With the monster heat wave we’ve been having, a question that has come up several times this week—how can I add central air if I have a hot water heating system (and thus don’t have ducts to move the air)?
The good news is that there is a great answer—ductless minisplits. And mini-splits have some big advantages going for them.
- Mini-splits are some of the most efficient systems available, and you know we’re a fan of efficiency.
- Mini-splits come in smaller sizes, better matching cooling “loads” in the house. And as you’ve heard me say, when it comes to A/C, bigger is NOT better.
- Not only do they come in smaller sized, but they can also modulate the amount of heating or cooling by varying the refrigerant flow to dial is the amount of cooler you need now, not just what you need on the worst day (see bigger is not better, above).
- With no ducts, there is no duct leakage.
- They are really quiet!
- Mini-split systems have a different design aesthetic, and some people don’t look the way the look. However, it’s often possible to tuck them in an unobtrusive location where they’re barely noticed. And there are options like a “ceiling cassette” with is mounted above the ceiling with just a grill visible. Ducted mini-splits are another option. The allow you to hide the unit, in a soffit for example, and use short ducts for the return and supply air. With the ducted systems, you can allow feed multiple rooms from a hallway, for example.
A mini-split system is often more expensive than bolting on A/C to an existing warm air furnace and duct system. But it is usually less expensive than adding A/C and ductwork if you have a hot water system already. And because of the smaller sizes available, mini-splits are often a better choice for a more efficient home—one where we’ve air-sealed, insulated, swapped out lighting and appliances for more efficient models, and upgraded windows.
So, if you’ve got hot water heating, whether it’s baseboard, radiators, and in-floor radiant, don’t sweat it. Ask us if a mini-split might be a great cooling solution for you.