Summertime in Belmont, MA is a very pleasant time of year. Bordered by the Beaver Brook North Reservation and Menotomy Rocks Park, and dotted with ponds and lakes near the Concourse Turnpike, there’s plenty of natural beauty abound.
However, eventually, even the biggest fresh air enthusiast will want to retreat into the air conditioning. And, for one family, it was time to upgrade their hvac system with Mitsubishi Electric ductless mini-splits.
Our homeowners used window air conditioners and fans to cool their colonial home in the summer. This just about did the trick downstairs. But, upstairs was a different story. The master bedrooms and children’s rooms never got cold enough.
Meanwhile, the parents saw their electric bill skyrocket every summer. The window units used a lot of power. And, they were loud and bulky. In all, they weren’t worth the money our homeowners were spending on them.
Fortunately, there is a way to get the power of a central air system just upstairs without the expense of installing one for the whole house. And, our solution would be more efficient than both a whole-house ac and the window units.
Problem: The master bedroom and children’s rooms in a Belmont, MA colonial home were too hot in the summer. The family used fans and window air conditioners, but they were expensive to run and didn’t cool the rooms enough.
Solution: Installed a Mitsubishi ductless mini-split system with air handlers in each bedroom and an outdoor heat pump air conditioner condenser.
Cooling a colonial home
Our homeowners love the old-fashioned charm of their home. But, what’s less appealing is the challenges that come with cooling it. The home’s layout and age can make installing proper hvac solutions tricky.
First, it’s important to remember that central air conditioning wasn’t an option for homes until the 1970s. And, this home was built a few decades before that.
In many cases, an hvac tech can put in a condenser and run an ac system through the same ductwork the home uses for heating. But, that’s not the case here.
Like many older homes in the Boston suburbs, this one used radiator heat. That means the warmth comes through pipes, not ducts. And, we can’t can’t attach an ac to piping.
Next is a problem common for any home: Hot air rising. Since heat naturally moves upwards, the top floor ends up warmer than those below it. Then, there’s the problem of the attic.
When the sun beats down on the roof, it enters the home. This makes the attic — the top of the house — very hot. Our homeowners used the attic for storage, so there wasn’t a lot of ventilation up there.
As a result, that heat seeps into the second floor. There, it meets the rising hot air. These combine to make the bedrooms especially hot. That’s why our homeowners were most concerned about the second floor.
How ductless HVAC works
A ductless cooling system, or mini-split, works by distributing cool air throughout the house through very small and flexible plastic piping. On one end of the system is an outdoor heat pump. This draws warm air from the home, extracts the heat and sends it back inside.
Inside are the air handlers. These are the indoor air handlers that circulate the air. We mount these permanently on a wall, usually up near the ceiling. Each indoor unit handles a different room or zone in the house.
What’s important here is the installation. It’s quick, easy and doesn’t require a lot of work. We don’t need to design, fabricate and install ductwork. Instead, our installers just place the tubing in between rafters behind the walls.
This way, we don’t need to tear down any walls or do any major work to install the system. With ductwork, we’d wind up taking closet space and building out parts of rooms to fit the ducts. It’s a lot of work and changes the look of the house.
Meanwhile, the tubes connect to the high or low-wall indoor from behind. This way, you don’t see them at all. And, these systems are whisper-quiet. Even when they’re working at full blast, you’ll barely realize they’re there.
This setup also offers our homeowners a lot of flexibility. First, they are only paying to treat the areas of the home that need extra climate control. This way, they’re not wasting power on the whole house.
Every air handler has a thermostat on it. This means our homeowners can set each one independently from the others. If the parents prefer the master bedroom especially cool, they can set theirs at a lower temperature. Meanwhile, the kids’ rooms can stay a little warmer if they prefer.
Or, our homeowners can set them all to the same temperature. This creates even temps throughout the second floor. Now, no one room gets hotter than the others.
Benefits of ductless cooling in a colonial home
A mini-split is especially useful for older homes like colonials. We can install the system without affecting the look or layout of the home. That’s especially important when people want to preserve the old look of their house.
And, the advantages don’t stop there. This setup also costs significantly less to run than portable air conditioners. This occurs for a few reasons.
First, the heat exchange system requires much less electricity than a traditional ac. For the most part, it relies on naturally-occurring heat transfers. Rather than generate cool air, the system just needs a small amount of electricity to start the process.
By contrast, a window air conditioner loses a lot of treated air out the window where it’s mounted. That’s because they’re rarely installed permanently, and so there are plenty of cracks and openings.
Finally, the air handlers themselves circulate air through the room better. And, our installers can mount them anywhere. That gives us the opportunity to find the best spot in each room.
Do you want a better and more cost-effective and efficient option for heating and cooling your home? Contact us, and we’ll design the perfect solution for you!