When deciding upon a new or upgraded HVAC system, especially in a home with no current air conditioning system, many factors come into play. For example, if you have a boiler with no AC, should you replace your boiler and add bulky ductwork, or should you invest in Mitsubishi Hyper-Heat ductless (or ducted) mini-splits?
Homeowners considering a state-of-the-art heat pump or ductless mini-split for their heating and cooling have to choose between a hyper-heat vs. standard heat pump.
In this article we will focus on the Hyper-Heat heat pump. This model is capable of providing air conditioning and a primary heat source, whereas a standard heat pump will only provide supplemental heating. Hyper-Heat heat pumps can be both ducted or ductless, but we fill focus in even further and stay on ductless. We will go over:
The pros and cons of ductless mini-splits
The pros and cons of standard heating and cooling
Cost comparison of both options
Why Should I Choose Mitsubishi Hyper Heat Ductless Mini-Splits?
Mitsubishi Hyper Heat ductless mini-split systems supply several benefits for you and your home. They allow for zoned control, provide an efficient source of heating and cooling, require limited construction, and provide more free space, to name a few.
In most standard AC installs you will only have one zone. This means one thermostat controls the entire home, typically leading to many hot and cold spots throughout.
With ductless mini-splits, each unit has its own individualized control! This allows different spaces to be cooled or heated at different temperatures, creating a multi-zoned heating and cooling system. You can enjoy cooler temperatures in one room, while a family member enjoys warmer temperatures in another.
Additionally, you will save money by not having to pay high fuel bills that come with powering a standard cooling/heating source. This system's incredible efficiency is can easily be seen in the low utility costs you will have to pay.
With the easy installation of ductless mini-splits, any construction is minimized greatly. There is rarely a need for opening walls, constructing soffits to hide ductwork, or even creating a ductwork system at all. This allows many homes to maintain their current infrastructure and design without any major alterations.
Lastly, the space saved by choosing ductless mini-splits is huge. If going this route, all you need is roughly a 3'x1' space on a wall. There is no need to occupy closets or create soffits to contain ductwork.
While ductless splits provide many positives, there are of course still concerns for some homeowners -- one being the visibility of the unit. Ductless splits take up a relatively small space (as mentioned above), however the idea of a unit on the wall can still be displeasing to some. Mitsubishi offers other models like recessed ceiling cassettes or low wall units as well, but these models present similar issues.
Another disadvantage is cost. Mitsubishi Hyper-Heat ductless mini-splits require a somewhat large upfront cost, but when looking at long term efficiency savings and the very similar cost of alternatives, the cost of ductless proves to be worth it.
Why Should I Choose Replacing My Boiler and Adding Conventional Air Conditioning?
This is another great question. Both a boiler and conventional ducted air conditioning each provide their own pros and cons. For boilers, we'll take a look at the existing system, its longevity, and its domestic hot water production. For conventional ducted AC, we'll see size/range and integration of indoor air quality (IAQ) products.
Existing boiler system
Having an existing baseboard/cast iron radiator or radiant floor heating system already in place makes removing a boiler hard to argue. If all the equipment is in place, added costs may be incurred to make the switch. So being able to replace the existing boiler with an upgraded version while maintaining existing equipment makes this option attractive.
Boilers are known for their longevity. As long as they are installed correctly and maintained, most boilers are capable of lasting for a few decades! However, Mitsubishi ductless-split systems also have a long lifetime under similar conditions.
Domestic Hot Water Production
Another pro of a boiler is its hot water production. When replacing a boiler with ductless mini-splits, the addition of a domestic water heater is needed. A boiler is able to heat your home as well as make your water hot, presenting an upside with keeping the boiler.
Standard ducted AC
The ability to have a large sized conventional air conditioning system is an upside as well. In a larger home, you may need five or more mini-splits to cool the area, whereas with a ducted central air system, one large air handler and condenser are capable of doing the job. Similarly, the ducted system typically has the capability and range to reach every room.
Finally, ducted air conditioning systems have a lengthy list of compatible indoor air quality products. Whole-home media filters, air scrubbers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers can all be applied to ducted systems. Ductless mini-splits have some capabilities, but cannot compete with conventional AC here.
This option of a boiler and standard AC does also have its cons. Boilers tend to have more expensive replacement parts, take a longer time to react to a change in the thermostat, obviously do not have a 'cooling' ability, and present the chance of a leak. Standard AC adds a higher utility cost, requires duct maintenance, and typically only has single-zone control.
What is the Difference in Cost?
Here, we will look at a recent project to create a cost comparison of each option.
For this project, we are looking at a 1,700 square foot Philadelphia rowhome. The home has a living room, kitchen, and smaller back office on the first floor. On the second floor, there are two bedrooms and a bathroom.
To design a Mitsubishi Hyper-Heat ductless mini-split system in this home, take into account the different rooms, open areas, and priority areas. Both second floor bedrooms, the first floor room, and living room/kitchen each may require their own indoor ductless unit. In homes similar to this, we are typically able to use one larger unit to satisfy the load in the kitchen and living room.
With that example, we are at four indoor units and one outdoor heat pump. Roughly, this puts the cost between $18,000-$20,000. This would also require the addition of a water heater, most likely in the range of $1,500-$2,000 .
Boiler and conventional AC
In comparison, the cost of replacing an existing boiler with a newer, similar model would be approximately $6,000-$8,000. If there is a preference for a high-efficiency boiler, the price would rise considerably.
For the air conditioning, the addition and installation of ductwork, an air handler, and an outdoor condenser would be required. The approximate cost of this would be between $12,000-$13,000.
Mitsubishi Hyper Heat Ductless Mini-Split system: $19,500-$22,000
Boiler and Standard Ducted Air Conditioning: $18,000-$21,000
Yes, the ductless system presents a slightly higher upfront cost, but the two total project costs are very similar in price. This truly allows you, as the homeowner, to make a decision based completely upon preference. Weighing the pros and cons of each system will allow you to make an educated decision to create your ideal comfort system.
But, Why Not Both?
Another great question!
Another fantastic option is combining a boiler for heating and ductless mini-split system for cooling. If your home already has existing radiators, this could be a great option as well. Upgrading your existing boiler and adding ductless for cooling will generate an equally comfortable system, while still giving you that zoned control.
Here, the ductless will come in at a lower cost with a standard heat pump and will still be able to provide supplemental heat for the milder months, causing your boiler to fire less often. Remember, the most efficient boiler is one that isn't running!
Whether you want to replace your boiler and add ductwork, go with ductless mini-splits, or use a combination of both, each option will provide a tailored solution for your type of home and needs as a homeowner.