Help with cooling/heating finished attic space


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Old 04-05-11, 03:45 AM
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Help with cooling/heating finished attic space

We have a 1562 sq ft finished attic space that is going to serve as an apartment for my mother to help take care our our little boy due this month.

The problem I am having is that I am completely unknowledgeable in the areas of heating and cooling.

What would be my best option to cool/heat this space? The unit downstairs is not large enough to accomodate the upstairs space.

Option one is to purchase ac units with heat pumps from Lowes. The unit we saw said it could do 1100 sq ft and had great energy ratings. We were going to put one on each side of the house for $500 a unit.

Option two would be to purchase a split unit (I believe this term is correct) which is an entire new unit to serves the upstairs with ducts, etc. We had this quoted out at apprx. $4000.

Is it smarter to just go with the window units and save in the long run with the energy efficiency?

My mother is very traditional and uses ac/heat as little as possible. She has been known to leave all the windows open through 90 degree summers because "there is a breeze".

I understand the resale value on the home would be better with a split level unit, but from an economical standpoint the two seperate units are not going to hurt as much.

Also, because I am cooling/heating knowledge lacking, can someone point me in the right direction as to what unit is a good one? I have seen the fridigedaire (spelling?) ones at Lowes but can't find very much information on the internet about them to research. Also, I believe because I'm not sure exactly what these units 'are' I may not be looking them up correctly because I haven't come across a variety of options to learn from.

Any suggestions/recommendations are so very greatly appreciated!
 

Last edited by Rychswan; 04-05-11 at 03:47 AM. Reason: I can't spell......
  #2  
Old 04-05-11, 05:29 AM
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I'm not sure where you are located but cooling an attic in the south during summer is not something to take lightly. I think it all comes down to money and my choices probably follow with the expense. A properly sized and installed permanent system would be best but as you know is the most expensive especially if the area is already finished and there is no duct work in place. Next I would go with split units. Running the lines between the indoor and outdoor units is much less disruptive but I'm not sure the outside of your house would look with several more condensers sitting in the yard or bolted to the side of your house. Lastly there are window heat pumps. First you need to have sufficient power for them which probably means a dedicated outlet & circuit for each one. I would not limit your choices to what your local Lowes carries. Do an online search. You will have a much larger selection available.
 
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Old 04-05-11, 06:06 AM
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I would go with a two zone mini split unit. Just do a Google search on "mini Split".
LG makes on that has a flat panel so a picture can be hung on it so it does not look like a motel unit.
An attic will need to have an over sized unit, over what you could use on the first floor.
I installed my own, except the final hook up for the freon unit.
We always use then when building additions of for a garage and there super effiant, and quiet. The one I have is 16 seer.
 
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Old 04-05-11, 08:32 AM
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Is this a cape cod style home? I have a cape cod style home and my mom came to stay when we had the last child.

First what the square ft? Door seperation?

If your looking to save money get two small window units. I have two 5000 btu that have energy save features, and turn them selves on and off. Fan speed adjusts automatically also. They cost $130 each and cost pennys to run.

I feel the minisplits where too large for my square ft, and felp it would be a waste of money. They are not attractive either.

You can probably tap off your existing system but the key is to get the duct up there. Cape style homes usually have closets you can use to get the ducts up there but the main thing you want is returns. And thats the hard part because you want the return and feeds seperate from each other.

Just my experience. Your home may differ.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 04-06-11, 05:47 AM
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In no way could u tap into the existing system. This is very bad advice.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 05:58 AM
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In no way could u tap into the existing system. This is very bad advice.
For 250 more square ft you cant add ducts? Thats all these upstairs in the capes are with the knee walls. (if he even has a cape) My two rooms are 10x10. Plus the bath. If I had a system I would tap in.

But in anycase why would it be a bad idea?

Mike NJ
 
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Old 04-06-11, 08:40 AM
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The original posters first post answers many of your questions included the square footage he's trying to heat and he's already pointed out that his existing HVAC is too small to consider tying in to handle the attic space.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 10:14 AM
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Oh wow. 1500 plus sq ft. I read quick and assumed it was the whole house. Thats bigger then my whole house up and down.

With a space that big I would add a airhandler up there. Box out a utility room.

Mike NJ
 
 

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