Need advice for cabin heat pump
I have been self building a small cabin in Alabama. It is 20x34 with a full basement (walk out). The basement is a Superior Walls system on three sides and a 2x6 framed wall. The main floor is all 2x6 with blown in cellulose. The Main floor is one big room with the exception of a small bathroom (8x6). It has a cathedral ceiling with a loft at one end (14x20). I ran a J calculation with HVAC-Calc. Total heat gain is 10K BTU and heat loss is 21K BTU.
I was planning on using 2-3 mini split heat pumps upstairs. Either 2 12K or 3 9K with one in the loft. Problem is there are limited to no installers of the mini pump system nearby. Second problem is the wife hates the look of the indoor units!!
I am now reconsidering and thinking about having a traditional heat pump installed. The air handler would take up my laundry room in the center of the basement. I can move the laundry to another room. I have 8'9" floor to ceiling. My question is there sufficient room to install a duct system in a chase and maintain an 8' ceiling? If not, how much height will I need to give up?
It may be impossible to get ducting up to the loft so I may still need at least 1 mini split system for the loft or it will be unbearable in the summer.
I have a HVAC guy coming out some time next week to give me a quote. It is a rural area and the choices are limited for installers. This guy took my square footage over the phone and said I need 3.5 tons. I think that is overkill and he may not be taking the low load of the basement on the cooling system into account.