Our homeowner was tired of his 100-year-old Harrisburg rowhome always being too hot in the summer. But, there never seemed to be a good solution for it. His new Bryant ductless air conditioner and heating system changed all that.
The problem was, there was no way to install central air. Homes this old weren’t built with that in mind. So, a lot of times people retrofit for air conditioning by tapping into the ductwork. But, that wasn’t an option here.
This home in the Uptown section of Harrisburg has an oil boiler and radiators. That means the house has pipes, not ducts. Those are no good for AC.
That’s why, for years, our homeowner made do with an in-the-wall air conditioner in his living room. But, this hardly helped. It only cooled the first floor, and barely even did that.
That was a problem especially since his home near Italian Park had three floors. The top level especially held onto a lot of warmth in the summer.
Plus, the AC he had was loud – sometimes he could barely hear his television. And, it was inefficient. Every summer, his electric bill would jump way up.
Once he’d decided he’d had enough, he called WM Buffington for help. We had just the solution for him.
Problem:A century-old row home in Harrisburg needed better air conditioning, but there was no room for ductwork. The homeowner only had an in-the-wall unit on the first floor. It was loud, inefficient and only cooled that floor.
Solution:Installed a Bryant ductless air conditioner and heating system. The setup has a multi-zone outdoor heat pump with high-wall air handlers on the first and second floors and a floor-mounted air handler on the third floor.
Ductless air conditioner vs. traditional units
A ductless air conditioner combines the strength of central air with the flexibility of in-the-wall and window AC’s. It also provides heating, and it adds some benefits those other options don’t offer. Specifically, ductless:
- Is quieter than traditional AC’s
- Offers more customization from room to room
- Costs less to run than portable or central unit
The big challenge in this home was the flexibility. Our homeowner probably would have gotten central air years ago. But, not having ductwork – and not having the room to build it – prevented that.
His new Bryant system doesn’t have this problem. That’s because we connect the system by running small refrigerant lines through the walls of the house. We didn’t have to account for big, bulky ductwork.
Now, let’s talk about the air handlers. That’s the part that actually circulates the air through your home. Sort of like vents or a radiator.
We install these permanently. But, the handlers don’t take up much room, and they’re out of the way. Each of these has a thermostat so you can set the temperature in each room differently. We’ll talk a little more about that in a minute.
But for now, let’s talk about sound – or the lack thereof!
These units are literally whisper-quiet, even more so than a good central system. At their absolute loudest, they make about as much noise as people whispering in a library.
Zoned HVAC finally cools third floor of a Harrisburg rowhome
We mentioned before how each air handler has a thermostat. That’s how we create what’s called “zoned” HVAC. This is really the key to how we finally got nice, even cooling throughout the whole home.
The trick is that we didn’t approach the entire house as one big unit. Instead, we broke it up into smaller areas – or “zones” and treated each one separately.
The way it works is that each air handler cools the area where it’s located. Since each one has a thermostat, they’re much more accurate than having one thermostat for the whole house.
We all know what happens in that situation: The room where the thermostat is located is always just the right temperature. But, other areas further away never get adequately treated. Since the temp isn’t measured in those rooms, the system doesn’t account for it.
Now, each air handler gives each zone the exact treatment it needs. And, we can customize them to make sure each one does the job.
That’s a big difference for the third floor, especially. For the first time, it was actually as cool as our homeowner wanted it. To make sure of this, we went with a low-wall unit up there. These are better for the area that needed the most help.
One the second floor, we put a unit in the bedroom. This way, our homeowner has perfect control over where he sleeps. Finally, we installed two units to cover all the living and working space on the first floor.
Ductless costs less than other cooling options
Finally, there’s the big one: cost. Everyone knows your electric bill gets bloated in the summer. That’s when your AC is using a whole lot of power.
Our homeowner really had it bad on this front. Not only are smaller air conditioners less efficient than central units. His was a really old in-the-wall model.
Fortunately, his new system will cost him less in energy bills than even a central unit would. That’s because:
- It uses less energy with a low-power mode
- It circulates the air more efficiently.
- Providing supplemental heat
A low-power mode is a significant step forward for home HVAC. Usually, a furnace or AC is either off or working at full blast. But, that’s not the most efficient way to offer climate control.
Basically, they wait until the temperature changes, then work for a little while to correct. Then, the unit shuts off until there’s a problem again. Meanwhile, a portable or wall AC just stays on the whole time no matter what.
Instead, our homeowner’s new Bryant system maintains the temperature continuously. After getting things where they need to be, it switches to low power to keep things just the way they are.
This uses much less energy than turning on and off all the time. It also helps the system last longer than traditional setups. With those, all the turning on and off wears down the components and makes them break down faster.
Next, the air handlers distribute air better than portable units or even vents. Thanks to their
design, they treat each zone faster than traditional units. This way, it switches even quicker to low-power mode.
Finally, they even help out in the winter. These systems also provide heating. Of course, our homeowner already has his oil burner. But, the air handlers can sort of “top off” that heat.
When our homeowner sets the air handlers the same as his central thermostat, each one will give its zone a little extra warmth to make sure the temperature’s the same throughout the house. This takes some of the burden off the most costly oil heat.
Finally, he can just use the air handlers in the fall and spring. During those weeks where it’s just a little too cold, he can add a touch of warmth without having to fire up the furnace.
Are you looking for the best way to cool your entire home in the summer? Contact us, and we’ll design a system that’s perfect for you!