new to central are or ductless and need help...


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Old 03-30-08, 01:56 PM
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new to central are or ductless and need help...

I have been reading through some older posts but I wanted to ask a new questions...
We have a raised ranch style home in CT (2 floors - one above ground and the basement half exposed) its about 1400sf on the main floor and the living portion of the basement is 250-350sf. We have oil fired radiant heat at the moment.

Since we bought our 25 year old home 10 years ago we have been installing window mounted ac units. Besides the look and hassle of installing them each year; we are tired of using them. From having to "bug" proof the windows to some strange smells which effect my severe allergies and wear and tear on the window sills and frames from being installed. We wanted to look at a more permeant cooling solution.

It appears from talking to a couple heating and cooling people (via the yellow pages) that they all want to install a traditional central ac system. I was calling actually for a mini-split system.

Mini-Splt aka ductless:
The reasons for this was we liked the fact that we could control the temp in each room like we do with our window units. Simple install at least from my point of view not that I know what I'm doing LOL.

Central system:
This does make sense - since it would cool the whole house! But we don't have a useable attic and not really sure how they would be able to do any work in it. Which leads to our two biggest issues! If you have an air handler in the attic we are really concerned about water leaks from it. Besides the damage by the leak; it would be a breading ground of mold no? And then the ducts - we have none now and not sure how they could get ducts into our main living room (vaulted - no attic above that half of the house) not to mention our finished basement.

How worried should we be about the water issue with the air handler? My wife and I are both heavily allergic to seasonal alleges and mold is what of them. I figured the ductless units we could just "dust" the opening or air vents and all cleaned. where-as the ducts would also hold dust and pollen - no?

Next up as an issue is overall cost we need to keep this in an inexpensive mindset :-)

We use four windows units now - 2-6,000 BTU units master bed and den, 1-5,000 BTU basement and 1-10,000BTU in our main/open living-room and kitchen area. During the summer we leave them on almost 24/7. They are newer and have digital readouts and are set at a mild temp. Technically they don't run all the time but for the most part they are on in either AC mode or just fan. And they do an OK job - yes it could be cooler; nope we don't have each bedroom cooled as its just the two of us. But the doors to each room is left open. Do you think going to a split unit or central unit would do a better job and maybe use "less" electricity?

I'm looking forward to your feedback and suggestions

thank you in advance,
John
 
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Old 03-30-08, 05:01 PM
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Hello John,

I would go Mini split. Have the unit in your living at the end of the room so you can direct the air flow down the hallway for bedrooms at night. Since it's just the two of you, that would work out great.

My aunt and uncle were in the same shoes as you are, and the went with the Mini split, and my uncle said that was the ebst thing he ever did.. No hole being cut in the ceilings/walls, attic is not distrubed with, and no heat lost from the ductwork in the water time.

The mini system runs very quiet.

Is the lower level used as a family room?
 
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Old 03-30-08, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay11J View Post
Hello John,

I would go Mini split. Have the unit in your living at the end of the room so you can direct the air flow down the hallway for bedrooms at night. Since it's just the two of you, that would work out great.

My aunt and uncle were in the same shoes as you are, and the went with the Mini split, and my uncle said that was the ebst thing he ever did.. No hole being cut in the ceilings/walls, attic is not distrubed with, and no heat lost from the ductwork in the water time.

The mini system runs very quiet.

Is the lower level used as a family room?

So you have seen my house.... LOL I guess all raised ranches are teh same huh :-) Which is actually I like ours (I grew up in a RR)

Yeah the main living room is all at one end and is very open to kitchen and dinning area. Then our bedroom in the largest of the three bedrooms (the other two are used but not for sleeping). The basement is finished and we use it for a media room which is used alot. But doesn't need much cooling - I was looking a Sanyo that has three units two 9k and one 18k. I thought the two smaller units would be great for the bedroom and media room; then the big unit for the main section.

You really helped me get back on track to the mini-split aka ductless idea. Never thought of heat loss through the vents in the winter time!

If you don't mind how much was the install and complete cost? And what brand?

thanks in advance,
john
 
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Old 03-30-08, 07:15 PM
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Ductless will be at least twice as much as a split system.
 
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Old 03-30-08, 07:47 PM
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True, it may be more, but I think the money wil be saved from not having a lot of labor hours, ductwork being put into the home.

As I said earlier, I am not sure where you are out of, but You may get by with one unit in the living room, that why I'd suggested on the wall end of the living room so it can "shoot' down the hall way into the bedroom.. That's what my aunt and uncle did, and they said at night the aim the air down the hall way for the bedrooms and they are comfy.
 
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Old 03-30-08, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by airman.1994 View Post
Ductless will be at least twice as much as a split system.
I am sorry for ignorance - but why is it so much more? The price of the hardware seems less (at least from on line stores, but I'll buy locally) and the actual installation seems easier too. at least from my point of view?

I have about a $7500 budget for the whole project, which I guess is not going to cut it?

again thanks for everyones viewpoint and help!
 
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Old 03-30-08, 08:28 PM
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Jay - sorry I thought it showed my location. (fixed)... I'm in the northen part of Connecticut. Its not Florida or Texas -- but last few years it has been getting hotter longer and more humid then normal. Or maybe I'm just getting older - LOL

I'd like to just install two units - one in the basement and one much larger in the main area. But i'm concerned it will have to work too hard to cool the bedroom side of the house? and the living area would be too cold?

again thanks and this forum is a great area for info!

John
 
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Old 03-31-08, 06:05 AM
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Ductless equipment is so expensive.
 
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Old 03-31-08, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by johnner1999 View Post
Jbut last few years it has been getting hotter longer and more humid then normal. Or maybe I'm just getting older - LOL
I thought when you get older, you don't feel the heat!?? hehe

I'd like to just install two units - one in the basement and one much larger in the main area. But i'm concerned it will have to work too hard to cool the bedroom side of the house? and the living area would be too cold?
I think the two set up will be good.

If you got a good air movement, I don't think it will be cold in the living area.

Get a few bids for both system, and you can see if it's more or equal as a ducted sytem.
 
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Old 03-31-08, 02:20 PM
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Wink

Central system:
This does make sense - since it would cool the whole house! But we don't have a useable attic and not really sure how they would be able to do any work in it. Which leads to our two biggest issues! If you have an air handler in the attic we are really concerned about water leaks from it. Besides the damage by the leak;
If the job is put in right and to code . Id dont see how you can say you will have water leaks up there. How do you get the heat upstairs now??? If ducts are there, then the AC will get up there. Id say it has to cost less to slip a AC coil on the furnace you have there now. Than to go with a ductless set up.
 
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Old 03-31-08, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed Imeduc View Post
If the job is put in right and to code . Id dont see how you can say you will have water leaks up there. How do you get the heat upstairs now??? If ducts are there, then the AC will get up there. Id say it has to cost less to slip a AC coil on the furnace you have there now. Than to go with a ductless set up.
Ed, they have hot water heat. Kinda hard to slip a coil on top of the boiler!

Originally Posted by johnner1999 View Post
We have oil fired radiant heat at the moment.
 
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Old 04-01-08, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay11J View Post
Ed, they have hot water heat. Kinda hard to slip a coil on top of the boiler!
correct - i'd love it if we had forced air heat... but over here in CT they seem to install baseboard heat (hot water)
 
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Old 04-01-08, 07:32 PM
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I've almost made up my mind on one installer - offered a fair price (not the lowest) on a 3 unit mini-split system. He uses Fujitsu units and the model he picked also has a heat option. Which might be a good feature to help offset the high oil prices during the fall and spring when its a tad cool. This helps me justify the cost of the whole system

How well are the fujitsu models - any known issues? I assume this is a middle-upper tier brand?
 
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Old 04-01-08, 07:56 PM
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I have never heard of the brand, but If the price is what you are wanting to spend, then go for it.

Is the heat pump or electric heat option? If it's heat pump, then yeah go for it.

Where are the 3 going? I am guessing basement, livingroom and master bed room?
 
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Old 04-01-08, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay11J View Post
I have never heard of the brand, but If the price is what you are wanting to spend, then go for it.

Is the heat pump or electric heat option? If it's heat pump, then yeah go for it.

Where are the 3 going? I am guessing basement, livingroom and master bed room?
Yup - 2 - 12k unit in the living room and master bed a single 9k units in basement. The hvac person is coming over again to see if we need a 12k or the next size up; he said he typically tries to "undersize" when used in with more then a single unit as it can do worse?

Here is a link to the unit:
http://www.fujitsugeneral.com/PDF_06...%20Systems.pdf

it would be all wall mounted units

I think its a heatpump at least I'd hope so...

thanks again!!!


John
 
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Old 04-01-08, 08:28 PM
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I just got done looking at the web site a few min before I saw your post.

I would do 9k in the bed room.. 12 would be too much if the door is closed... Unless you got umm.. Activies going on in there!
 
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Old 04-18-08, 09:16 PM
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Just wanted to post what I finally did - I know its a pain when you help someone and they never follow-up...

This week I had a ductless system installed - Fujistsu which also has built-in heat pump operation. They put a single 12K BTU unit in the main portion of my raised ranch (kind of an open floor living, dinning, and kitchen) it has a clean line of sight down the hallway. 9K BTU unit in the master bedroom which is on the other end of the house (we typically shut the door at night as one of our cats keeps hitting us in the head) which I hope between the two units it cools the house more or less (the other rooms are used as spare rooms any way). And an other 9K BTU unit in our finished media room located in the basement.

Being in CT I was starting to think I was selfish or wasteful in spending the money on a cooling system. But I really enjoy a nice cool house and the window units were becoming a pain to swap out each year. Plus since the units can also add heat during the start of fall and end of spring instead of firing up the oil burner as much - might cost less with the price of oil these days. And from what I have read heat pumps are "cheap" to run.


Its still not hot nor humid yet - today was almost 78 and well since I just spent all that money I figured I's try it out... WOW very nice almost no noise (less then a small/medium fan would make) and it blow air in a much further area to boot!

Again thank you all and if I can help any one who is thinking about this set up just ask
 
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Old 04-19-08, 05:09 AM
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Good Morning,

Thank you very much for the update, I am glad to hear the results of the job. Sounds like you got a good set up, and will be happy with it in the long run.

Poor kitty can't sleep with it's owner. ;-) Mine sleeps with us and she don't bother anyone, always on the foot of the bed.

Does your model have the "Sweep" blades to sweep the air around back and forth in the room? If you do that's a great feture. Yes, they are pretty quiet compair to the window units. Post some photo if you can to share.

I suppose it hasn't been cold enough to run the heat pump mode yet? There are days I wish I had the heat pump... like now.. Not warm enough yet to shut down the heat.

Again, thanks for the update, and post back later on after a a hot muggy spell!
 
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Old 04-19-08, 12:31 PM
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Wink

Some of the supply companys here have had that Fujitsu split system for a while . They seem to run and work OK. You can get them in a dual zone and Tri-zone set up set up and also in 3 different indoor units.
 
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Old 05-31-08, 02:19 PM
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mini split systems

This was very helpful reading your thought process to the actual use. We live in humid Virginia and our home is an older 30 year old tri-level. We, too, have used window ac units and have looked at CA installation but the expense is enormous and the contractors all wanted to take up some precious closet space. We've been looking at the mini systems especially the ones with ac and heat pump since our current heat is hot water baseboard fueled by oil.
 
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Old 05-31-08, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by rsmfirefly View Post
This was very helpful reading your thought process to the actual use. We live in humid Virginia and our home is an older 30 year old tri-level. We, too, have used window ac units and have looked at CA installation but the expense is enormous and the contractors all wanted to take up some precious closet space. We've been looking at the mini systems especially the ones with ac and heat pump since our current heat is hot water baseboard fueled by oil.
Yeah the heat pump side of the system actually sold me on it. The person I used was about $900 higher then the least expensive place and oddly enough was about $2000 less then one person who was installing just AC (it was a Mits unit which I guess is "better" but some have said that Mits actually buys from Fujistsu so who knows)

So far we have used the heating side alot I'm north more then you and on some of the colder nights 38-42 range we have used this instead of firing up our oil burner. Our power bill so far has been about $20-40 more which too me is a lot cheaper then oil :-) Plus we have three indoor units so we can turn them to what ever temp fits while we are in the room.

The last week or so we have used the AC side a little bit - our house has no attic on half the house due to the vaulted ceilings. And has hit about 88 inside a couple days - took about 40-60 minutes to cool down to around 78. Which might be longer then central air; BUT a whole lot less then the window units. Not to mention hauling them out and breaking your back LOL

Its kind of funny how my oil company didn't even want to quote a mini split system. said we would regret having the air units on the walls and not having it ice cold in all of the rooms. Where as I really didn't want to have duct work installed for allergy issues and space issues. Glad a local installer said he was thinking more and more people were going this route to save money (long term money in cooling and heating only rooms you wanted)

As I stated before my home is a raised ranch nothing fancy
http://gallery.mac.com/jwseitz#100035
the link is a some finished photos
let me know what you think - many people here helped me a lot on making my mind up and I thank you all

I'd say go mini split - would do it again no questions ask.

<sorry for such a long post>
 
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Old 06-01-08, 08:47 PM
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cost?

Sorry- is it rude to ask the cost of the work done including the units?

I was talking to my wife about this today actually and we thought we would look into it.

Also, how far can these units be placed away from the fan outside?
Anyone know?

Thanks

D
 
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Old 06-01-08, 08:53 PM
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Distance

It varies with pipeing size and amount of elbo's used, but generally speaking 75 foot is acceptable without losing much effiency.
 
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Old 06-02-08, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by dharam View Post
Sorry- is it rude to ask the cost of the work done including the units?

I was talking to my wife about this today actually and we thought we would look into it.

Also, how far can these units be placed away from the fan outside?
Anyone know?

Thanks

D

My install was $8,000.00 complete including electrical work; three inside units 2 @ 9k and 1 @ 14k.

as far as the length on mine the max for all lines combined is 230 feet each one can be a max of 82 feet.
 
 

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