separately) porch wiring for lights, outlets, fans--3 of them, (I bought all fixtures, fans, lights separately), wired smoke detectors, wiring and bracing for 6 more fans indoors, gfi's in the bathrooms and kitchen. That was in 2006.

I also had central air and heat put in. The separate wiring in the attic and for the outdoor unit was included in the price by the electricians and I had it done before I even selected the AC contractor. The house had window units before the central ac, and before that, an attic fan, and even before that, we opened the windows. I had the electricians wire a couple of rooms with 220 just in case I ever needed to go back to the big window units. The way my house is built, if I had no electricity, as I did for 2 weeks after Hurricane Ike, I can open the windows and I get wonderful breezes, even when the temps are in the 90's or higher. The rooms are all connected with doors and there are a lot of windows, and there is a wonderful draw of air. I could almost get by without the AC, but this is Texas, after all. My great-grandparents did a great job of site selection and placement of windows in the house design when they built the house.

Get more estimates.

You should come visit the forum at Lots of old house lovers over there.

What part of Texas?

My great-grandparents' 1913 farmhouse

Too bad the spam got so bad. Some of us have been spending time at the new community for folks with a love of old houses at

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Re: Air Circulation in Old House

Post by McCall »

I agree 39K is way too high, get other estimates and make sure you know exactly what they cover.
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