You may have heard of ductless HVAC systems, or you may just have a heating and cooling problem that you’re wondering how to solve. Either way, see if any of these scenarios fit you. If they do, ductless may very well be the way to go, even if you don’t know it yet!
Here are 7 situations where mini-split systems can keep you more comfortable and solve some of your heating and cooling woes.
Your Master Bedroom (Or Home Office Or Baby’s Nursery Or [Insert Room Here]) Is Over The Garage
Rooms over garages are notoriously difficult to heat and cool. There are two things working against them. First, most of the walls are exposed to the outside. Unlike the guest room that’s nestled snugly against adjoining rooms, a room over the garage tends to have at least three walls (and sometimes four, if it’s a bonus room with those peaked ceilings) exposed.
Second, you don’t have the luxury of a heated room beneath. Builders tend not to insulate floors above garages, which can leave them even more susceptible to temperature changes.
Instead of struggling with space heaters, window air conditioners, area rugs, or whatever other tricks you’ve probably read about, consider installing a ductless heating and cooling unit.
These units can be installed completely independently of your primary HVAC system. All you need is about 30 inches of wall space near the ceiling and a space for a small compressor to sit outside.
You won’t need any additional ductwork, either. The reason is right in the name – these systems are ductless. A small hole behind the unit is enough to drop the copper tubing and electrical wires needed to make the system run.
And you control it with a thermostat the same as you would your regular system.
If you’re tired of being uncomfortable in a particular room in your home, or want to make a problematic room livable all year long, ductless can be a simple, effective way to add cooling and heating to difficult spaces.
You Have A Sunroom Or Screened-In Porch
How awesome is that porch… for about six days a year? When it’s not sweltering or freezing, it’s nice to sit out there away from the bugs and still get some fresh air and a glimpse of nature.
The problem with these rooms is that they either aren’t attached to the primary HVAC system, or they’re too exposed or too poorly insulated to be usable much of the time.
Don’t give up on enjoying the sunroom all year! Mini-split systems were made for these scenarios. They’re compact enough to be mounted in small spaces and don’t require you to rethink your entire HVAC system.
Plus, you can control them independently which means you can turn them on and off as needed and you won’t be throwing money out the window trying to heat or cool the space along with the rest of your house.
Since they don’t tap into ducts, you might even be allowed to enjoy a good cigar out on the porch without sharing the smoke with the rest of the family!
Your Job (Or Hobby) Keeps You In The Garage Or Shed
Most garages and sheds aren’t designed for everyday living. And even if you did build a nicely insulated one just for your own use, it’s almost certain not to be attached to your primary HVAC system.
Space heaters are usually the first line of defense in winter, and sweating tends to be the most common option for summer, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Ductless mini-splits work here for all the same reasons they work in difficult rooms and sunrooms. They’re easy to install, don’t require much space, and work in places where it can be impractical, prohibitively expensive or even impossible to extend ductwork.
They’re far more energy efficient than portable heaters and air conditioners, and a lot safer, too. You won’t have to worry about trailing cords, accidental fires, or tripping over the unit when you’re engrossed in a task.
You’re Putting An Addition On The House
If you’re tackling a bigger project like adding a room onto your house (especially one over the garage!) you may be tempted to add new ductwork off your main HVAC system.
The problem is not only can that be more invasive and labor-intensive (not just the installation but the cleanup, repairs and repainting later), but it can be defeatist, too.
A good HVAC system is sized for the space it is intended to heat and cool. That means if your system was designed to work for your 2,000 square foot house, it may not have the oomph to manage that extra couple hundred square feet you’re adding.
If your primary system ends up being too small for the space, it’s going to be harder to heat and cool your entire home. Your energy bills are going to skyrocket, your system is going to wear down a lot faster and you may not be as comfortable as you used to be when everything was working efficiently.
You could replace the entire HVAC system to accommodate for the new room, or you could go ductless. Depending on the scope of your project, you can add as many as five wall units onto a single compressor. As an added bonus, you can also control these units via remote control, and even from your smartphone.
You’re Renovating An Old Or Historic Home
We’re not talking about renovating your average fixer-upper. We mean an old home, the kind with crown molding you won’t find at any big box retailer, and maybe a walk-in fireplace.
It’s gorgeous, and you moved in for a reason – which was probably not to gut it and start over. The problem is that these types of old homes don’t typically come with central heating and cooling. Nor is there enough room in the walls to drop ductwork.
Historic homes pose similar challenges. And if you want to maintain the historic integrity of the home, you aren’t going to want to rip up walls, floors and ceilings.
Both of these are ideal scenarios for ductless HVAC systems. They require only the narrowest of spaces for the tubing and wiring that makes them work, installation is non-invasive, one compressor can control multiple rooms, and they’re just as effective as a central system.
You’re Downsizing – But Not Moving
Maybe you’re an empty nester but you’re not planning to leave the family home anytime soon. Or for whatever reason, more of your home is going unused these days, and you find yourself closing vents in empty rooms so they aren’t being heated and cooled unnecessarily (and taking your money with them).
The problem is that closing vents like that will actually achieve the opposite effect, not to mention wreck havoc with your system.
Closing vents increases the pressure in your ducts. As a result, one of two things will happen depending on your system: either it will slow down to compensate for the extra pressure, making it harder to heat and cool (and costing you more money) or it will ramp up to keep distributing air properly (costing you more money!)
If the evaporator coil isn’t getting enough airflow, it can freeze. If the heat exchanger isn’t getting enough airflow, it can crack. All that extra pressure can cause leaks in ducts as air is forced to find a way out. All of that can lead to costly repairs or permanent damage.
As an alternative, consider installing a ductless unit in your primary living area, like the bedroom or living room. You can keep the regular system at minimum operation and only heat and cool the areas you use most.
You Wish Your House Had Multiple Zones
Does your family constantly fight over the temperature because one person needs arctic temperatures before getting a good night’s sleep while everyone else is wearing mittens to bed? Or do you find yourself adjusting the thermostat depending on which floor you’re using because one is never as comfortable as the other?
In single-zone homes it can be difficult to accommodate everyone’s preferences. That can lead to arguments, unhappiness, and inevitably someone resorting to some kind of portable heating or cooling unit. And turning the thermostat up and down is not only aggravating but can wear on your system and mess with your energy bills.
In a scenario where it’s impractical, impossible, or too expensive to install an extra zone (or two or three!), ductless HVAC can be the solution.
Since it heats and cools, it works all year long, unlike those portable units that are designed for a single purpose. It can be programmed, just like your regular thermostat. And maintenance is just as simple as it is with your regular system. Clean the filters regularly, and have a professional check it twice a year to be sure everything is at its best.
If one of these scenarios fits you and you’d like to know more about ductless mini-split systems, get in touch and let us know. We’ll visit your home for an evaluation, make recommendations and provide you with a free estimate to install exactly what you need.