HVAC-Mini-splits throughout the house?

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Home and Garden January 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

HVAC-Mini-splits throughout the house?

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Hi there. Has anyone put in mini-splits throughout their home. We originally planned high velocity in our 1895 rowhouse in an attempt to eliminate bulkheads and preserve some of the tin ceilings. It has been suggested that we go the mini-split unit system — essentially putting wall mounted units or, mostly, ceiling cassettes or compact cassettes — in each room. Has anyone gone this route? Would live to hear your thoughts, good or bad. Thank you!

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If you can live with the design of the wall units hanging in your historic townhouse, that might be a solution. It could be cheaper, but you will be altering your rooms with those units. I would go high velocity with linear diffusers in the walls or pin-point diffusers in the ceiling, driving the conduits within the walls. More expensive, more attractive, and better resale value. Not to mention that you will have to put several condensing units outside, which will also interfere with your front garden and back yard.

You have to put a condensing unit somewhere with high velocity systems as well. Achieving high velocity requires a lot more energy, so you’ll be paying for it every month. Ductless mini splits are inherently zoned, where as high velocity systems can be zoned, but typically one air handler will serve your whole house, so you’ll be pushing high velocity air to zones that you’re not using, and unless you customize it to have zone dampers and modulate the air flow accordingly, you’ll be paying every month to condition spaces that you’re not even in. With ductless mini splits, you can just turn that cassette or wall mounted unit off. Ductless minisplits also have a VRF application where a single condenser can serve multiple indoor units. I’ve never spec’d a VRF system, but it might be worth looking into.

I prefer ductless mini splits over conventional and high velocity systems.

we just had minisplits installed on the 1st floor and in basement. on the second floor we have a conventional heat pump system with no visible duct work because it is all in the ceiling/attic. I thought I would be bothered by the appearance of the wall mounted units, but honestly i don’t even see them anymore. And the rooms still feel big because there is no duct work. the outdoor condensers are so small and quiet – one is under the front porch and one under the back deck. we haven’t used them as AC yet obviously, but they heat really well. I am very very happy that I don’t have duct work, and that i can heat/cool each floor separately. When you are planning the location of the wall units, keep in mind the minimum distance from the ceiling – i didn’t know this, and it screwed up the placement of one of the units.

Also, I grew up in an olde historic towne, and all ye olde historic homes there have minisplits. Not to mention miniplits are everywhere you go in Europe and around the world. Minisplits are certainly not incompatible with historic structures.

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