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This Is Part 2 Of A 2-Part Article

Lower Energy Bills In Large Homes With Supplemental, Ductless HVAC – Part 2

This 2- Part article is about Supplemental Ductless HVAC — in addition to Central HVAC in large homes.  You can dramatically reduce cooling & heating costs in large homes with a Supplemental Ductless HVAC System.  This allows the homeowners to cool/heat only the spaces they use.   When the entire home needs to be cooled/heated — simply use the Central HVAC System (the Ductless System won’t run because the Central System is doing the cooling/heating).  There are no changes to the existing Central HVAC System — it operates as it always has.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs, and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, TX; Allen, TX; and Frisco, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, Texas, and Denton County, Texas with no additional travel charge.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

photo of very large home

Image Source: ShutterStock

Considering Converting To Ductless HVAC For The Whole House?

outdoor unit for central a/c and for ductless a/c

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN: Outdoor Unit For Central A/C (left) And Ductless A/C (right)

Question: Would A Ductless System Be Less Expensive To Install?

 

Ductless HVAC Purchase & Installation Cost (In An Existing Home):

  • If you don’t need to replace the existing ductwork replacing with a new Central HVAC System is less expensive.
  • The U.S. Dept. Of Energy says replacing a Central HVAC System is about -30% less expensive when your existing ductwork can be reused.  **
  • If you must replace the existing ductwork — Ductless & Central A/C should cost about the same.

** Source: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/ductless-mini-split-air-conditioners

 

Would A Ductless System Be Less Expensive To Operate?

Ductless HVAC Operating Costs — Compared To Central HVAC:

  • If you want to heat & cool the whole house — Central HVAC System is best.
  • If you want to be able to choose which rooms are cooled/heated — a Ductless HVAC System is best.   Actual savings depends on the total amount of space you want to heat & cool.

 

Comparing Operating Costs Of A Heat Pump, Ductless HVAC -And- Central HVAC

  • If you own an All-Electric home with Electric Heat — a Ductless System With Heat Pump will be far less expensive to heat with.    NOTE: A Heat Pump Central HVAC System provides the same savings.
  • If you own an All-Electric home with a Heat Pump — and want to cool/heat the entire house — a Ductless System will cost the same to operate as a Central HVAC Heat Pump System.
  • If you own an All-Electric home with a Heat Pump  — and want to cool/heat some areas of the home — a Ductless System will be less expensive to operate.

 

  • IF you currently have a Gas Furnace — and want to cool/heat the entire home — it’s less expensive to heat with a gas furnace than an electric Heat Pump.
  • If you have a Gas Furnace — and want to cool/heat only parts of the home.  The best solution is a Variable-Speed, Zoned, Central HVAC System with a gas furnace.

Additional Benefits Of Supplemental, Ductless HVAC

Indoor-Air Quality Will Be Higher:

  • Ductwork fills with dust over time (if not cleaned every few years).  Air going to the furnace passes through the dusty ductwork.
  • Some of the dust makes it through the furnace filter — and ends up in the ductwork going to the ducts (supply air).
  • In summer, supply-air ductwork becomes quite cold — and may sweat (due to DFW’s high humidity).
  • If ductwork sweats, mold can easily grow — due to dust in the ductwork and moisture provided by sweating.
  • This is particularly true of the indoor cooling coil (inside the furnace or ductwork and can’t be seen without removing a panel).

Click Here To See A Molded Indoor A/C Cooling Coil: MOLDED A/C Indoor Cooling Coil

  • NOTE: In a typical house, 20-30% of the heated/cooled is lost due to ductwork; leaks, holes, & poor connections. **
  • The leakage can be dramatically reduced with ductwork sealing.

** Source: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_ducts

Ductless Systems Offer These Advantages:

  • Ductless HVAC systems are Variable-Speed.  The increase/decrease operating speed based on current cooling/heating demand.
  • Most Central HVAC Systems have 1 speed. Once cooled, it turns off.  It turns back on when more cooling/heating is needed.   The outdoor unit requires a lot of electricity during start-up.
  • NOTE: Variable-Speed Central HVAC is also available.
  • Multi-room Ductless HVAC Systems have indoor air units in up to 4 rooms.
  • This allows the owner to cool/heat only the spaces they want.
  • For 5-8 rooms — a double-compressor outdoor unit will be installed.
  • More flexibility for families with large differences in temperature preferences.  With a Ductless HVAC System, each room can be a different temperature.
  • The ability to cool hotter rooms (often due to sun exposure) without over-cooling other rooms.

Disadvantages Of Supplemental Ductless HVAC Systems

Some do not want to see the wall units.  There are many other styles available — See Part 1 for more details.

Each indoor unit has an air filter:

  • Just like with Central HVAC, the filter must be checked monthly and cleaned as needed.
  • With several indoor units — the task of cleaning several air filters may become too large.
  • With ceiling cassette units, or Wall Units high on the wall — a ladder will be needed to reach them to clean their filter.
  • If you don’t want to deal with a ladder — choose wall-mount indoor-units and install them near the floor.

There are auto-clean systems for some Ductless HVAC indoor-units.  Copy This Link Into Your Browser To See A Demonstration:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i75rq0jLE4I

 

Can’t I Get A Window A/C For Less Money?

window air conditioner

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN: Window Air Conditioner

Yes — if the noise it makes won’t be a problem. 

  • The indoor unit of Ductless HVAC makes about 25 dB of noise (about the same as rustling leaves).
  • The quietest 8,000 BTU window a/c (at the time this was written) — generates 53db (about the same as light traffic).
  • +10 dB is twice the volume (loudness) to the ears.   So the quietest window unit (at +28db) — is nearly 3 times as loud as the Ductless indoor unit. **
  • Also, consider where the bedroom windows are in relation to the bed.
  • Are they on the same wall as the headboard?
  • The closer the window a/c is to your ears — the more likely the noise may become an issue.

** Source: https://mozaw.com/quietest-window-air-conditioners/

 

  • NOTE: Window A/C Pose A Security Risk If Not Secured.  All that is required (if unit is not secured) is to simply push it into the home from outside.

To Help Secure A Window A/C:

  • Add a wood dowel between the top of the upper window frame and the (raised) top of the lower window frame.
  • Make the dowels long enough to fit tight.  You can add a felt pad to avoid scratching the window while installing the dowels.
  • This will cause the window to be forced downward onto the a/c.  It’s not foolproof — but it provides a deterrent to a home-invader who wants to get in quickly.
  • This allows for a window a/c installation without screwing into the window.  We don’t recommend screws as it’s easy to damage the glass or the window’s frame.

Click Here To See A Video Demonstration: Add Wood Dowels To Secure A Window A/C Unit

 

Window A/C Side-Panels Weather Proofing

Window a/c expanding side-panels are not insulated or air-tight.   The expanding side-panels (to make it fit the window’s width) are simply expandable vinyl.     Inside many window a/c units — there is only a thin layer of foam separating its outside components from the inside components.

We suggest insulating & weather-proofing the side-panels.  One solution is to cut and add Thermo-Tec 14130. Tape it in place on all sides with vinyl tape (like electrician’s tape).  One installed, it will provide a fairly air-tight seal and its radiant heat barrier reduces heat loss in winter & heat gain during summer.  It’s best to install two-sheets — with one shiny side facing outward, and the other shiny side facing inward.  This provides a radiant-heat barrier for both summer and winter.   It will also reduce the amount of outside noise that enters the room.


Shown: Thermo-Tec 14130 

Click On Image TO: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

The Amazon Website Listing Says:

  • This lightweight, durable shield: reduces sound, absorbs vibration, protects from radiant heat and provides an extra layer of insulating padding.
  • The product features 100% synthetic fiber felt that provides sound & comfort control.
  • A high-tech foil heat barrier blocks more than 90% of radiant heat.

Note: This product has minimal insulating value (though great at blocking radiant heat).

Note: To increase the insulating-value, wrap some fiberglass insulation in a plastic bag and install it along the inside of side-panels — then add the Thermo-Tech.

 

Window A/C Vinyl Interior Covers For Winter

There are inside, a/c covers available  (they come in various sizes).  To further insulate and reduce air-leakage, tape Thermo-Tech over the A/C’s front before adding the cover.  You can also wrap batt insulation inside a plastic bag and place it over the Thermo-Tech — then add the cover.

 

Click On Image To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

 

There are also permanently installed, through-the-wall Packaged HVAC Units that both heat and cool (like in hotels).  They require the same electrical source as an electric dryer, so special wiring is needed.  Also, cutting through brick must be done by a licensed contractor.   The are noisy when running.  Some come with a Heat Pump (+ supplemental electric heat).  Others offer only expensive electric heat.   Ductless HVAC Systems have Heat Pumps.

 

Can’t I Get An Electric Heater For Less Money?

Yes, if it will meet your needs.  Noise generated will not be an issue.

NOTE: Portable electric heaters’ thermostats aren’t accurate because they’re inside the heater and get warm while the heater is running.   The heater’s thermostat will likely need to be adjusted frequently.

There’s a solution to this problem.  The remote-control electrical-outlet shown below is operated by the thermostat shown.  Place the thermostat where you are — and the heater will keep that area the temp you want.

Image Source: Amazon embedded link

Click On Image To: View Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

 

NOTE: With an electric heater operating on its highest setting – the electrical circuit it’s using can’t provide much more electricity — it will trip the Circuit-Breaker (due to too much demand on the circuit).   To determine if you can use other devices — turn them on.  If the breaker doesn’t trip — it’s ok to use them.  If the breaker trips — it protected your home’s wiring — and you know you can’t run the heater + the other devices.

Click Here For A Detailed Article About Electric Heaters: AlsPlumbing.com Electric Heaters Article

 

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This Is Part 2 Of A 2-Part Article

This article is about Supplemental, Ductless HVAC in addition to Central HVAC in large homes.  You can dramatically reduce cooling & heating costs in large homes with a Supplemental Ductless HVAC System.  This allows the homeowners to cool/heat only the spaces they use.   When the entire home needs to be cooled/heated — simply use the Central HVAC System (the Ductless System won’t run because the Central System is doing the cooling/heating).  There are no changes to the existing Central HVAC System — it operates as it always has.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs, and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, TX; Allen, TX; and Frisco, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, Texas, and Denton County, Texas with no additional travel charge.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.