Proper Design For Ductless and Ducted HVAC Systems

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Three HVAC design experts discuss considerations when specifying and designing ducted and ductless mini-split and heat pump systems.
Photo courtesy Mitsubishi Electric

In the building science and performance construction space, there is often confusion on how to properly design the layout and placement of mini-split and heat pump systems. With this technology ever rising in popularity due to its efficiency, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the technical details. What better way to learn than to hear directly from three industry pros? 

Chad Gillespie, senior manager of performance construction, Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS), Allison Bailes, owner of Energy Vanguard and John Semmelhack, builder and owner of Think Little, joined forces on a recent episode of the HVAC School for Techs by Techs Podcast to discuss Proper Design for Ductless and Ducted HVAC Systems.

Whether homeowners choose ducted systems, ductless or a hybrid mix of both, the trio wanted to provide guidance, sharing helpful tips for heating and air-conditioning contractors and applicable anecdotes. 

A few topic highlights covered during the lively discussion include:

  • Ensuring load calculations are correct: To specify mini-split and high-performance heat pump systems correctly, the application has to be sized correctly with a proper energy load calculation. The project’s climate zone is particularly important for this calculation.
  • Designing heating and cooling for retrofit projects: The reality is, most heating and air-conditioning technicians will be designing ductless and ducted systems for a home renovation or upgrade, not a new construction project. Repairing ductwork and the home’s thermal envelope are essential to retrofits to negate any potential air loss and wasted energy.
  • Debunking design misconceptions about mini-splits: With proper design, there should never be a wall-mounted indoor unit in every room. Load calculations and intended home usage should help the HVAC contractor understand where to best set up zones and equipment. 

Joined by podcast host Bryan Orr, these highly-regarded subject matter experts provide thorough technical guidance that can help you on your next project that involves mini-split or heat pump systems. Another podcast episode you may way to check out: Heat Pumps in Cold Climates. This episode also featuring Chad Gillespie debunks myths associated with high-performance heat pumps and discusses how today’s modern heat pump systems are an effective solution in cold-climate regions.