Just bought a house with in-ceiling heat...should I replace with mini splits or get ducting?

Leonard Washington

OT Supporter
Aug 15, 2004
38,834
-5F? Ok, so if it gets to -31F it's probably not gonna work.

It still works, just not as efficiently. It’s a marginal percentage and even at reduced efficiency it’s still more efficient than electric heat. I had one in my old house for 5 years and never touched the electric heat after it was installed. I have one now and it’s fucking great.
 
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Samcanadian

Samcanadian

Said Amazon
Jul 30, 2005
45,101
Winnipeg
a mini split does not need ducting. you would put 1 small head in every bedroom and medium size heads in living areas. kitchen, living mainly.

those heads can then provide Cooling and heat.

this is a common thing to do on older houses with no ducting. you're unique in having 100% access from below to properly duct it with no second floor to worry about.
you're also kinda unique to my experience in the US with only using electric. most places will use oil/propane for heat when NG isnt supplied.
We get electricity pretty cheap here in Winnipeg, as Manitoba makes a ton of its own electricity. I'd obviously prefer LNG because it's hotter and quicker, but Electricity isn't the end of the world if we're using it as supplemental in the winter. The thing is, I don't want to pay a TON for it if I only need to use it when the fire place isn't going. Vacation, night time and occasionaly days here and there it will do the bulk of the work, but generalyl I make a fire for my family before I leave for work in the morning and my wife tends it all day. We keep it at about 75-76 degrees all winter long in our current house due to the wood stove.

This is the property we're moving to. We'll have wood forever.

tR3HCYZl.png
 
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Samcanadian

Samcanadian

Said Amazon
Jul 30, 2005
45,101
Winnipeg
so in the new systems you will have a heat pump. that works to basically 0F. when the system detects it can't keep up using the heat pump it triggers secondary heat strips. these suck power down BUT provide enough heat even when its cold cold out.
Ok, that makes sense. It's just that little extra boost needed to get it over the hump. So, for the fall/spring months when it dips below freezing at night, that's when the heat pump really shines. It's the depth of winter (Jan/Feb) where it's going to be using the turbo boost to help it deal with the ultra low temps.

Can you explain to me how it makes the heat? I just don't understand the technology at all.
 

whatever

OT Supporter
Feb 18, 2004
212,941
We get electricity pretty cheap here in Winnipeg, as Manitoba makes a ton of its own electricity. I'd obviously prefer LNG because it's hotter and quicker, but Electricity isn't the end of the world if we're using it as supplemental in the winter. The thing is, I don't want to pay a TON for it if I only need to use it when the fire place isn't going. Vacation, night time and occasionaly days here and there it will do the bulk of the work, but generalyl I make a fire for my family before I leave for work in the morning and my wife tends it all day. We keep it at about 75-76 degrees all winter long in our current house due to the wood stove.

This is the property we're moving to. We'll have wood forever.

tR3HCYZl.png

if it was me i'd put in heat pump mini splits then do some baseboard resistive heaters for oh shit its cold out. i'd set them to only turn on at like 50F. that would mean you are away, the fire is dead and the heat pump can't keep up.
 
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whatever

OT Supporter
Feb 18, 2004
212,941
Ok, that makes sense. It's just that little extra boost needed to get it over the hump. So, for the fall/spring months when it dips below freezing at night, that's when the heat pump really shines. It's the depth of winter (Jan/Feb) where it's going to be using the turbo boost to help it deal with the ultra low temps.

Can you explain to me how it makes the heat? I just don't understand the technology at all.

you know how AC works?

makes it cold inside by moving the heat outside?

its that EXACT process, but in reverse. it takes heat from outside and moves it inside.
 
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Samcanadian

Samcanadian

Said Amazon
Jul 30, 2005
45,101
Winnipeg
Ok, I'm getting it now. I originally couldn't figure out the heat to cold and cold to heat thing, but it's more the process of what happens when water turns to vapor, and the energy it draws from etc that makes the heat rather than the ambient heat itself.
 
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Leonard Washington

OT Supporter
Aug 15, 2004
38,834
l

if it was me i'd put in heat pump mini splits then do some baseboard resistive heaters for oh shit its cold out. i'd set them to only turn on at like 50F. that would mean you are away, the fire is dead and the heat pump can't keep up.

This is exactly what I did. Programmable thermostats for the elec baseboard at 51-52.

I paid 5500 for an 18k btu daikin and it paid for itself in like 3.5 years
 
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whatever

OT Supporter
Feb 18, 2004
212,941
Ok, I'm getting it now. I originally couldn't figure out the heat to cold and cold to heat thing, but it's more the process of what happens when water turns to vapor, and the energy it draws from etc that makes the heat rather than the ambient heat itself.

i mean yes. thats how AC works. a phase transfer from liquid to gas. do it one way and the heat leaves the house. reverse the process and heat enters the house.
 
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Samcanadian

Samcanadian

Said Amazon
Jul 30, 2005
45,101
Winnipeg
So where does the energy costs come in with the heat pump. Is it just the compressor that is needed to run to make it work, as well as an air handler vs actual electric coils, which is why it's so much cheaper?
 
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Samcanadian

Samcanadian

Said Amazon
Jul 30, 2005
45,101
Winnipeg
So I have this house with a huge wide open concept living/dining/kitchen, and then I have a wing where I've got the bedrooms.

How do I make sure all four bedrooms have heat in them. Do I need four units for them, and then one for the main living area?
 

whatever

OT Supporter
Feb 18, 2004
212,941
So where does the energy costs come in with the heat pump. Is it just the compressor that is needed to run to make it work, as well as an air handler vs actual electric coils, which is why it's so much cheaper?

yup exactly.

when you use resistive/coil heat its directly making heat. 1kwh energy in is 1kwh of heat.(in reality measured as BTUs)

by letting the pump compress and phase change you get 2-4x the kwh/but out of the same kwh of input.

given how far north you are it seems like a no brainer to reduce your electric cost.
 

whatever

OT Supporter
Feb 18, 2004
212,941
So I have this house with a huge wide open concept living/dining/kitchen, and then I have a wing where I've got the bedrooms.

How do I make sure all four bedrooms have heat in them. Do I need four units for them, and then one for the main living area?

in the ducted mini split option i would do with 2 units.

in the regualar mini split you would have 1 head in each bedroom, then 1 head in kitchen and 1 in living area. (could do just 1 big head but i wouldn't)
 
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borazhasleftthebuilding

half black lives matter, too
OT Supporter
Feb 11, 2005
123,636
in da forest
And is a heatpump the same thing as geothermal, or is that something different?
Geothermal is ground source heat pump

Mini splits are air source heat pump, they take the heat from the outside air and transfer it inside

Colder than -30c it ain't gonna work, but above those temps they are 3x more efficient than just electric heat, they're essentially turbos for electric heat

Fun fact-- theres heat outside at 20c right? Well theres 85% of that same heat available at -18c

As you get colder the efficiency drops
 

borazhasleftthebuilding

half black lives matter, too
OT Supporter
Feb 11, 2005
123,636
in da forest
Sheesh, I could get $5,000 back from the Province for one of these...

Ground source heat pump is gold standard but also the highest cost to implement but then lowest cost to run forever
 
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Samcanadian

Samcanadian

Said Amazon
Jul 30, 2005
45,101
Winnipeg
in the ducted mini split option i would do with 2 units.

in the regualar mini split you would have 1 head in each bedroom, then 1 head in kitchen and 1 in living area. (could do just 1 big head but i wouldn't)
Ok, this is really interesting. I'm going to approach a dealer here in the city and see what he quotes me. Very curious as to how much this is going to cost me, and what the long term savings would be. I'm sure there's an easy way to calculate it, but Ill wait to see what he quotes me first.

Another thing is that we're going to be doing serious renovations to this house, and we'll have a lot of moving walls, etc. How is the future-proofing for the mini splits/moving the heads etc? Like, one of the problems with ANY heating solution is we need to tell them where to put the heads/ducts etc for the winter coming up, but they might move as we continue to renovate.
 

borazhasleftthebuilding

half black lives matter, too
OT Supporter
Feb 11, 2005
123,636
in da forest
Ok, I'm getting it now. I originally couldn't figure out the heat to cold and cold to heat thing, but it's more the process of what happens when water turns to vapor, and the energy it draws from etc that makes the heat rather than the ambient heat itself.
It's air conditioning reversed, there's just a valve to change refrigerant direction
 

whatever

OT Supporter
Feb 18, 2004
212,941
Ok, this is really interesting. I'm going to approach a dealer here in the city and see what he quotes me. Very curious as to how much this is going to cost me, and what the long term savings would be. I'm sure there's an easy way to calculate it, but Ill wait to see what he quotes me first.

Another thing is that we're going to be doing serious renovations to this house, and we'll have a lot of moving walls, etc. How is the future-proofing for the mini splits/moving the heads etc? Like, one of the problems with ANY heating solution is we need to tell them where to put the heads/ducts etc for the winter coming up, but they might move as we continue to renovate.

it depends for costs. moving a register can sometimes be super easy and quick. and sometimes not...
moving a mini split is always an evac and lineset work.
 

spooled2.2

fuck off real life flanders
OT Supporter
Mar 1, 2002
44,710
Rancho Relaxo
What kind of idiot put coils on the ceiling. They are supposed to go on the floor and you wear special shoes.
 
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Samcanadian

Samcanadian

Said Amazon
Jul 30, 2005
45,101
Winnipeg
Geothermal is ground source heat pump

Mini splits are air source heat pump, they take the heat from the outside air and transfer it inside

Colder than -30c it ain't gonna work, but above those temps they are 3x more efficient than just electric heat, they're essentially turbos for electric heat

Fun fact-- theres heat outside at 20c right? Well theres 85% of that same heat available at -18c

As you get colder the efficiency drops
Winnipeg has on average 798 hours out of 8760 total hours per year (9%) which the temperature is below -20 C.

Sooo that means that you'd only need supplemental heat running for 9% of the year?
 

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