How people lived in Houston before air conditioning is a bit beyond me but they did and some lived in pretty extravagant homes. This specific job was performed in Riverside Terrace, south of downtown Houston on the east side of 288. A historic area that is beginning to have a come back. Many of these homes are the same era as those originally built for River Oaks. Though over time most were not was well cared for but now the area is surging back.
Since these were home not built with central A/C, adding Air conditioning poses a challenge. The materials and design from the turn of the 20th century did not have Central Air in mind. Fortunately, ductless mini splits are available for settings like these. Ductless mini splits dominate the rest of the world for several reasons.
Cost is fairly reasonable.
They are highly efficient
Can be installed almost anywhere
Specs on This Mini Split System
We installed an LG 17 SEER single zone inverter unit. It is a 24,000 BTU system with 2 tons of cooling power. This particular mini split is also capable of heating the room when run in a reverse cycle. Operates on 208/230 electrical to the outdoor unit. The maximum noise level when the fan speed is on high is 45 db. In low speed this drops down to 35 db which is very quiet. Dimensions are 40 inches wide, 12 inches tall, and 9 inches deep.
Observations from installing a Ductless Mini Split on a historic home
Proper tools are key
Appropriate covering is essential
Be ready for the unexpected
Speaking to the tooling, the walls of a home like this are solid. No sheet rock or insulation here. Just a solid wall with brick, plaster and heavy wire. To get through this we had to go through several batteries on our tools. In the end this hole was sufficient and still provided a very solid look.
As for the aesthetic – we had originally planned on routing the line set and cover on the exterior of the home from right to left. Instead we were able to route directly down and underneath the house to the condensing unit since the home is a pier and beam structure. This allowed for a more streamline and minimal look with the copper line set ducting making one line before terminating at the base of the brick(see pictures before and after below).
You might be wonder what the little hose going underground at the bottom of the line set is. We use a non-kinking flexible drain line to route condensation from the system (this is natural and required) instead of using PVC. This allows for the condensation to be routed more easily than with PVC. The drain line here leads underground to a French drain. We’ve since corrected it since this picture was taken and it actually stops just before a collection of pebbles we purchased from a local Lowe’s. This kind of draining combined with rocks or pebbles is done to prevent excess erosion caused by the water put out from the natural operation of the indoor unit.
**Condensation is natural and important for air conditioning. It is good because the unit should be removing moisture from the conditioned space. Making it more comfortable.
We set this particular Unit on the ground outside of the window. Don’t worry. The loudest this LG unit will get is 53 decibels. You and I normal speak during conversation between 50-60 db so the home owner won’t notice the noise produced by the condenser. Additionally this is an inverter and therefore can operate in lower speeds making it even quieter during normal operation. Mini Splits can also be set off of the ground and mounted to a wall quite easily.
If your in need of a Houston mini split installer Call Mission – We’d even be glad to discuss your project even if youre outside of our market.