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Question DetailsAsked on 4/25/2014

Has anyone had experience with high velocity air conditioners or ductl? Can't put standard ducts in my 1920's home

House built in 1920. Radiators with hot water and radiant heat. Need A/C. Wondered if anyone had experience with ductless split systems vs high velocity systems such as Unico. Not a lot of wall space - lots of windows. Looking to cool first and second floor. Have an unfinished full attic.

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4 Answers


On a retrofit like this, either would work - but high velocity ducting is almost certainly going to cost more, has noise issues in MANY cases, and has more losses of cold air where they don't do you any good. My off the cuff answer would be to go with conventional central compressor with zoned gas tubing to individual area evaporator/fan units - called mini splits by many, meaning has mini-evaporator/fan units in each service zone, splitting off the central compressor/condenser unit.


That way, instead of tearing the house up running ducting, you just have small holes to run the gas tubing and wiring - MUCH less disruptive, and while generally more expensive in new construction, can be about same price or cheaper in retrofits.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


A ductless mini split is the most efficient and the newer inverter units have a very low operating cost. The issue with mini splits is air distribution as they use a outside wall mounted air unit or cassete. The challenge is placement of the air unit and distributing the air to a closed door bedroom. HV systems use small diameter distribution ducts so easier to run through closets and walls. You will find most contractors will opt for an attic placement air handler as 2nd floor ceiling registers are easier to install and 1st floor ductwork through closets. Mini splits will also heat at a low cost.

The BIG issue installing A/C in an older home with minimal insulation and lots of air infiltration is short cycling... The unit cannot maintain temp due to poor insulation/air leakage so it constantly turns on and off... So, take care of the insulation/air leakage first before andy A/C investment...Make sure the contractor does a heat A/C load analysis.

Answered 6 years ago by hosey


The ductless split heat pumps are the best, especially one's that leverage inverter technology (instead of cycling on/off they VARY output). Super efficient as nothing is lost in vents. They are also very quiet. I'd recommend fujitsu or mitsubishi. We have 2 fujitsu units. We have a victorian so ductwork also makes no sense and the high velocity stuff is often noisy and expensive.

The downside is you will have a unit mounted on the wall. But if that's ok then you will have a great system. We spent $5000 to put in a dual mini split (2 12,000 btu units with shared 24,000 condenser). Quotes ran from 4750 to 6500 for the EXACT same stuff. Shop around! Do it now and you'll save. hvac guys have less to do this time of year.

fujitsu has a listing of trained contractors on their site. You would want someone who does these regularly, not just 1-3 a year, otherwise you could get a guy that doesn't know how to properly install them and end up w/ clogged drain lines, etc.

This is a good time to make sure that you seal up all penetrations from the top floor to the attic with spray foam and caulk (wires, lights, cracks). And augment if needed your attic insulation. try and make sure that NO air can go directly from your top floor into your attic. $20-30 of spray foam and caulk goes a long way to helping to keep your home comfortable. (must be fire-rated).

good luck!

Answered 6 years ago by Jefferson


We installed a space pack system in an 1800s farm house. It was a nightmare! The baby's bedroom was so cold at night, I had to bring him into my room to sleep, even after many many visits from the installer to "rebalance" the system. I would avoid the high pressure, mini ducts

Answered 3 years ago by Nadine6743

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