Mini-Split Musings

Size and Design Matter!

August 28, 2016

This weekend, we experienced the sad result of a ductless heating and air conditioning system that was improperly sized and designed. The system, quite simply was undersized for the load it was expected to service. That’s why I’ve decided to write this blog as a reminder to everyone that it is so important to hire specialists when installing a ductless system. Size of the system really matters!

This is what happened: We decided to get away to one of our beautiful national parks. We left on Friday afternoon, giving ourselves plenty of time to get in a 2-mile hike before the sun set (which is happening much earlier these days!). The temperature outside when we started our hike was about 92 degrees, so you can imagine how hot and sticky we felt when we arrived back at our car after our hike. We headed for our favorite watering hole to get a bite to eat and COOL OFF! We peeled our sweaty selves out of our car and walked through the door of the restaurant...BAM, right into a blast furnace! The temperature inside the restaurant felt well over 95 degrees. It was cooler outside. I looked around for evidence of an air conditioning unit and was dismayed to find TWO ductless indoor units mounted on the walls, performing very inefficiently.

Thinking that someone had accidentally put the heat pumps in the wrong mode, I asked the server about them. He told me that the units had not properly worked since they were installed. After looking at the situation, we guessed that the system had not been properly sized by the original contractor. The units were too small to cool a restaurant full of guests, each putting off close to 500 Btu’s of energy, about 10 servers working hard and emitting even more energy, AND a large kitchen pumping out heat from ovens and burners. The system was simply too small for the load put on it. It seemed as if the installer imagined that putting two smaller units in the outer seating area would cool the large serving area while ignoring the enormous amount of heat coming from inside the kitchen.

That is why every system must be designed and sized according to all of the factors that may affect the ability of the system to perform. There are online load calculators that can be used, but in our experience, they are helpful but not always correct. There are too many extenuating circumstances involved in the design and installation of a business or residential system that the calculators cannot account for. For example, we make many adjustments for:

·      Number of windows

·      Room layout

·      Insulation

·      Quality of construction

·      Efficiency range of individual DHP brands

It's not a guessing game, or an estimate. We, at Alpine Ductless Heating and Air Conditioning, have installed over 1,500 ductless systems. All of our employees, who own their homes, have them installed in their houses. We know ductless technology and can determine the correct size needed for any given situation. We also have access to technicians from all of the major ductless manufacturers to consult as needed. They provide us with invaluable technical assistance in system design.

So, if you are thinking of having a ductless heat pump installed, please make sure that your heating contractor has experience with designing ductless systems. Or, better yet, Go Ductlesswith Alpine: Call 253-381-8743 or 360-529-7567, or click http://www.alpineductless.com/... 

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