Clay Whitenack, planning a new home in central Kentucky, had assumed that a ground-source heat pump would be a “no-brainer” for heating and cooling. Then he began reading about minisplit air-source heat pumps, and suddenly the situation didn’t seem so simple.
He’s intrigued with the possibilities for minisplits, but he’s not certain he’ll have a floor plan that would be compatible with this type of system, he writes in Q&A post at Green Building Advisor.
“My question is this: Aside from getting your house as well insulated and tight as possible, do you need a certain floor plan or construction feature to make minisplits work?” he asks. “Does the foor plan need to be open without many walls and closed rooms? Will this only work with smaller square footages? In other words, can I take a traditional, 2-story, ‘normal’ house plan (3,000 to 4,000 square feet), wrap it up with R-30 walls and R-60 attic, and get good results with some minisplit units, or do I need to build a house with a specific floor plan?”
Further, Whitenack wonders whether he needs to build in a contingency plan in the event a minisplit system would leave some rooms too hot and humid in the summer or too cold in the winter. “I would be a major pain at that point to try and go back and install ductwork,” he says.
Whitenack’s questions are the topic for this Q&A Spotlight.
First things first: Good planning
It will be impossible to design an efficient heating and cooling system without performing room-by-room heating and cooling load calculations, GBA senior editor Martin Holladay tells him, and those calculations won’t be possible unless you have a floor plan.
“Any heating and cooling system needs to be designed,”…