When our homeowners in Hoffman Estates needed to replace their furnace, they were looking for a better option than the setup they already had. The solution was a ductless heating system that provides better heat with less noise and lower monthly bills.

This split ranch home near Evergreen Park had a traditional forced air gas furnace and central air conditioning system. It treated both the main part of the house and an addition that a previous owner built years ago.

However, the HVAC system they had wasn’t ideal. The setup was loud – especially the heat.

Plus, this home wasn’t built with a central unit like this in mind. The layout didn’t allow for a large indoor unit. So, the furnace took up a whole closet.

Our homeowners wanted an HVAC system that was quieter and took up less space.

At first, they didn’t think there was anything available that would be much different than what they had now. After all, a furnace is a furnace, right? Well, not anymore. Today’s state-of-the-art heating and cooling systems do a better job than the traditional systems people are used to. And, they’re especially helpful in older homes that weren’t built with central air conditioning systems in mind.

Now, this split ranch home has quieter, more efficient heating and cooling – and more closet space.

We’ll take a look at the HVAC challenges this suburban home presented. And, we’ll see how our solution overcome those obstacles.

Problem: The furnace in a Hoffman Estates, IL split ranch home was noisy and took up most of the room in a closet. The homeowners wanted something quieter that took up less space when it was time to replace the unit.

Solution: Installed an outdoor heat pump with a wall-mounted ductless air handler in the home office and a floor-unit ductless air handler in the living room.

Heating and cooling in a split ranch home

It’s common to see the sort-of makeshift HVAC solutions like the one in this Chicagoland split ranch. Homes like these seemed to spring up everywhere in the country in the late 50s and early 60s. That’s precisely when Hoffman Estates was established. Once people began developing the area in the mid to late 50s, the population went from less than 9,000 people to more than 20,000 in just a few years.

This growth was coupled with a housing boom that resulted in many of those classic-looking ranch homes you see today.

But, back then these houses weren’t built with the kinds of HVAC solutions that came later. Central air wasn’t around yet. And, most of them didn’t have forced heat.

Many homeowners added ductwork and AC later on. That meant finding space anywhere possible in the house for the equipment.

This is one of the reasons the noise was such a big factor here. Usually, the homes are laid out, so furnaces are kept away from living spaces. They’re usually in a basement. In this case, the unit was in a closet where everyone could hear it roar to life a few times an hour. And, of course, it took up space our homeowners could have used for storage. Then there was the addition: another common feature in these homes. These afforded families more space. But, the person who first designed the HVAC system didn’t have that space in mind. That means the existing setup won’t treat that area correctly. You end up with uneven heating – usually called “hot and cold spots” in the house.

Today, there are better solutions for these heating and cooling challenges.
How well does ductless heating work in a ranch home?

Ductless heating makes a big difference in an older suburban home like this split ranch. These systems:

  • Don’t require ductwork to circulate the air
  • Use an outdoor heat pump instead of an indoor furnace
  • Are whisper-quiet even at full power
  • Eliminate hot and cold spots throughout the home
  • Use less energy, resulting in lower heating and cooling bills

    First off, we didn’t need to install an indoor component to provide warmth. Instead, an outdoor heat pump handles the heat and the air conditioning.

Our homeowners got their closet space back when they got rid of their old furnace.

Inside the home, we installed wall-mounted air handlers to circulate the air. We connect these to the heat pump using refrigerant lines instead of ductwork. The lines that connect the system are so narrow that we run them through the wall. Unlike ductwork, they don’t take up any living space. Now, the next big advantage here is sound. Remember, our homeowners were tired of all the noise coming from the closet with the furnace.

The air handlers are literally whisper-quiet. At their loudest, they register around 20 decibels – the same as leaves rustling outside.

Unless you’re standing right beneath an air handler, you won’t hear it working. Now, our homeowners enjoy all the warmth and cooling they need. And, they’re not reminded of it every time the heat kicks on.

Saving money and eliminating hot and cold spots with zoned HVAC

We also mentioned how these systems cost less to run than traditional furnaces. And, we said it did a better job of heating the house evenly. Well, how does it do all that?

The answer is “Zoned HVAC.”

Take your normal setup: There’s a thermostat somewhere in the house. Usually, it’s in the living room.

When it’s cold out, you set that gauge to the temperature you want for the home. When the house gets colder than that, it tells the furnace to kick on.

There are two problems here:

  • The heat doesn’t go on until it’s already too cold
  • Not every room is the same temperature
This means, at some point, your house is too cold. Then, the HVAC system puts in a lot of work – and energy – to fix the problem. Meanwhile, what happens when one room – like that addition – is colder than the living room? You end up with a cold spot because you’re not measuring the temperature in that part of the house.

With ductless, each air handler has a thermostat on it. And, each one treats a different zone in your home individually.

For this split ranch, we installed three units in the main part of the house and one in the addition. The air handler in there will stay independently of the other units to make sure it reaches the temperature our homeowner wants.

Now, if that addition used to be colder than the rest of the house, it won’t be anymore.

And, each one goes into a low-power mode as soon as thermostat reaches its setting. Instead of always playing catch-up, the air handlers work in the background to maintain the temperature you want. It costs a lot less to maintain the temperature you want rather than have your heater kick on when the temperature gets too low. Now, our homeowners enjoy better heat with less noise and lower energy bills. For an older suburban home, this house is suddenly state-of-the-art.

Are you ready to replace your noisy, inefficient old furnace? Contact Compass Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., and we’ll design a system that’s perfect for your home!