Saturday, May 17, 2008

Small Space Summer Living: Ductless Air Conditioning


As summer approaches and hot days return, I find myself thinking about those dog days of summer. I generally like summer, the sun, the trees, but not so much the heat and humidity. In some regions and for certain segments of the population, air conditioning is a necessity.

Just how you get high-quality and efficient AC in a small space is sometime a real feat. There are several options for real whole-house or whole-space AC. The main examples of permanent AC all involve ductwork. Ductwork equals less living space. In my small modest 1860’s row house, closets are fairly slim and the thought of giving up even a small portion of them for return-air ducts is out of the question.

For the last several years we have used in-window AC units — the house is only around 650 – 700 square feet on each floor so the do cool it fairly well. But there is the laundry list of problems associated with the units. Here, in the Historical District, where I live they are prohibited in all but the secluded rear windows of our homes. They are also ugly. Oh yea, and they drip-drip-drip water.

When recently visiting the Home Show, I found several ductless AC options. I like the Fujitsu Halcyon system over the other competitive models.

Fujitsu makes a wide array of systems from 9,000 BTU to 36,000 BTU. They have wall or ceiling mount options and a slue of features. These systems have a smaller unit that is located close to the inside wall unit and connected with very small copper tubes. Some of the options include: quiet mode, a wireless remote, a high quality plasma air filter, and timers.

The outdoor component of the Fujitsu system can also be used to control multiple indoor wall units for true zoning. With this process, it is much less expensive and more efficient to cool only the space you use.

They are also available in heat-pump models so in some mild climates they may be all the heating you need. In the northeast, where I live, they could help lower gas bills, but could not handle the dead of winter.

If you need to cool a small space and don’t want to give up a window, these systems may be the perfect solution.


Debbie said...

This would be great. I was always bothered that the standard window AC units block all the sun light. The room always felt smaller too.