Well, back in post 4041, I mentioned that Piper was all excited about a type of a/c system he wanted me to consider for the country house. Being Piper, he snail-mailed me a brochure, rather than sending a link. The brochure arrived today.
In the past he has tried to talk me into window units. I explained to him that all the windows in that house are vertical windows that crank outward, hinged on the side, so you can't put window units in them, so then he wanted me to cut holes in the walls and install window units. I told him he's nuts. No way I'm cutting holes in the walls to permanently install ugly temporary units. Then he found this new thing. "A small box you just hang on the wall! No holes!" I didn't see how from his description it could possibly work, unless he was talking about swamp coolers.
a) It's not a swamp cooler.
b) It does require holes. LOTS of them.
c) He obviously had no idea what he was talking about.
It's called an "electric ductless heating and cooling system". Piper seems to think you just hang it on the wall, plug it in, and it works, like a window unit, but without the window. Poor Piper. Sometimes I wonder how he avoids accidentally poisoning himself.
The ductless system might be a good idea if you don't already have ductwork! Like new construction, or if you have baseboard heat, or there's no space for ductwork, or whatever. The only advantage I can see is in those cases. With ductless a/c, you have the usual outdoor compressor, and the usual "fluid" that gets compressed and expanded to exchange heat. If you have ductwork, the cooled air is then blown into the ductwork thence to the rooms. With the ductless system, the cooled "fluid" passes through copper tubing installed in the walls to the individual units in every room, where fans in the units blow air over the tubing and thence throughout the room.
So you don't "just hang it on the wall".
I'd need 6 to 8 units for the country house, and tubing and wiring fed through the walls to the units. Once in place, the units cannot be easily moved, which takes careful planning for air penetration, circulation, and furniture placement. In my living room, I currently have three or four ducted vents, all blowing air. Going ductless, I'd have one source of cooled air in that large room. There's got to be a comfort factor there. Also, using the ducts, the air is filtered and circulated throughout the house. These wall units don't circulate the air except in that one room, so things will probably get stuffy. And although the manufacturers claim they do dehumidify, more than a few reviewers complain that the wall units frost up or drip water in humid conditions.
The distributors claim it's cheaper to install and operate.
a) They are counting the cost of having ductwork installed. I already have that.
b) They figure a 30% loss of efficiency through temperature loss in the ductwork - but to get those figures, they assume the ductwork is uninsulated, and in the (hot) attic or exterior walls. My ductwork is insulated, and is in the basement ceilings.
So in my case there are not only no savings, installation actually costs about 30% more.
So, thanks Piper, but no thanks.
Why is the American robin always described as having a red breast? You know, Robin Red-Breast? It's not red. The closest it comes to red is rust, which is not red. If I had to color a robin given a small box of Crayola crayons, I'd have to choose the orange, with maybe a little brown blended in, not the red crayon.