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Old 01-15-2009, 07:17 AM   #1
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Mini-splits/Heat pump


Has anyone had or installed a three or four zone mini-split/ductless heat pump system? I'm looking into some HVAC options for my house and I'm trying to weigh the pros/cons of installing one of these systems. I would probably do all of the install work and get a HVAC tech to make the line connections and fill/test the system.

Current system is a single zone(2 loops, one pump/thermostat) Oil-HWB and window AC's. Getting tired of the spring/fall A/C shuffle and want to install a permanent system. 1200sf rancher with an unfinished 800sf basement. 3 bedrooms and a large open common area (kitchen,LV, DR). I have a 45K BTU pellet stove in the common area to supplement the heating in the winter.

Just looking for opinions/advice. I would post this over at hvac-talk, but they don't seem to be real receptive to providing HO help.


Last edited by jerryh3; 01-15-2009 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:53 AM   #2
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Mini-splits/Heat pump


These type of systems are great for a/c and for a warm up in the beginning of winter. They can not be your primary heat source. They will not produce enough heat when it gets cold out. You still need to keep your existing system.

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Old 01-15-2009, 11:27 AM   #3
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Mini-splits/Heat pump


I had always heard that mini splits actually heated quite well, maybe hvac or beenthere will chime in about it. I have considered putting one in my garage to replace my costly electric heat unit.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:20 PM   #4
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Mini-splits/Heat pump


A multi zone mini-split can be fairly expensive and can easily cost $1000 per point at 12,000 btu each, plus the added expense and labor of running all the copper pipe from the condenser to each rooms evaporator.

Most minis that I have looked at are rated at a minimum operating temperature of 19 degrees F, with a large reduction of output. Just as an example of the reduced capacity lets say at 60F the output is 24,000 btu and at 30F only 12,000 btu and so on, it may not be that linear but it is somewhat like that and only the manufactures charts can give you the actual numbers.

Using individual mini-splits sized for each room would be cheaper and somewhat easier but then you are faced with having the perimeter of your house surrounded by little condensing units and more wiring. 12,000 btu units can be had for around $700 each. Operating costs also go up as temperatures drop, not a lot but they still do. A seer 13 split is about 2.5 times more efficient then an electric heater of the same capacity and gets less efficient as the temperature drops.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:37 PM   #5
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They may work for you I guess I shuld have asked your location or climate. I am basing my statment for here in Chicago. It is -10 today no way a heat pump can do it with out backup.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:48 PM   #6
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They may work for you I guess I shuld have asked your location or climate. I am basing my statment for here in Chicago. It is -10 today no way a heat pump can do it with out backup.
I was just giving him some info on mini-splits in general and assumed he was going to be using the 45k pellet stove when it got below the heat pumps capacity.

It is only 10 degrees here and a heat pump won't work either, I have logs in the fire.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:49 PM   #7
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They may work for you I guess I shuld have asked your location or climate. I am basing my statment for here in Chicago. It is -10 today no way a heat pump can do it with out backup.
Baltimore. It's 28 right now. We occasionally down to single digits, but that's rare. I thought about the low ambient temps and that is one consideration in the decision. I really didn't want three heat systems(boiler/heat pumps/pellet stove). We're getting lucky right now with the heating oil prices down around 2.20-2.40/gal, but I don't see that happening in two or three years and just planning for the future.
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Old 01-15-2009, 02:01 PM   #8
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I was just giving him some info on mini-splits in general and assumed he was going to be using the 45k pellet stove when it got below the heat pumps capacity.

It is only 10 degrees here and a heat pump won't work either, I have logs in the fire.
Your correct I missed the pellet stove for backup maby I need glasses
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Old 01-15-2009, 02:20 PM   #9
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Jerry, I just looked at your average temps for your city and they look good for a heat pump which should be based on five year averages and not extremes. Your high lows are 44/29 for Jan which is your coldest month. I'd say do a little more research and heat load calculations and you should be off of oil in no time. But also remember electricity is mostly generated by coal and that industry is gonna get a major overhaul if the new administration has their way - some of it rightly so, just expect an increase there too.

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