As Herb Craddock found out, there are many unique uses for ductless air conditioning and heating. In the spring of 2002, Craddock enclosed the 300-square-foot screened porch on the back of his house in Charlottesville, Va. One unbearable summer later, in the spring of 2003, Herb and his wife, June, started searching for a cooling and heating solution for the enclosed porch, otherwise referred to as the Florida room. Even with a ceiling fan, it was uncomfortable in the summer, and it was much too cold in the winter.

Discovering A Solution

As it happened, June's cousin, Bob Barclay, a 35-year HVAC veteran, stopped by the house. The Craddocks took Barclay out to the back porch and described their dilemma, to which Barclay had an immediate answer: a ductless mini-split unit.

In this particular application, Barclay recommended a Mr. Slim® Model MSZ12UN from Mitsubishi Electric HVAC. According to the company, the unit features inverter compressor technology, consisting of a variable-frequency drive, designed to use less energy while still maintaining precise temperature set point. What's more, the MSZ12UN heat pump system meets the new U.S. Department of Energy's 13 SEER requirements, which take effect Jan. 23, 2006.

The Craddocks were thrilled with Barclay's solution, purchased the equipment from a distributor in Springfield, Va., and had it installed by a local company, R.E. Boggs Inc.

Everything's A-OK

"Tickled to death," is the way Craddock described his appreciation for the installed system, which the homeowners have enjoyed over two summers and winters. "Except for a few days in the spring when we throw open the windows, we keep our new friend Mr. Slim running 24/7," said Craddock. "With glass on three sides, our back porch is now our favorite room.

"We entertain in it constantly. I have my breakfast, coffee, and paper there each morning. June treats it almost like a greenhouse; her plants love the constant temperature, too! It runs so quietly, you don't even know it is on."

According to the couple, the system's 13 SEER efficiency rating has helped them keep electric bills low.

"The only maintenance I have had to do is an annual cleaning of the air filter," said Craddock. "The outdoor compressor unit sits under our porch floor so you can't even see it from the outside. And with Mitsubishi's line-set cladding, the pipes and wires coming into the house are totally out of sight; they look like part of the rain gutter system.

"I guess you would say we are very happy and comfortable with our new addition," Craddock concluded.

For the Hoosick Valley Church project, contractor Alan Ethier opted to install the VRV-S system (pictured above) from Daikin.

Cool Church, Too

Parishioners of Hoosick Valley Church, located in Schaghticoke, N.Y., are just as appreciative of their expanded surroundings, thanks to ductless A/C. The church, which is close to Albany, expanded in order to accommodate the growth in its membership, and it turned to Advanced Heating and Cooling for a highly efficient cooling system to meet its needs and varying loads.

Alan Ethier, owner of the Saratoga Springs, N.Y., contracting firm, took on the challenge of providing the best solution for the newly converted narthex and new worship hall.

According to Ethier, the needs of the church were to "minimize the number of outdoor units, supply the highest possible efficiency under the varying loads, and the use of R410A." An additional challenge, he said, was the need to run the refrigerant lines far enough to accommodate the large worship hall.

Ethier remembered a product seminar at F. W. Webb, which distributes the Daikin family of products throughout New England and upstate New York. During the seminar, held at the distributor's Albany branch, Daikin's VRV and VRV-S product technology was presented. Ethier figured he had his solution for the Hoosick Valley Church project.

Ethier chose the manufacturer's VRV-S system, which consisted of two Model RXYMQ48MVJU (48,000 Btuh) single-phase condensers, each connected to two Model FXAQ24MVJU (24,000 Btuh) wall-mounted units and one Model FXAQ12MVJU (12,000 Btuh) wall-mounted unit.

The fact the system allowed piping lengths of up to 1,000 feet helped make the selection process easier. The VRV-S product is designed to utilize inverter technology in both the compressor and condenser fan section. This enables such long pipe lengths, high efficiencies, and up to five indoor units connected to one condenser, explained the manufacturer.

The low sound levels associated with the indoor and outdoor units - another benefit of inverter technology, explained Ethier - allow parishioners to enjoy the comfort of central cooling without any noticeable operating sound to interfere with the activities in and around the church.

Locating one of the indoor units in the newly renovated narthex provides church parishioners individual control to this area. Meanwhile, the other remote-controlled units were placed outside the worship hall in order to maintain the church's aesthetics.

Publication date: 06/20/2005