Best A/C Option for smaller units?

6 Replies

Hi All!

Working on a rehab project in Downtown Nashville and having a bit of trouble coming up with an HVAC solution.  Previous owner had wall units for heat and window units for AC.  We pulled those out (all the previous tenants were indoor cigarette smokers so all drywall had to be removed from the entire property).   Now we are trying to determine the best move in terms of A/C and heat.  

The units are small, two bedroom 1 bathroom with an open concept living room and kitchen.  Each unit is roughly 800 sq feet (there are three total units).  At this point I have three options:

1.  Pay roughly $6,000 per unit ($18,000) total to have ductwork and brand new 1.5 AC units installed outside)

2.  Pay roughly the same and have 3 ductless split systems installed in the house with one main unit and 2 cartridges (1 for each bedroom)

3.  Install new wall heater/AC units.

The overall goal of the units is to run them as airbnb rentals so looking for something that will make sense in the long term but not be horrible for guests to figure out.  The biggest challenge is space, not really sure where to put a furnace inside the property and there's a good chance it will have to be placed outside.  Hopefully someone here can provide a suggestion or solution.  Maybe a contact in Nashville to help?

@Shray Goel I don’t know the code in your area but where I’m at in NC I use PTAC units. They are the “stand alone” units you see in hotels. They are cheap, reliable, and provide both heat and air. I use them in any of my units that are 900 sq’ and under. It works exceptionally well in an open floor plan. I pay $1600 each and that includes installation. I would call a HVAC company and price a PTAC unit. My local code enforcement officer recommended them to me as a cheaper alternative. If you’re looking to save and do a good job at the same time, go with them.

@Will Bumgarner Thanks for the note!  If a PTAC is installed in the living room, will it still provide air to the bedrooms when the doors are closed or will I have to purchase a separate PTAC for the bedrooms and living room. 

@Luke Pierce Already grandfathered in for the permit.  Our GC is doing great, if you have an HVAC specific guy that would be incredibly helpful.  Feel free to send me a message with your phone number so we can jump on a quick call!

@Shray Goel I am an HVAC service tech so I get the joy of working on the units. I would say if it is the same cost for central air and the ductless minisplit I would absolutely go for the central air. Mini splits can be kind of a headache. They need to be cleaned out really well and if they aren't they tend to leak. Obviously you could go with ptac units too but remember they take up a lot of wall space so if they are small apartments and you want to put them in each room that is a large chunk of space taken up.