Two-family Somerville MA gets ductless HVAC installation

Heating and cooling can be a challenge in a multi-family home. These houses are commonly converted from single-family homes. As a result, they usually only have one thermostat.

Once you have more than one unit, however, that’s not ideal. One tenant controls the heat for the whole house. On top of that, a converted house doesn’t usually have great air flow. This leads to uneven heating and cooling.

That’s why a Somerville, MA homeowner was ready to switch to a zoned HVAC system. When she called NETR, her two-family home had steam heat. There was just one thermostat for the entire house. In the summer, she used window air conditioners.

However, both these methods are inefficient. They end up costing more money in monthly energy bills than other systems. When you’re charging rent for part of your home, that’s a big deal. 

In this case, the homeowner’s energy bills eating into her investment and, the apartments weren’t comfortable. The house had hot and cold spots. This was especially an issue for the third-floor bedrooms since the thermostat was on the second floor.

Fortunately, we corrected the uneven heating in this home and provided better air conditioning. Best of all, our solution costs less in energy bills each month.


Problem: A two-family home in Somerville, MA had low-efficient steam heating. There were hot and cold spots on the second and third floors.

Solution: Installed a Mitsubishi heat pump with five ductless units for heating and cooling.


Zoned HVAC with Ductless Unit Installation

We installed a Mitsubishi ductless HVAC system in the home. Ductless units allow us to create different heating and cooling zones. Now, our homeowner and her tenants can control the temperatures in their own apartments.

However, the new system does more than just get rid of the hot and cold spots. It also works much more efficiently than the old one. That means paying less money each month to heat or cool the home.

This is all possible because of how the units work. As the name suggests, there are no ductwork or vents.

Mitsubishi ductless unit in study

Instead, forced heat or cool air enters each room through the units. Each one is mounted on the wall in a different area, or zone, in the home.

This is sort of like how vents work. However, there’s a big difference. Each unit has its own thermostat. That means they all work independently from each other.

Now, the homeowner and her tenants can set their own temperatures. Each unit turns on until that zone is treated how the person wants it. Then, it turns off — even if the units in other zones are still working.

For this home, we installed five units. The first floor got them in the kitchen area, living room and master bedroom. Then, both bedrooms in the upstairs apartment each got one.

This gives the tenant and homeowner flexibility even within their own apartments. For instance, let’s say they prefer the bedroom a little cooler than the rest of their space. They can set the thermostat in that room to a different temperature than the others.  

Installing Ductless HVAC Units

Installing ductless units is much easier than putting in an HVAC system that uses ducts. That’s because of how the treated air reaches the units 

We installed a Mitsubishi HyperHeat heat pump outside the home. This works like a furnace and air conditioner in one. Depending on the setting, it delivers forced heat or cool air to the home.

That air travels through small, flexible piping. This is a big difference from ductwork. That piping is just a few inches in diameter and can bend easily.

By contrast, ductwork is metal and at least a foot wide. It takes up a lot of space as a result. It also costs a lot of money to create custom ductwork. Then, an installer has to figure out where to put it so it reaches the whole house.

However, that’s not the case with ductless at all. Instead, we run that small, flexible piping through the walls. It’s snaked through, so there’s no need tear down any walls.

In the case of this two-family home, that flexibility was very important for the third floor. This area is a converted attic with a sloped ceiling. There was a crawl space and very little room at the edges of the room where the ceiling almost meets the floor.

Installing ductwork in these areas would have been very difficult. The homeowner would have paid a lot of money to have the layout designed. Even then she might not get the heating and cooling she wanted.

Fortunately, that wasn’t a problem here. We just ran the piping inside the walls between the studs. In this case, the crawl space actually gave us more area to use, since the piping fit so easily inside it.

See Ductless Case studies

Saving Money with Ductless HVAC Unit Installation

Ductless HVAC installation in studyOf course, ductless HVAC installation can be a big investment. Fortunately, we found ways to bring that cost down quite a bit. Over time, the system pays for itself.

It does the latter by costing less each month to run than other types of HVAC. Mitsubishi ductless systems are some of the most energy-efficient options on the market today. They are Energy Star-certified. This means they meet government standards showing they use less energy than similar products

In this case, the units deliver heat using less energy than steam. And, they use much less energy in the summer than window air conditioners or central air conditioning.

Using less energy means lower energy bills each month. It also results in some upfront savings. Energy companies offer rebates to homeowners who install energy-efficient systems.

We checked and found out that this installation qualified for two rebates. One came from Mass Save, a collective of energy suppliers in Massachusetts. They offered a $500 rebate.

The second rebate was for much more: The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center provided a $2,500 rebate for installing an efficient HVAC system that uses clean energy. In all, our homeowner got $3,000 back toward installing her ductless system.

Finally, an HVAC zoning system takes efficiency even further. Remember, each area has its own thermostat. That means they don’t all have to be on at the same time like with an older, centralized system.

Instead, the units treating the areas that warm up quickly in the winter turn off sooner than the units in the areas that are colder. Then, the opposite happens in the summer.

Now, for the first time, this two-family home has even heating and cooling in both apartments. Each apartment has its own thermostat. And, the homeowner got it all with lower monthly energy bills and a big cash rebate up front.

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 Mitsubishi ductless HVAC solution for you!