Solutions for Historic Homes
Every once in a while, we come across a solution for a remodeling historic homes problem that is just too good not to share.
There is a large inventory of older and historic homes in Pinellas County and the greater Tampa Bay area. These historic homes are very desirable and hold tons of appeal – from architectural windows and solid plaster walls to marble windowsills, crown molding, pocket doors, arched doorways and in many cases higher-quality materials and finishing touches than are used today.
A potential drawback to these charming homes is that interior rooms can turn into a sauna with our hot and humid summer days. Older homes often don’t have the space to install ductwork for a conventional central air-conditioning system. Attic space is small, many times there is no basement or crawlspace and there isn’t enough room between the outer and inner walls for ductwork. Window units are loud and unsightly.
In recent years, a solution to air conditioning these historic homes is the ductless mini split system that consists of an indoor unit mounted on a wall or ceiling and an outdoor unit that houses the compressor and condenser. They allow each room to have a different temperature setting.
The mini split ductless system is efficient; however, they are not always considered aesthetically pleasing by homeowners who may not want a conspicuous wall, ceiling or floor unit competing with their décor.
The demand to conceal these “mini” air handlers grew to the point that manufacturers stepped in. Manufacturers started making ducted mini-split systems, where a smaller indoor fan coil is concealed in a dropped-ceiling, attic, or crawlspace, and uses ductwork to distribute the air throughout the zone that it serves. This is connected to a smaller outdoor compressor and condensing unit.
The ducted systems are highly efficient due to the inverter technology they use. Inverter technology controls the speed of the compressor motor, so as to continuously regulate the temperature. Traditional AC motors, that are non-inverter type air conditioners, maintain a constant room temperature by turning the motor ON and OFF. Turning the motor on and off consumes more energy.
The ducted mini-split systems are so efficient that it may be possible to reduce the size of a 4-ton system to a 3-ton multi-zone system with one condensing unit outside connected via copper tubing to individual indoor units that serve each of the rooms.
Simply stated, the ducted mini split units are smaller, can be concealed and are far more efficient. Additional benefits include:
- The life expectancy is estimated at 20 years. This is far longer than the 12-15 years of most conventional systems.
- The system can be centrally controlled by a thermostat to maintain an even temperature throughout. Maintaining an even temperature is kinder to your flooring, furniture and pets.
- These systems are available in single and multi-zone systems.
- They are aesthetically pleasing and quieter.
- Contractors will like the flexibility of ducted mini-split systems.
And, this solution doesn’t stop with older or historic homes. As the ducted mini split AC and heating systems are aesthetically pleasing and have such a high energy efficiency rating, they make a viable choice for any home or business remodel or new build.
Nelson Construction and Renovations, a family business founded in 2006, is a design-build company that specializes in high-end remodels, home additions, and custom homes. With our headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, we serve homeowners all over Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. We are an award-winning member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
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