Relocating Central Ductwork (possible?)

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Old 07-02-13, 03:00 PM
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Relocating Central Ductwork (possible?)

Hi all,

I own an early 90's construction Colonial in Maryland. Its central HVAC system is located in the basement with a main column that extends up well into the second floor. There's ductwork (feed and return) that runs perpendicular to the floor joists in the basement (feeding the first floor) and similar ductwork running perpendicular to the second floor joists that then branches off and feeds the second level. It's THIS ductwork that I just can't stand, hanging from my first floor ceiling.

I'm looking into the possibility of removing a load bearing wall (that runs parallel - right along side this duct work) between my living room and another 'sitting' room that's rarely used. In addition, I would love a way to re-route / re-purpose that ductwork - somehow - so I can still feed the rooms just above with the proper heating and cooling.

I've considered the idea of installing a second unit in the attic, turning my home into a dual zoned setup. But it's not an expense I want to take on right now. I've also considered those 'mini-split' systems where I could install a head in each of the rooms this ductwork currently feeds. But again, cost....

Does anybody have any ideas? Or am I stuck with this design until I'm ready to really shell out some cash?

I'm a pretty handy DIY'er - so I'm not afraid to take on significant projects.

Thanks!

-C
 
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Old 07-02-13, 04:21 PM
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Here's some tray ceiling pictures.
tray ceiling pictures - Bing Images
 
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Old 07-03-13, 12:48 PM
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You dont want a zoned system. Get two systems. They will work out much better for you.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 12:52 PM
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I agree with Airman, residential zoning often causes more problems than it cures.
 
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Old 07-11-13, 01:20 PM
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Thanks for the responses. Question though, wouldn't getting a second system be considered the same as adding a second 'zone'? I guess I don't have the terminology down.

Thanks!
 
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Old 07-12-13, 01:27 PM
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Okay, scratch that question about zoning. Now I have an understanding of what traditional residential zoning systems are intended to do. I can definitely see how a design like this can lead to other issues (particularly maintenance).

Ideally (because the existing system does a good job at heating/cooling the entire living space), I would just like an alternative means of getting that air from the basement to the top floor without using all that ductwork space on my second floor. But, I guess there's just no other alternative (if I want to stick with just one system) given the design of the home.

How about these mini-split systems? I guess technically that might be considered zoning, but being they're all independent units (assuming I'd have an indoor unit per room on that top floor), I don't see how they would complicate things. A friend of mine in the HVAC industry says he's seeing more demand for these types of systems in homes - not just business and schools.

Side note, I just returned from vacationing with the family in Thailand - these mini splits are EVERYWHERE.

What is your professional opinion of these systems? Wondering what potential homebuyers might think of them, or what they do to the value of a home.
 
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Old 07-12-13, 05:06 PM
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Mini splits are an excellent idea IF you can get past their cost and the ugliness of the inside unit. Be careful, though. The mini splits from the big names are quality units but there are also many copycats. The copycats will try to convince you they are quality because they use Mitsubishi or Sanyo compressors.
 
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