From the Forum – Patio Installation and Mini-split Ductless Air Conditioning System Install

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Patio Installation — Attached Rowhouse/No Alley Access:

“I’ve got a CoHi rowhouse with typical postage stamp-sized backyard (maybe 12′ x 10′?), which I’d like to rehabilitate with a low maintenance, eco-friendly makeover: remove existing brick and grass combo and replace it with permeable pavers. Adequate drainage is key, so I figure some topsoil and bricks have to come out, with crushed stone/sand/pavers coming in and layered properly. Here’s the rub: everything has to come in and out through the front door, as there’s no alley access. Has anyone tackled a project like this? If so, recommendation for a contractor (I definitely don’t want to tackle this DIY)? And how long would it take to complete, start to finish? Cost?”

Mini-split Ductless Air Conditioning System Install:

“Has anyone had a mini-split ductless air conditioning system installed? I know this topic has been on the forum before (and featured on the front page) but I haven’t seen any recommendations from anyone that has actually had the system installed. I have a relatively small attached rowhouse (1040 sq. feet) with no ductwork. Anyone have a similar house that has had a mini-split ductless installed and can recommend a reasonably priced and reliable company?”

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4 Comment

  • For the patio, do it through RiverSmart for some cost savings:

  • houseintherear

    I had a system installed into a carriage house that did not have any ductwork. Basically, you get a large roof unit put on top of your house, and the other units are wired/tubed down from there from the outside and mounted above doors or windows in whatever location you desire. They did my installation in one day. I really enjoy having a ductless system- really low electricity bills, especially because you can turn off units in certain parts of the house when you don’t need them, and just easy to use and cool looking (imo). I did end up needing a supplemental heating system on my first floor, which is 550 open square feet with tall ceilings, so I got a small baseboard heater installed and that did the trick for this winter.

    Now the bad story… I used HD Johnson out of NW for the system, and I was singing their praises up until about 2 years ago (3 years after getting the system… just as it went out of the warranty period). The system began to get very, very loud when running, and they came to check it out. Somehow the filters were filled with yucks, even though I cleaned them monthly as recommended by the manufacturer. There seems to be something wrong with how the filters fit. So basically, in a normal situation like this, a new motor could have been put into each system (there are three total in my house) at a couple hundred bucks each. Or, if that couldn’t be done for some reason, one new unit could be put in if one breaks. Unfortunately, as it turned out, HD Johnson had secretly sold me a unit that was discontinued (probably because of this filter issue, god dammit) and there is no way to get new motors or parts or anything. I imagine it was sitting in their warehouse and they unloaded it on me on purpose. And, according to them, this particular set of units cannot be mixed and matched… so I basically need an entire new system and roof unit, to the tune of $10k+. I also had them come for a service call in the 2nd year of service, just to check the freon, and they charged over $400 for the visit ($100+ for the freon, which is normal, but then ridiculous fees like $125 “ladder fee” for going up on the roof to service the unit, and then another “service charge”… absurd). DO NOT USE THEM. They are crooks. So hopefully someone will have a recommendation for a good company that won’t be poopie!!… because going ductless is really great, overall. I have a Fujitsu brand, but I’ve heard Mitsubishi makes a great system.

  • Hi OP,

    I have an urban sustainability company based in D.C. called Eco Spaces that would love to tackle the project. We are licensed and insured. Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call me at 202.681.3402. As the person below mentioned – there are rebates and credits available through the District Dept. of the Environment for these types of projects. We can assist you in getting these rebates as well. Cheers and Good Luck!

  • For the patio: We did not have the lack of back access issue, but we were really pleased with First Impressions Hardscapes ( We also have a rowhouse with a teeny back space, and they made it into a really great patio – they did a really super job, and were very friendly to work with, and I’m pretty confident they could tackle it even without a back alley. Good luck!

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