Ductless Panel Installation In A Two-Family Somerville MA Home Two-family homes often have heating and cooling problems. Many times they are converted from one-family houses. As a result, the HVAC system isn’t made to handle two apartments.

A home like this in Somerville MA experienced these problems. There were hot and cold spots in the family room and two of the bedrooms. This means that some spots got too hot or wouldn’t get warm at all in the winter.

Meanwhile, the home had no central air. Both apartments relied on old window unit air conditioners. They were loud and unsightly and required a lot of maintenance. Someone would have to drag them out of storage, clean them and then install them in the windows. Then, they made the electric bills skyrockets in the summer.

The property owner called NETR after reading our outstanding reviews. She was ready to overhaul her entire HVAC system and was confident we could properly install a supplemental system.

After meeting with her and touring the house, we had a good idea of what was going wrong. And, we quickly had a plan to make it right. It would be a large project, but a great investment.

When we were done the home would have much better climate control all year long. And, it would cost her less over time.

Problem: A two-family home in Somerville MA had a one-zone gas steam heating system. There were hot and cold spots in the winter and no central air for the summer.

Solution: Installed a Mitsubishi hyper-heat system with an outdoor heat pump and three indoor air handlers.

Upgrading from steam heat in a two-family home

A steam heat furnace system is typical in older multi-family homes like this. Steam is very reliable. As long as it’s cared for with simple routine servicing, it won’t break down or give the property owner any problems.

However, a system like this leaves a lot to be desired. For starters, it was set up as a single zone in this home. One thermostat controlled both apartments.

This situation led to uneven heating, or the hot and cold spots. The system turns on when it gets colder than the thermostat setting. But, some parts of the home are warmer or colder than that.

So, the system is turning off before other, colder parts of the house get a chance to warm up. Meanwhile, other areas that are warmer keep getting blasted with air.

That’s somewhat true in any house. And, steam heat, in general, doesn’t heat as evenly as other sources. In a two-family home, however, the problem of uneven heat can be even more pronounced.

Since a previous owner converted to a multi-unit house, it doesn’t have proper air flow. Usually, heat travels well through open areas like stairwells. However, these are closed off. Now the warm air can’t get to where it needs to go.

Then there’s the problem of the loft area at the top. The high ceilings cause the heat to rise into that area. Then, much of it escapes through the dormer windows.

The solution here was to supplement the existing gas steam heat with a ductless mini-split system. It would be costly to rip out the old furnace and start from scratch. But, with a little upgrade, we good solve all these problems.

The key is how mini-splits work. Unlike vents and ducts or baseboard heaters, our installers can place the indoor units almost anywhere. They don’t need to map out and build in new ductwork or try to piggyback off the setup that wasn’t working right before.

Here’s how it works: An outdoor heat pump generates forced heat or cool air. It travels through the home via tiny flexible tubing. Our installers can snake it through the walls like electrical wire.

Then, each piece of tubing attaches to a different indoor unit. Since our installers can run it wherever they want in the house, they can also place the indoor units in the best spots.

In this case, that meant in a living room and two of the bedrooms. These were the spots that were always too cold and never got cool in the summer.

Each indoor unit has its own thermostat. Now the tenants can set each room separately to the temperature they want.

The steam furnace still provides heat in the coldest winter months. But the indoor units can handle all the heating in the fall and early spring. And when the central unit is on, it runs at a lower temperature than before.

Ductless mini-splits provide better cooling in the summer

Ductless panels offer even heating and cooling in Somerville MA two-family homeIn the winter, the ductless HVAC system supplements the gas steam system. In the summer, it replaces the old window unit air conditioners.

Since the heat pump also provides cooling, it can do the same job as those old window units. But, it does it even better.

For starters, the new technology is just better. The new systems uses less energy to do a better job than a window unit. Plus, they are permanently placed inside the house. This arrangement makes a big difference.

With the window units, someone would have to put them in the window in the spring and take them out in the fall. As a result, they would never be truly sealed in. Much of the treated air would just escape out the window. Now, more of the cool air stays inside the home.

There are also aesthetic advantages to ductless. Perhaps the biggest is that they don’t take up window space. Now, the tenants don’t need to give up sunlight or a view in order to stay cool. The indoor units are also whisper-quiet. This is a significant change from the steady noise from the old window units.

And, like the window unit air conditioners, each indoor unit can be set to a different temperature. If a tenant likes the bedroom cooler than the living room, for instance, he can set that one differently. However, he’ll get that cool air much quicker, and much quieter, with the new system.

Saving money with ductless HVAC

Outdoor heat pump for ductless panel HVAC system in a two-family Somerville MA homeThe new system does more than just provide better heating and cooling. Ductless HVAC also saves the property owner a lot of money.

That’s due in large part to the technology behind it. The system use much less energy than the steam furnace or window units to do the job. And, using less power means paying for less on monthly utility bills.

The heat pump we installed is Energy Star-certified. It meets government standards showing it uses less energy than other units that provide the same service. Along with month-to-month savings, it also had a huge impact on the upfront cost.

Since the unit is energy efficient, our property owner could get cash rebates for installing it. In the Bay State, two organizations offer incentives for people to upgrade their HVAC systems to be more environmentally friendly.

We helped our client apply for both. As a result, she received a $1,300 rebate from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and another $300 from Mass Save. That $1,600 made a big dent in the installation costs.

Along with the discount from the rebates, our property owner financed the job. Now, she can pay off the rest little by little. And, the savings on her energy bills lessened that amount. Soon, the system will pay for itself.

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!