HVAC Renovation Advice for a Vacation Home

Ron361June 19, 2011

Many years ago we bought a duplex on a lake, and converted it into a single family home by taking out walls and a staircase. It's now a 2 story home, all bedrooms upstairs, all living areas down. It is located near Memphis, Tn.

Since it was built as a duplex, it has a separate unit for each side, but is not zoned for up and down.

The hvac units are all old now, and we're doing some other renovation, so it is my intention to pretty much start over with the hvac.

Our issues with the current setup are:

1. I think it's inadequate. It recently took 20 hours of running to cool the inside temp from 80 down to 72.

2. We can't get the temp comfortable for both upstairs and downstairs.

3. Since it's a vacation home, we like to go over on a Friday after work sometimes. I leave the units off when we're not there, but they can't cool the place down, as in note 1. I do have a land-line, but no internet hookup there.

It occurred to me that we could install motel units downstairs, to provide the extra kick it takes to cool the place down initially, and / or maybe zone for upstairs and down.

We're at an age now where we're going to indulge ourselves and do the job properly, so I'm looking for advice. My HVAC man at the lake says "start over with a single system zoned for up and down that you can call ahead and get cool before you show up". I don't know if that's the best route or not, so seek advice.

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20 hrs to cool down from 80 to 72 is not necessarily poor performance. At what outdoor temp?

Without seeing job, I personally think you would be better satisfied and more comfortable with a separate system for upstairs and downstairs. Of course, I am certain ductwork would have to be reworked or probably replaced altogether. Second choice would be one larger system with zoning controls for each floor. This can be problematic on a redo like you are discussing and would require an experienced HVAC contractor.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 9:42AM
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Thanks for your comments. I'll be talking to our hvac guy this weekend.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 9:38PM
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If major work is going to be done, consider the advantages of mini splits.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 1:55PM
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If the duct work exists for the upper and lower floors, then I think having two separate systems would offer the most comfort and flexibility. It will cost more than a single zoned system.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 8:34AM
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