Our proud homeowners had a beautiful colonial home in “The Gem of the Fox River Valley,” as they and their neighbors like to call Algonquin, IL.
But, there was a problem keeping them up at night: The temperature in their master bedroom.
Fortunately, there was a quick and easy solution: ductless cooling and heating.
We get plenty of calls about uneven heating and cooling, or hot and cold spots, at Compass Heating and Air. Of course, it’s not just a problem in Chicagoland.
Homeowners all over the country wrestle with that one room that’s always too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. It happens for a few reasons:
For a long time, there really wasn’t much that people could do about the problem. Sure, you could get a window air conditioner or a space heater. But, those come with plenty of drawbacks.
They’re really expensive to run, for starters. And, window units are really loud. Meanwhile, space heaters are known to cause house fires.
Today, however, there’s a much better solution available in ductless heating and cooling. Now, our homeowners go to sleep in the exact temperature they want all the time.
Problem: The master bedroom in an Algonquin, IL colonial home was always too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.
Solution: Install a ductless cooling and heating system with an outdoor heat pump and air handler in the bedroom.
As beautiful as old colonial homes are, some heating and cooling issues pop up regularly. Typically, HVAC problems like uneven heating and cooling, or hot and cold spots, in colonials are caused by:
Most of these homes have a lot of space, but also a lot of separate rooms. Open floors plans just weren’t part of the style when a lot of these homes were constructed.
As a result, you end up with a lot of sectioned-off areas. This makes it difficult for air to flow naturally throughout the house. When that happens, heat builds up in certain areas.
Many times, airflow issues in colonial homes are made worse by renovations.
This happens when someone knocks down or puts up walls, but doesn’t also update the HVAC system. Then, you’ve got ducts and vents that aren’t going where they should.
Meanwhile, standard-size ceilings may actually work against you. Often, these homes have your average eight-foot-high ceilings. But, you’ve probably also seen older houses with very high ceilings.
The advantage? Back in the days before air conditioning, heat would have some place to go with a higher ceiling. Then, it wouldn’t feel as hot in the summer while you were inside.
Drafts are also typical for older homes with older doors and many windows.
Whether they weren’t made by today’s standards or deteriorated over time, the problem is the same: Your heat or air conditioning escapes the home through the openings around older doors and windows.
And, when you’ve got a colonial with plenty of separate rooms like this one, you also have plenty of windows. That’s a lot of closed-off spaces with potentials for drafts.
The reason ductless cooling works so well when your master bedroom is too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter is because it creates “zoned HVAC.”
It’s not part of a central unit. That would be your central air conditioning or a furnace pushing forced air through ductwork.
Sure, those heat or cool an entire home. But, it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. There’s only one thermostat controlling the whole house.
But, what happens when the master bedroom is warmer than the room with the thermostat? This is especially common when you have a lot of walls and separate rooms in a large house.
With central air, the AC shuts off when the living room is nice and cool. But, it leaves that upstairs room untreated.
Then, the opposite happens in the winter time. There will be a room that is too cold because of the restricted air flow.
Our homeowner’s new ductless system, also called a mini-split, fixes that.
These setups have two parts. There’s an outdoor heat pump that provides the warmth or cooling, depending on the season. Inside is an air handler.
The air handler circulates the air in just one area, or zone, of the home. It’s equipped with a thermostat, so it works independently in its own zone.
For this home, we installed just one air handler in the bedroom. This allows them to keep their current system, fix the problem room, and take some strain off of their central air system since it is no longer trying to compensate for the lack of comfort in the bedroom. But, many homeowners end up completely replacing their old central system with mini-splits. In those cases, we install air handlers in strategic spots all over the house.
Now, the new mini-split supplements the existing heating and cooling.
It’s also a better solution than window AC’s or space heaters. Compared to those options, the mini-split:
Let’s find out how.
Before we get into some of those other benefits of a mini-split, let’s look at how easy it is to install. After all, that’s one of the significant advantages for an older home such as a colonial.
Here’s the secret: You don’t need new ductwork!
Sure, you have to connect the outdoor heat pump to the air handler. That’s the same as how you’d run ducts between your vents and furnace or AC.
In this case, however, all we use are refrigerant lines. These are made of thin, metal tubing. These are narrow enough for us to run through the walls without a lot of space being used.
The only part of the system our homeowners see in the house is the air handler. All the connections are hidden in the walls.
Now, let’s look at those other benefits:
Mini-splits are whisper-quiet. Even when they’re on “full blast,” the loudest they ever get is the same volume as leaves rustling. You literally won’t hear the air handler working unless you’re standing right under it.
They use less energy thanks to inverter technology. Think of this as cruise control for your HVAC. For the most part, these components run on a low power-saver mode. This way, they maintain the temperature you want all the time. If there’s a sudden change, they temporarily switch to high gear.
This helps the room reach the temperature you want faster than with traditional HVAC, and keep it that way. It also helps that the handlers do a better job of circulating the air.
The system is safe to use all the time. This comes into play during the winter. Sure, a space heater is easy to use: Just plug it in and turn it on. But, you can’t fall asleep with it working. There’s a great potential to start a house fire.
Instead, these systems are made to stay on all the time. You don’t have to worry about monitoring them.
This way, our homeowners let their new system run whenever it needs to. Now, they fall asleep comfortably, with their bedroom at just the temperature they’ve always wanted.
Do you have one room that’s always too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter? Contact Compass Heating and Air, and we’ll design a system that’s perfect for your home!