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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    3

    Question How to keep it cool

    I live in the new England area and am considering an air conditioning system. I currently cool my house in the summer using window air conditioners, one in the bedroom, one in the great room (Kitchem, livingroom and dining room).
    They do a good job, but Iím a 65 YOF and dragging them up from the basement and installing them is becoming more and more difficult plus they add a lot of additional moisture to the house, not to mention their old and inefficient. A bit like me!

    I am considering either a central air system connected to my existing ductwork (I have a forced air central heat system) or a Split ductless system. My house is 10years old, well insulated, about 1700 square ft, facing west, with bedrooms on the south side of the house. I could use some advice about the ductless system, what would be a reasonable cost for either system (just a ballpark guess), assuming my ductwork is good to go and which system is the most economical to operate over the long term?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,103

    Default Re: How to keep it cool

    Central air is the answer. You already have your ducts in, and at 10 years old, I assume that they are in good condition.

    Costs vary widely, so my advise to you is: get 3 or more bids.

    Use your gut feeling and recommendations in choosing a technician. Get everything in writing. Work a progressive payment schedule. Don't put down a deposit larger than 10% of the total job and keep 10% of the total as a retainer, to make sure everything is completed as promised.. And you'll be all right.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    661

    Default Re: How to keep it cool

    Sounds like your a good candidate for a coil cut in since you have a forced hot air furnace. This is when the Co. you choose installs an evap. coil at the furnace with a condenser outside to give you central air. The mechanical part of this could be done in a day and depending on the electricians schedule you should be up and running in no time. Good Luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: How to keep it cool

    I have quotes. Central same as dual zone mini split.... $6000. Seems high. CentraL air will require increase in size if one return duct and two supply duct, not to mention insulation and sealing ducting.

    Mini split is way oversized, but even that, the cost of materials for the mini split is slightly less than half of the total quote. Any thoughts?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: How to keep it cool

    Quote Originally Posted by skm745 View Post
    I have quotes. Central same as dual zone mini split.... $6000. Seems high. CentraL air will require increase in size if one return duct and two supply duct, not to mention insulation and sealing ducting.

    Mini split is way oversized, but even that, the cost of materials for the mini split is slightly less than half of the total quote. Any thoughts?
    I lived in Silicon Valley in a modern house with no ducts (radiant heat) and explored mini-split (or ductless) AC. $6K sounds right - - if you google min-splits, the hardware for a 2 air handler system plus the integrated tubing will range for $1,500 to $3,000 (Mitsubishi Mr. Slim).
    A drawback to mini-split is that you can cool only 2-3 large areas (2-3 handlers) because they are effective for large space cooling. I know one guy who spend $14K by buying 3 2-zone systems (and 200a service) to get air handling everywhere I don't think that's your budget so money will be the determining factor. You may be better off just hiring a handyman to install & remove your window AC's until you're ready to move out. Also, I surprised a 10-year house doesn't have central AC even if you're in an area where it's hot for only a limited time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    661

    Default Re: How to keep it cool

    Quote Originally Posted by skm745 View Post
    I have quotes. Central same as dual zone mini split.... $6000. Seems high. CentraL air will require increase in size if one return duct and two supply duct, not to mention insulation and sealing ducting.

    Mini split is way oversized, but even that, the cost of materials for the mini split is slightly less than half of the total quote. Any thoughts?


    The cost may be a little high but it also depends on the equipment they will be installing, better equipment costs more and that means the cost will go up a bit also

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: How to keep it cool

    Why do they need to increase the duct size. The low cooling demand should result in a A/C size that requires no more air than your furnace. Rather then add ducts, why not downsize the A/C. Did they do an actual load calculation?

    I know in Michigan, a 80k BTU furnace for example only needs around 1000CFM. That same home probably only needs a 2.5 Ton A/C. SO the air flow and therefore duct sizes are the same.

    GO central air, especially if you already have a furnace. You should be able to get an unit installed for less than $4000 for a basic 13 SEER system.

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