Our homeowners in Ocean City, NJ, ran into the same problem every summer: They’d rent out the second floor of their duplex and get complaints about how hot it was. Even with the air conditioning on, that apartment was never comfortable.
After putting up with this feedback for years, they began looking for ways to fix it. But, they wanted to do it without tearing the place apart to put in new ductwork or spending a fortune on something only “sort of” worked.
Then, they called us here at Broadley’s. We took a look at the home and gave them the suggestion that would solve their problem.
In this case study, we’ll see:
- Why these rooms were always too hot
- How ductless cooling solved the problem
- How our homeowners saved a lot of money
Problem: A beautiful duplex with big windows and cathedral ceilings never got cool enough in the summer. There was too much sunlight, and the high ceiling trapped the heat.
Solution: Installed a Mitsubishi ductless mini split with an air handler on the second floor. This unit supplements the forced-air system to keep the big rooms cool all summer. They also offer supplemental heat for the fall and spring.
Why the Second Floor of an Ocean City, NJ Duplex Was Always Too Hot
There were two major reasons why the second floor was always too hot in this Ocean City, NJ duplex. The first was merely the fact that it was the second floor. The other was the high cathedral ceilings.
Let’s look at both, and then we’ll see how our homeowner finally fixed the problem.
Whether it’s a one-family home or split into apartments, the second story of a house is generally hotter in the summer than the one below it. The cause is simple physics: Hot air rises.
In this case, heat passes from the first floor to the second. But, it stops there. Outside, the roof is hot as well. That means the heat has nowhere to go (there’s a little more to say about thermodynamics, but that’s the gist of it).
As a result, the top floor is always the hottest. And the high ceilings didn’t help.
Sure, the cathedral style opened up the living room. It made this second-floor apartment feel like its own house. But, it also trapped even more heat.
We mentioned how the heat rises until it reaches the ceiling. Well, a high ceiling means it can hold more heat. That means the air conditioner has a lot more work to do up there. A lot of times, it just doesn’t have enough power.
Instead, all that cooling gets gobbled up by the excess heat. No matter how high you set it, things never get to the temperature you want.
That’s what our homeowners dealt with year after year, complaint after complaint — until they learned about something new.
Ductless Cooling in the Second Floor of a Duplex
Ductless cooling combines the best of both worlds when it comes to air conditioning: It offers you the power of central air with the pinpoint treatment of a wall unit. And, it costs way less to run than either of those solutions. For second-floor apartments, it’s a perfect combination.
We usually refer to these systems as “mini splits” because they consist of two parts: A heat pump outside, and an air handler in the room or area you’re treating.
The air handler takes care of circulating the air. It draws in warmth, dehumidifies the air, and sends the heat outside.
The heat pump expels that thermal energy, sending only cool air back to the air handler.
So, how does it work without ducts and vents?
The secret is a lineset that runs in behind the walls like your electrical wires. The tubing in there contains refrigerant running in a closed loop between the components. It carries the heat from one place to another without requiring virtually any room.
That’s how we can place these components wherever we need them. Now, let’s see how it fits into this home.
Ductless Mini Split Installation in an Ocean City, NJ Duplex
Our homeowners went with a simple 1:1 system: One heat pump, one air handler. If they wanted to, they could have added more handlers to take of the whole house. But, they were looking to treat a problem room in this duplex. Here’s how we did it.
First, we installed the air handler in what would likely be the hottest spot in the place: High up on the wall, near the door and in between a window and a skylight.
Of course, that’s not the only spot where there’s a problem. But that’s fine, too.
Each air handler uses sensors and specialized fans to direct the cooled air wherever it needs to go. So, it’ll cover that whole ceiling area from its perch.
And, in this case, installing the heat pump was amazingly simple. We just put it right on the other side of the wall!
This part of the ceiling was above another section of the roof. So, we tucked the outdoor unit right in the corner there.
Now, the second floor of this duplex is always at the right temperature. The thermostat on the air handler monitors the heat right in this room, all the time. And, it works to make sure it’s correct.
Saving Money With Ductless Cooling
On the one hand, there’s a considerable upfront cost for a system like this (we go into the details here). On the other, our homeowners knocked a lot off that price from the get-go. And, with interest-free financing and drastically lower energy bills, they’ll hardly notice the cost.
First, we made sure our homeowners applied for a rebate through New Jersey Clean Energy. This group offers cash incentives for people who install energy-efficient appliances in their homes.
A ductless mini split fit the bill — and earned them $1,000 off the price.
Next, our homeowners chose a Hyper Heat system. Essentially it works in reverse during the winter: Taking heat from outside and using it to warm the room.
Even if it’s as low as negative 13 degree — which is way colder than the Jersey shore ever gets — it can work just as well or better than a furnace.
In summer and winter, especially, it uses significantly less energy than AC or the forced-air gas furnace that handles the rest of the house.
This means they’re chopping down their energy bills, and paying just a little each month for the units themselves. Soon, the mini split will begin paying for itself with lower expenses.
Does this sound like a solution that would fit the heating and cooling problems in your home? If so, call or email us here at Broadley’s today! Starting with a no-commitment, free consultation, we’ll help you determine the best way to deal with a problem room, or re-imagine the comfort for your entire house.