ac system for new home build

TEXASMG24July 5, 2012

Hello! First time poster--

I am currently working on the construction documents for our new house. We live in Texas (hence user name) and the home will be approximately 5500 sq ft, 4 BR, open floor plan on main floor. I assumed we would put central air for HVAC, but recently had a conversation with a 'mentor' of mine who is in the process of building, quite possibly, the most amazing house I've ever seen. He is going with Daikin ductless system for the entire (8,000 sq ft) house, and is very excited about the zone control and capabilities of saving energy in rooms less utilized. I know I'm one of those guys that like to crank down temp when I sleep and we will have a larger size home for the 2 of us until we start a family. Can I get some feedback on the split ductless system for a new home design? Pro/Cons/etc. Thanks for the assistance.

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I'm by no means an HVAC guru, but like you I am doing my homework in preparation for my own build. After a good chunk of time on the web I've found the following about ductless mini splits.

-Zoning and more precise temperature control. The wifey can freeze in her space when those hot flashes hit, while you are safely hidden away in yours with your unit set as you please. This is probably the biggest plus for me, having lived with hot and cold spots in our current ducted house. I'm freezing in the basement so my husband can be comfortable mid summer upstairs. Depending on how you go about it zoning can be accomplished with a traditional ducted system from what I've read, but the mini splits are the best at accomplishing it.

-Flexibility to not heat or cool areas you aren't using.

-System can heat and cool both if that's a desire, although they do make cooling only units I believe. If you're doing a ducted furnace anyway for heating, the mini splits lose their no ducting needed appeal. They are often paired as cooling units with radiant floor heat for example.

-Used correctly, is the more energy efficient option.

-On a new construction you save the cost of ductwork in the build.

-May require multiple outdoor units. This may or may not be a con depending, as the units are a good deal smaller than your average central AC unit.

-Blower units may be an eyesore on your walls. Note this doesn't necessarily have to be the case because certain manufacturers have options to hide the unit in the ceiling or wall (but these probably cost a bit more).

-Overall is more expensive then traditional hvac options. My understanding is this is currently due to the fact that right now its a niche market so the installers can charge a premium due to lack of competition. In Europe these systems are the norm (about half of the market) but we're slow to catch on to cool stuff in the states :P

-At extremely low temperatures the system can lose efficiency. I am unsure if the same can be said at extremely high temperatures but I've found many a note about low temps (10-20 degree outdoor temp). At that point you may need a supplemental heat source to stay comfortable. This may or may not be a concern where you live in Texas.

This is the basics in a nutshell. You'd really want to dig in and be sure on your decision if its right for you tho, as retrofitting a home for a ducted system after the fact would be a real headache, if even possible. I'm leaning towards doing the mini spit myself at this point depending on cost.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 4:42PM
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