minisplit

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Getting Into the Details

The house is dried in and mechanical work is starting

Posted on Nov 14 2016 by Carl Seville

Carl Seville and his wife are building themselves a new home in Decatur, Georgia. The first blog in this series was titled The Third Time’s the Charm. Links to all of the blogs in this series can be found in the “Related Articles” sidebar below.


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Carl Seville

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Tweaking Plans for a Minisplit System

With heating and cooling load calculations in hand, a homeowner tries to fine-tune specs for a minisplit system

Posted on Aug 15 2016 by Scott Gibson

A GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader by the name of Green Heron has recommendations in hand from an HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. contractor for heating and cooling a Climate Zone 2 house currently undergoing renovations. But he's not sure whether the recommendations make sense.

The contractor has proposed a four-zone system using a mix of ductless and ducted minisplits, Green Heron explains in a post in GBA's Q&A Forum. A single 3-ton compressor would run the four indoor heads — two ducted units installed in the attic, and ductless units in both the kitchen and the living room.


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Image Credits:

  1. Brian Post

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Should We Promote Heat Pumps to Save Energy?

Replacing electric resistance heat with heat pumps could trim the nation's consumption of electricity by 2% — but in very cold states, gas furnaces still use less energy

Posted on Jun 2 2016 by Steven Nadel

Heat pumps are going through a period of innovation. Ductless heat pumps are more available; cold climate heat pumps have been developed; higher minimum efficiency standards for heat pumps have been established by the U.S. government; and gas-fired heat pumps have been developed.


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Image Credits:

  1. BlueberarsLair / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Flickr

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The Carbon Footprint of Minisplits

Is heating with a minisplit heat pump really ‘greener’ than heating with fossil fuels?

Posted on Mar 29 2016 by Dana Dorsett

It’s often presumed that heating with high-efficiency heat pumps has a lower carbon footprintAmount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that a person, community, industry, or other entity contributes to the atmosphere through energy use, transportation, and other means. than heating with other equipment (and often it is). But how do you really know?

Do the math!


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Heat Losses Are Way More than Planned

An owner/builder in Ontario feels deflated after heat-loss calculations come in much worse than he expected — but numbers are not always what they seem

Posted on Jul 28 2014 by Scott Gibson

Bob Holodinsky was hoping for a better outcome from the heat loss calculations he received for his new Peterborough, Ontario, home — calculations that appear to have upset his plans for heating with a ductless minisplit. "I thought I was on the right track," he writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, "but now I am not so sure."


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Stop Using Propane and Oil and Go Electric

With heat pumps, going electric is a much better alternative than it used to be

Posted on Jun 9 2014 by Nick Sisler

One of the biggest mistakes many builders make is to install a heating system fueled by propane or oil heat without considering an electric heat pumpHeating and cooling system in which specialized refrigerant fluid in a sealed system is alternately evaporated and condensed, changing its state from liquid to vapor by altering its pressure; this phase change allows heat to be transferred into or out of the house. See air-source heat pump and ground-source heat pump.. In most cases that choice is costing the owners hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars a year in higher energy bills.


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Image Credits:

  1. Ekotrope

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New Englanders Love Heat Pumps

At NESEA's Building Energy conference, air-source heat pumps were all the rage

Posted on Mar 12 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

Last week I went to NESEA's Building Energy conference, and I think I heard three terms more than any others: heat pumpHeating and cooling system in which specialized refrigerant fluid in a sealed system is alternately evaporated and condensed, changing its state from liquid to vapor by altering its pressure; this phase change allows heat to be transferred into or out of the house. See air-source heat pump and ground-source heat pump., net zeroProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. Calculating net-zero energy can be difficult, particularly in grid-tied renewable energy systems, because of transmission losses in power lines and other considerations., and passive houseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates.. (The second most popular trio was beer, wine, and whisky, but that may have something to do with the folks I was hanging out with.)

So let's get right to the important question here: Why do these people in the cold climate of New England love heat pumps so much?


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Image Credits:

  1. 51% Studios Architecture / Flickr.com

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Settling In to My Renovated Cottage

Not quite done — but then again, are renovation projects ever really finished?

Posted on Mar 11 2014 by Carl Seville

I’ve been living in my renovated house for about two months now, and, with the exception of my hot water issue and ice on my windows, everything is working pretty well.


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Carl Seville

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HVAC for a ‘Pretty Good House’

Planning a well-insulated but not over-the-top retirement home in Oregon, a homeowner looks for the best heating and cooling plan

Posted on Mar 10 2014 by Scott Gibson

Matt Mesa is looking ahead to retirement in a new, one-level house in Hood River, Oregon. It's going to be a Pretty Good House, a phrase coined to describe a well-insulated house of an appropriate size.


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Image Credits:

  1. Erik Becker

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Report on Our Ductless Minisplit Heat Pump

Testing the limits of the air-source heat pump in our new house with this cold weather

Posted on Jan 30 2014 by Alex Wilson

It’s been pretty chilly outside, if you haven’t noticed. A number of people have asked me how our air-source heat pumpHeat pump that relies on outside air as the heat source and heat sink; not as effective in cold climates as ground-source heat pumps. is making out in the cold weather. I wrote about the system last fall, well before we had moved in. Is it keeping us warm? We’ve only been living in the house for a few weeks, but here’s a quick report.


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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson
  2. eMonitor data from Alex Wilson

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