Jump to content

Mini splits


Matt Kirsch
 Share

Recommended Posts

Anyone with experience with a mini split heat pump? Specifically a "low ambient" heat pump?

I moved back to the farm to take care of Mom when Dad died almost a year ago. Mom passed last September, but I'm still living at the farm while we decide what to do with the estate. There's still a dog and lots of stuff around that someone needs to keep an eye on. This may or may not become permanent.

Mom was always hot due to her various health issues. Dad was frugal so he just lived with being cold. I'm sick of being cold.

There's a wood stove but it's just not enough when it gets below 20. It's hard to regulate and seems to throw less heat as the temperature drops. When it's 30 it'll drive you out of the house. When it's 10 you have to hug it to tell if it's burning. There is also an oil furnace but that costs upwards of $100 a day to run.  ($4/gal fuel, 1 gallon per cycle, 1 cycle per hour, $100 close enough).

The house needs windows, insulation, etc. but I'm thinking a mini split in the main room might be a good stopgap measure. Anything that would add warmth to the house without burning oil.

Oh and if we need a contrivance to make it "on topic" this will keep me from freezing to death so that I may continue to contribute IH knowledge to this forum and gain IH knowledge from this forum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, acem said:

Heat pumps don't work that well below freezing in my experience.

According to my research these "low ambient" heat pumps will still make heat at -14F without a heat strip.

 

1 minute ago, iowaboy1965 said:

Matt I didn't realize your parents had passed. My belated condolences.

Thanks. I didn't publicize it so there was no way you'd know unless you read the obits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We’re putting an electric window unit in our garage so that the wife has a warm car in the winter. We put one in the upstairs of our rental house and the tenants didn’t complain about the electric bill. It’s also an air conditioner, so that’s a bonus. They run $900 at Lowe’s when we bought it about a year ago 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We put one in 5 years ago for the A/C mostly.  When the heat side kicked in it did not do well below 25 deg F.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear about you Mom and Dad, Heat pumps are very popular here in northern Maine in fact no one wants a new home without them I'm told the newer ones will work as low as -20 either way most of us run wood back up or oil or propane they work very well and are efficient not many problems 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You just need to specify a "cold climate" mini split. The inverter drive heat pump is good to -15 to -20 or so. .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i like the mini splits - the low ambient would be the way to go in your climate also with the colder temps there more often - sorry to hear about losing your folks 

i have two recirculating heat pumps and one ptac heat pump and like all of them, my cousin has two mini splits w/heat pump exactly like you are talking about and they run down to below zero, 

i had my adjusted down to lower temps they will run down to about zero before they kick in the strips unless you run the thermostat up and it turns them on - the only thing u might not like is the fact they put out cool feeling air to our body because they are not like a hot forced air type furnace - totally different sensation in case you havent been around one. If you want a warm heat sensation I would not get one. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Matt,  I have nothing to add to the thread, but I kinda feel like through the forum I sorta know ya, and just wanted to express my condolences about your folks. 

It's tough losing your parents.  

 

Now carry on with your heat quandary hopefully you can find something that works for you.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry about your folks. Mine have been gone a long time and I still miss them.

I have had several heat pumps. The one in my house was top of the line efficiency 12 years ago. It will make heat below freezing but it runs alot... if it's below freezing I run a small lpg space heater.

Thx-Ace 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My condolences on losing your parents. 

I dont have any input on heat pumps, but we have replaced our oil furnaces with propane and very happy. My old oil furnace would easily go through 15 gallon of fuel a day in a 1400 sq ft house. I can't say for sure on the propane use because it is back up heat for our outdoor wood boiler. I run the propane until it gets below 40, then I fire up the wood stove until it gets above 40. We remodeled and now heat 2900 sq ft., the two to three months a year we heat the whole house and all winter heating the 800 sq ft grand room uses about 350 gallon propane for the year, but new insulation, windows and doors now too. 

Good luck with your decision, a cold house sucks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, acem said:

Be aware the outside coils will freeze up when it rains and the temperatures are in the 30s.

My new air source Bosch heat pump will defrost under those conditions. It reverse cycles long enough to melt the coils off - sends up a cloud of steam, then carries on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know about mini splits. I just converted the house to dual fuel - heat pump with propane backup. At 21f the heat pump stops and it's strictly propane backup. The old system was a combination wood/oil furnace that worked well enough, especially on wood but I'm done with wood. Electric bill is up approximately $200/month running heat pump; not too much propane usage. Propane usage is hard to quantify as we use a gas fireplace almost every night in the living room as there's a heat distribution issue and insulation issue to sort still.

NH electric rates are high. If your rates are low then a mini may work well. If electric resistance backup the meter will torque off the wall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a heat pump with propane backup.   I’m not sure about the mini split but mine is set to work down to 20 degrees.   I was told after that the efficiency goes away and you are spending money for little return.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the flue is good, maybe consider a better wood stove?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, New Englander said:

My new air source Bosch heat pump will defrost under those conditions. It reverse cycles long enough to melt the coils off - sends up a cloud of steam, then carries on.

When mine starts doing this it's efficiency goes way down.

Can you tighten up your house so you don't lose so much heat?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heat pumps are a great addition and a good investment in a house you plan to keep, I personally think Of them as the final step. If you are in limbo, and looking for inexpensive heat in one room I would put in some electric baseboard, electricity is not free, but nothing else is either, the equipment is cheap and would serve as a great supplement to heat pumps if you chose to do that later if that becomes a permanent situation. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, acem said:

Can you tighten up your house so you don't lose so much heat?

Well, it's a lot tighter than when we bought it 30 years ago. Some rooms had zero insulation and the original 19th century windows. That said, yeah, it needs more attention. We joked that there was no way to keep a candle lit in some rooms on a windy night.

The rooms I stripped to the studs got 4" insulation plus 1/2" isocyanurate under the blue board. Top floors got 1" isocyanurate over whatever fiberglass insulation would fit in the joists or rafters.

My biggest problem is in the living room where there's a bay window over an inaccessible space. It was added after the original 1852 house probably burned down early on and the house was rebuilt, still in the 19th century. I know that area of floor is a real heat loss and I don't really know how I'm going to address it. When burning wood it really didn't matter.

My immediate action is going to be new storm doors then there's one room with the original windows still. It has some insulation but needs more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, vtfireman85 said:

electric baseboard

I used them in a basement room we finished for a playroom. They're easy to install and heat very fast if not the most economical.

The purpose of the heat pump, of course, was to have central air after the last few summers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, New Englander said:

I know that area of floor is a real heat loss and I don't really know how I'm going to address it.

Call an outfit that does closed cell spray foam. They can drill a few holes in the floor in inconspicuous places and jet expanding foam in the cavity.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, New Englander said:

My biggest problem is in the living room where there's a bay window over an inaccessible space.

inaccessible, or inconvenient? i assume it is wired? the got them in there somehow. if you really cant crawl in check out the floor, houses wired after construction often have had floorboards taken up, you usually can get them up again without much damage, particularly if it is somewhat rustic. we will often take up second floor floor boards when rewiring, the damage is minimal and once you have exposed open joist bays, the world is your oyster. if you can open up even a small hole there those insulation guys can work with it. I've seen amazing stuff...that said.. no time like before insulation to rewire that area.. first things first, see what a rabbit hole this can be? 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...