Are ductless minisplits a viable solution for a 200-year-old timber frame retrofit?
Project type: full house renovation; currently down to the stud.
House type: 200 year old timber frame style farmhouse
Location: Milton, NY, USA
We’re in the midst of a full-house renovation of a building that sat vacant for 20 years. We replaced the roof and applied closed-cell spray foam in the attic and gable wall extensions. The intention is to closed-cell insulate the remained of the building envelop upon completion of MEPs.
We were originally considering two forced air systems (one in the attic for the second floor, and one in the basement for the first floor); however, we are not thrilled about air quality with conventional forced air heat. We then considered a hydronic air application, but have been met by each HVAC contractor with some hesitation due to the complexity of the ductwork needed in the basement. Several contractors have suggested ductless units which we initially opposed due to the appearance of the wall-mounted units throughout the home.
More recently, and with a little more research, we are becoming more turned on to the ductless solution and want to hear from others about their experience.
1. Would a series of mini splits be a viable option for a whole-house application in the northeast?
2. Has anybody had success with the floor mounted units? Can a decorative cover be placed over them, like an old radiator cover, or would that throttle efficiency too much?
3. How is the air quality? Would we still need to install an air recovery ventilator (HRV/ERV to be determined)?
4. What are the general benefits and shortcomings of this solution?
5. Finally, are there any other alternatives that you would suggest?
I know this is a lot to ask for, so any response will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!