How do you cool a 1956 home, with central air but no wall insultion??

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I purchased a 1956 built home and had both units replaced, attic and outside units, units were checked for problems, none found. Had a water leak inside wall and discovered that walls aren't insulated. My contractor who repairs my home previously worked on the home assured me none of the walls are insulated. So now, house isn't cooling, since I purchased it, never has, and I'm trying to figure least costly way to solve my problem without just walking away from the home.


Any suggestions would be appreciated, thx in advance.

q how do you cool a 1956 home with central air but no wall insultion

See no insulation!

  15 answers
  • I would hire a company that does insulation. They can make small holes and blow-in insulation.

  • Valerie Waddelove Valerie Waddelove on Aug 29, 2021

    Attic insulation would be helpful too. And how are the windows? They let in in the summer and out in the winter. It looks like you have a lot to do.

  • Judy in Canton. Judy in Canton. on Aug 29, 2021

    Most homes built in the 50's did not have insulation or triple pane windows. Is your home one level or multiple levels? The lower levels will be cooler because warm air rises. The least expensive way to contain the cool air is to hang drapes or shades to cover the windows when the sun is on them and to use fans to move the cool air. Keep doors to unused rooms closed. My concern is also for winter so that any water pipes on outside walls don't freeze. You may want to see if your local government or energy supplier has any low cost programs for installation.

  • Seth Seth on Aug 29, 2021

    My 1963 ranch has no insulation either, but the attic is very well insulated. Many homes built before 1970 did not have insulation as it was not in the building codes yet as a requirement. My central air has no problem keeping the house cool. I would make sure your windows are caulked properly and add storm windows on the outside if you need to. Have an HVAC company come in and make sure your system is balanced properly. Also, most local utility companies offer free energy evaluations of your home and do insulating work at a reduced cost subsidized by the utility. Might be worth checking out.

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Aug 29, 2021

    Blown-in paper insulation is the least expensive way to go. I have old jalousie windows where I keep the blinds closed during the day. I had 18" of paper insulation blown just in my attic. The temp difference was AMAZING (I'm in south FLaDuh). I recommend you begin by insulating the attic and weather sealing all doors/windows/vents, etc. Also, make sure your home has a ridge vent and also venting at the fascia. It not only keeps air circulating in the attic (hottest area of your home) it provides an important fire safety function so the area doesn't dangerously overheat.


    Also, look into your area Weatherization Assistance Program. They provide free services to those within certain income levels.


  • William William on Aug 29, 2021

    Insulate. All exterior walls and attic. Blown in insulation is the best way to go. It can be done from the inside if your house is brick or outside if your house is siding for the walls. They drill a 2" hole at a low point and a high point in each cavity. Blow the insulation from the bottom hole and when it starts coming out of the top hole the cavity is full. Attic insulation should be about 6" above the joists for a high R value. There are Weatherization programs generally provided by county or state governments. Some utilities also have programs. Many of these are free.

  • Our home that was built as in 1929 as a summer beach cottage. We had insulation blown into the walls and it was inexpensive, not disruptive and has worked great.

  • Dee Dee on Aug 29, 2021

    You can have insulation blown in from the attic. They will also blow it down the walls that are accessible. I have black out curtains on my windows, plus blackout screens on all the windows. I added some ducts for additional vents in the larger rooms.

  • Walter Crowder Walter Crowder on Aug 29, 2021

    Everything that was mentioned I will look into cause it's my first home and I'm dumbfounded.

    • Flipturn Flipturn on Sep 02, 2021

      Walter, Many other Hometalkers have also been first time home owners at some point, and know that having to learn so much about houses in the beginning can seem overwhelming at times.


      Keep those questions coming!

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Aug 30, 2021

    You run it through the ceiling with vents

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Aug 30, 2021

    If you make a small hole about 1 foot wide by 6 inch you could have someone come in and blow insulation I. The walls then just patch the wall up

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Aug 30, 2021

    When we remodeled our old house, we framed out all the outside walls and insulated. We also updated the windows and doors. Blown in insulation may end up being your simplest method. Keep in mind every opening in your house also affects your heating and cooling. Weatherstrip, door sweeps, insulated curtains can make a big difference. Good luck!

  • Annie Annie on Aug 30, 2021

    Sorry to see what you are facing... the proper way to insulate is in the walls. Dont know where you live or what building codes you have, but that will be a substantial job.

    If you are not doing this via building code, then perhaps using rigid foam insulation under the siding.

    Or getting some insulation blown in between studs.

    Do you have a vapor barrier???

  • Oliva Oliva on Aug 31, 2021

    Hi, Walter,

    Insure that any insulation job is conducted by someone who will fill any air voids with a sealing foam, before blowing in cellulose insulation (generally less expensive than foam type, and preferred in older brick homes. This is so important, to avoid heat loss. Installers should provide photos and written guarantee of work.


    Get yourself some pipe insulation foam and install it in your basement, under sinks, and in access areas for your tub. Also use it along exterior walls of your home, where water pipes enter. You can purchase thermal draperies until you can purchase new, triple pane windows. Also, caulk existing windows and doors throughout the home. When you can afford storm doors and fiberglass doors, do so. Purchase room sized rugs with pads to keep floors warmer in all rooms except kitchen, laundry, and bath.


    Use draft dodgers under doors to block drafts. Invest in a high efficiency furnace in the future, but note that if you have a brick chimney, you may be looking at spalled brick in the future, due to less heat going up the chimney.


    Install insulation on your garage doors and in its ceiling, if you can. Check for air leaks and install strips at the sides and base of the door to block air drafts.

    Keep water away from your house by diverting it at least 10' from the foundation.

    Keep the gutters clear of debris, or install gutter guards.


    These are all points that long term homeowners have learned one way or another.

    As you begin to make improvements, keep you insurer apprised, as it makes a significant impact on lowering insurance rates, over the years.


    Wishing you much success!


  • Blow-in insulation is likely the best solution but no solution is going to be inexpensive here.