Mini-splits throughout the house?
Hi there. Has anyone put in mini-splits throughout their home for air-conditioning? We originally planned mini-splits in the basement, along with high velocity for the first and second floors in our 1895 D.C. rowhouse (approx. 2,500 sq ft total) in an attempt to eliminate bulkheads and preserve some of the tin ceilings. And we are keeping the radiators.
Our contractor then suggested that we switch to a mini-split unit system for the top two floors - essentially putting mostly ceiling cassettes or compact cassettes - in each room. (We do not want wall units in the upper floors.) Has anyone gone this route? Would live to hear your thoughts, good or bad. Thank you!
* Here's what the original (high velocity) plan called for:
Space-pak high-velocity system for first and second floors. Manual J-load calc to be done for HVAC system. There shall be at least one return air grate and digital programmable thermostat on each floor -- i.e., the first and second floors shall operate as independent zones. He priced the installed system at $16,000 in the contract.
* Here's what the contractor is now proposing:
The first floor would likely be ceiling cassettes for the dining room and kitchen, and a slim duct installed in the wall for the living room, where the ceiling is tin and access is limited. Second floor would all likely be ceiling installation, with the coolant lines running through the attic.
The units would be sized to the individual rooms. (He hasn't yet said how many he plans to use.) Wall-mounted options range from 7k - 24k BTU; compact cassettes from 9k - 18k; slim duct 9k - 24k. The mechanical guarantee is 7 years on the outdoor units; 2-5 years on the indoor ones depending on which ones.
Contractor says mini-splits are way more efficient, up to 27 SEER, and allow control by individual room. He says two downsides used to be cost and appearance of the wall-mounted units, but notes prices have come down and that the cassette provides an alternative to the outside-of-the-wall installation.
We are leaning against mini-splits for the upper floors, mainly because the concept is so unfamiliar to us - also, we're not sure how attractive these cassettes will look. But we wanted to make sure we weren't dismissing a good alternative.