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My house has no ducts – can I still get air conditioning?

The question

We have been living for five years in a ductless home and would like to install air conditioning. What are the options?

The answer

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At the moment, your heating must be either radiant or electric, which means that you must open the windows to cool the place. This probably doesn't work very well during very hot summers. The easiest cooling option, though not the most attractive, is to install air conditioners that jut out the windows; a slight upgrade is a slim, in-wall unit that ostensibly fades into the wall, but you can't tell me that a big, white oscillating grill actually disappears from view.

If a ceiling fan just won't cut it, you'll need to bite the bullet and have a space-vac system installed. The unit sits in the attic and has flexible coils that snake through the house, cooling at ceiling level. It will be necessary to give up some closet space, though, to get the pipes to the main floor.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design problem? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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