Ductless HVAC/Zone Systems

8 Replies

Hey guys!

For those of you that are flipping and/or fixing up and holding..  We are renovating a house to rent out. The HVAC estimate we received was more than we were expecting because there is no crawl space/cellar and there is not a lot of room between the houses to put the unit. We started looking into other alternatives, but don't want to put in window units.. We came across these zone systems that boast being able to heat and cool a large area, have no duct work, are energy efficient, and are less than $2000. Have any of you seen or tried these new systems? Opinions, reviews, and any information would be greatly appreciated!!!

Thank you!!

Liz

@Liz Rogers As an HVAC Guy and investor, they are easy to install. They seem to have a more limited life span and parts cost makes me say no to a rental, but in a Flip I do do one. They also make one where u can have one outside unit and multiple heads inside for cooling different areas. If doing this in KY I hope u have another form of backup heat, or at least install a blanket heater on the compressor. 

@Liz Rogers  I assume you are referring to a Mitsubishi ductless split or something like that. I think that they cost a little more then 2k plus the install (assuming you want heating and cooling). I think they are really for older homes where you can't get duct work where needed or for smaller spaces like a room above a garage, but would probably work for a whole home if set up right like @Jeremy Tillotson   said. I would have a professional do the install. If you fall into those categories it might be the right product for your situation. I thought about doing one for a loft room that has no heating or cooling a couple of years ago but didn't do it.

Sounds like you are talking about mini-splits. They are good but a little pricey up front. Definitely a solid solution if you want to avoid running ductwork.

Thank you @Jeremy Tillotson and @Jim Wilcox!

It is a single family home, completely open floor plan. The downstairs is a living area, kitchen, and half bath/washer/dryer. The upstairs is one big bedroom/loft with a master bathroom. 

Jeremy, no we do not have a backup for heating. Does it not hold up in colder temperatures??

Jim, yes that is the issue. It is an older home, no room for duct work and so the HVAC guys are having to get creative with where everything will go, that is why it is more expensive. My husband and I thought this system would work in this particular house if we had one downstairs and one upstairs because it is more open. I appreciate the feedback!!

Liz

I have been looking into this type of system (Mitsubishi Hyper-Heat) for the ground level unit in a duplex (built in 1901) I just bought.  The ceiling is maybe 7.5 feet high with no basement.  Currently there is a furnace in the middle of the floor plan with no real way to run duct work, and takes up a fair amount of room.

What people are talking about is if the air temp reached -20 or colder, the units can no longer produce heat.  And the lower the outdoor temp, the less efficient they work.  With the duplex in Chicago, there are going to be a couple night every winter that get to -20, so we would need to run baseboard or some other heating source. m Would be nice to get rid of the furnace, just doesn't seem feasible.

I first saw this type of heating/cooling unit in Australia. Very common there. Great alternative. They are gaining popularity in the United States. As they do, I think we will see the price come down. A few years ago only a few companies were selling units here, now the market is opening up even more. Consult with a few different HVAC companies in your area to find the best value.

Pretty much the rest of the world uses these things except the U.S. They are not new or new technology they are just new to the States. That said I think they do a better job cooling than heating. As an AC add on they are a great solution and as they are "zoned" they can cool only the rooms that need to be cooled effectively and without the cost of cooling a whole house. For severe winters I do think a back up heat source might be needed. But my advice would be talk to a good HVAC guy who specializes in these.

I have installed 2 Fujitsu Split units in rentals.  As @Ronan M indicated they are common for years in other parts of world (I see many in Europe where the heating is often primary radiators (no ducting) with Splits providing supplemental heat and AC.  I therefore believe the technology to be established and the units to reliable.  

The two I had installed were 4 or 5 years ago and they work great and were reasonable cost.  One was for a 4/2 (1500') and the other for a 3/1 800' (it is really 2/1 with bonus room that tenants use as a bedroom).  Both of the tenants love them.

However, I recently got a quote for 2 different rental units from the same vendor as did the other install and the price was significantly higher than previously (over twice as much money).  I question if my HVAC person simply has more work now and can charge a premium.  The 2 new units are to be put in 2/1 of almost 700'.  The quote was over $6K each (my 4/2 unit was less than $3k 4 or 5 years ago).

In summary I think they are a good solution especially where ducting would be difficult.  However, I am not going to pay $6K to get it installed per my most recent quote.  I may seek other quotes or look into the feasibility that my handy man could do the install (he is only an OK handyman, I used to have a great handyman (that I would trust for this installation) but his Mom had a stroke so he does very little work for me recently).

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