Install Ductless Mini Split AC?

19 Replies

I'm considering having ductless mini split AC installed in my 4br2ba SFR (house hacking primary residence). I live in SoCal and although it doesn't get extremely hot at the house, there are definitely a lot of times I wish the house had AC. The cross breeze doesn't do well with cooling the house down. What are the downsides? How much do value does an air conditioning system add to the home's worth?

@Kevin Phu I'm in San Diego and I am getting a 4-unit mini split system in my SFR.

If you have any specific questions about it, shoot me a message.

As far as value, it often becomes a deal breaker for many buyers. This reduces the buyer pool--so in the past few years, may not have been as big of a concern, but with the slowing of the market and buyers having more properties to choose from, it could have a bigger impact now in terms of your home sitting on the market longer and/or selling for less.

Frank

Mini splits have been popular in Europe for many years.

We have a few rental units with mini split units.  They have a filter than needs to be cleaned on occasion and if not cleaned can result in a higher expense to clean the interior AC unit.  Other than that, they have been working great and are ideal where there is either no possibility of ducting (vaulted Ceilings for example) or to save installing ducting.

If you have good ducting then I would recommend a traditional AC unit.

Good luck

We replaced our entire HVAC system about 18 months ago. When we did it we removed the duct work from our "granny flat" and replaced it with a mini split unit. My goal is one day to make this a rental unit so it has to have it's own system. The mini split seems to work very well for that the "granny flat."

I would question the overall cost to put mini splits throughout an entire home; I don't think it would be cost effective when compared to a traditional HVAC system.

we just did our first ones of these on some new builds.. they are energy efficient as heck we got a 100 % score from the outside energy audit company.. they are a little bulky on the walls.. and they are not as cheap as standard duct work systems but .. it does allow taller ceilings within the same vertical envelope so that was cool.. and little quirky to use. 

but once that's done seems to be OK.. in a rental setting though I would be a little worried each unit has separate controller so if you have 4 ducts your going to have 4 controllers I can see tenants losing them  destroying them etc.. so check that out.  for owner occ no issue.. and the energy score I think helped sell this unit.. 1700 sq ft we got just under 600k for it. 

@Trevor Jaye sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. Not having AC in general could be an issue--some buyers simply don't want to hassle with getting a system installed, and may pass on homes that otherwise make sense even if discounted enough to compensate for an install. We've been able to help some buyers look past this and have AC installed by seller during escrow, which helped them take advantage of buying a home without, but having AC from day 1. 

There is some personal preference for/against mini splits versus ducted, but in the San Diego market, I find that military and others who have spent significant time overseas using these mini splits tend to love them. I find that our mini-split system is significantly quieter than most ducted systems in the homes of friends. You can barely hear our outside unit when standing a few feet away from it, as opposed to being able to hear the outdoor units several homes down, especially when they cycle on. Same indoors--not only are they very quiet, I love being able to cool my bedroom down while leaving the rest of the home as is. Our home has an open layout, so we only use 1 mini split with enough capacity for the entire common area, and then smaller mini splits for the individual bedrooms.

Originally posted by @Trevor Jaye:

@Frank Karako Could you explain a bit more why it becomes a deal-breaker for most buyers? Is it simply the aesthetic they tend to dislike?

Thanks!

@Jay Hinrichs I've seen several more recessed units as @Kevin Sobilo mentioned, including one that we are looking at for an AirBNB rental we have that is recessed behind a wall. The ceiling mounted ones can be a bit more tricky as they may require a water pump to move condensation up and away. 


In the case of our rental, the "behind a wall model" will work well as we can mount it in the top of a bedroom closet that is up against both an exterior wall and the common living room area. As for rental units and remotes, we are going with a wall control unit for this one for that reason.

The energy efficiency aspect will be a big factor for a rental like AirBNB when tenants aren't paying the energy bills and may use a bit more freely!

Originally posted by @Kevin Sobilo :

@Jay Hinrichs, they do have air handlers that recess into the ceiling instead of hang on a wall. I have not used them myself because the couple times I have had ductless systems installed were on retrofit applications.

https://www.highseer.com/colle...

Understood.. I think they have their place no doubt.. 

 

We are installing a 3 zone one in Feb/Mar in an attic re-frame. First time I am doing it but I’m hopeful.

I installed the Mitsubishi units in my house 2 years ago and haven’t had any problems.

I have a air handler in my attic which does my second floor , wall units on the first floor and wall units in my finished rooms in my basement, 5 total zones . Each unit goes back to a branch box ( manifold ) that goes out to the condensers. I live in MA so I got the hyper heat units that supply heat as well. This is my only heat source , and will most likely be looking into solar considering everything else in my house is electric as well.

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

we just did our first ones of these on some new builds.. they are energy efficient as heck we got a 100 % score from the outside energy audit company.. they are a little bulky on the walls.. and they are not as cheap as standard duct work systems but .. it does allow taller ceilings within the same vertical envelope so that was cool.. and little quirky to use. 

but once that's done seems to be OK.. in a rental setting though I would be a little worried each unit has separate controller so if you have 4 ducts your going to have 4 controllers I can see tenants losing them  destroying them etc.. so check that out.  for owner occ no issue.. and the energy score I think helped sell this unit.. 1700 sq ft we got just under 600k for it. 

 I put these in my rentals and I only give them ONE remote and it has a holder mounted on the wall.  The same remote works all the units.  So they share the one, that way they do not lose it, and I keep the rest, so I have back ups.  If they were A rentals, I might give them more than one, but I do not trust them to not let the kids tear them apart.

Originally posted by @Lynnette E. :
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:

we just did our first ones of these on some new builds.. they are energy efficient as heck we got a 100 % score from the outside energy audit company.. they are a little bulky on the walls.. and they are not as cheap as standard duct work systems but .. it does allow taller ceilings within the same vertical envelope so that was cool.. and little quirky to use. 

but once that's done seems to be OK.. in a rental setting though I would be a little worried each unit has separate controller so if you have 4 ducts your going to have 4 controllers I can see tenants losing them  destroying them etc.. so check that out.  for owner occ no issue.. and the energy score I think helped sell this unit.. 1700 sq ft we got just under 600k for it. 

 I put these in my rentals and I only give them ONE remote and it has a holder mounted on the wall.  The same remote works all the units.  So they share the one, that way they do not lose it, and I keep the rest, so I have back ups.  If they were A rentals, I might give them more than one, but I do not trust them to not let the kids tear them apart.

that makes sense I did not take the time to check to see if one remote handled all the units.. we built 3 homes on one lot and all three have the mini splits.. my son put the controllers on the wall like a light switch in each room..  with their energy score if used correctly I can see these being a bonus to a tenant.. 

 

I have minisplits in a rental in Alabama. It has 2 Gree 12000 btu minisplits. It is a 2 bed 1 bath 700 square foot home Block construction 1940's house. It has No insulation. I ran the A/C during July for over 8 hours a day with my HVAC specialist checking amps and working condition, and the power bill came out to be 92 dollars. Normal household power was used as well on all appliances Just to give everyone an example of how efficient they can be.