Take a look at this beautiful colonial home in Elmhurst, IL. The sleek, stately brickwork. The decorative facade around the front door.

The … anachronistic air conditioners sticking out of the windows like metallic sore thumbs?

Our homeowner wasn’t crazy about them either. Not only were they ugly. They also made a lot of noise, required a lot of maintenance, and sent the electric bill through the roof.

But, he figured there wasn’t anything he could do about it. Then, he learned about mini splits and ductless cooling.

Problem: A colonial home in Elmhurst, IL, built in the 20s, uses loud, unsightly, and inefficient window air conditioners. Our homeowner didn’t like them but didn’t want to install ductwork.

Solution: Installed a Mitsubishi ductless mini split cooling system. It treats the entire house without changing the look and feel of the historic home.

Adding HVAC to a historic home

Adding heating and cooling to an old, historic home is always a tricky project. They didn’t build these with modern HVAC in mind.

Take this colonial. It’s been around since 1927 – almost 50 years before you could get central air in your home.

Meanwhile, the house has radiant heating. So, there’s no ductwork we could use for a cooling system.

That’s why you see window ACs a lot in these kinds of houses. They’re not the best, but they don’t affect the look and feel of the house.

Adding central air would mean building and installing big, boxy ductwork. We’d have to build soffits around it that would take up space in almost every room.

But, those portable units have a lot of drawbacks. They’re very loud. And, they require a lot of cleaning each season.

That’s not to mention how much they cost to run.

And, the one on the first floor was a safety hazard. It’s very easy for a burglar to push the unit into the house and crawl through the window.

Fortunately, our homeowner didn’t learn about it firsthand. And, we helped him get rid of them before he did.

Benefits of a mini split in a historic colonial home

Ductless mini splits are perfect for a historic colonial home like this one. They can deliver climate control to the whole house without disrupting the layout.

And, that’s not all. These systems also offer:

  • Customizable, even cooling
  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • Lower energy use

Even cooling

The big difference between ductless and central air is how you can control the temperature in the house.

With conventional AC’s, there’s one thermostat regulating the whole house.

Let’s say it’s in the living room, and you set it at 70 degrees.

That room hits 70, and the AC shuts off. But, the rooms upstairs are 73 degrees.

And, they stay that way.

Once the thermostat reaches its call, that’s it. Not so with ductless.

Each room, or zone, has an air handler. And, each one of those has a thermostat.

Now, you’re measuring and regulating each part of the house individually. Set each one to the same temperature and you’ll get even cooling for the first time in a home like this.

Whisper-quiet operation

Quick, what does a window air conditioner sound like?

You can hear it immediately: Loud, constant white noise. Able to drown out TVs and conversations for hours.

Now, how about a ductless mini split?

Silence. Golden silence.

At their loudest, the air handlers hit about 20 decibels. How loud is that?

Leaves rustling. People whispering in a library.

Unless you’re standing right under one, listening for it, you won’t even notice when it’s on.

Energy efficiency

All of these benefits are great. But, how much does it cost you?

Not as much as you would think.

Of course, there’s the initial investment in purchasing the equipment, and having certified professionals install it.

But after that, you save money every time you turn it on.

Mitsubishi mini splits are top-of-the-line, energy efficient HVAC machines. They use less energy than central air, and way less than old window air conditioners.

In a home like this, they’ll pay for themselves in a few years through lower energy bills all summer long.

Refunds available for ductless cooling systems

That energy efficiency also saved our homeowner money before he even turned them on.

ComEd, his energy provider, offers rebates when you install Energy Star-certified appliances. The new mini split fit the bill, and we made sure he applied for cash back.

He got a $1,400 rebate toward the installation costs.

Mini split installation in a historic Elmhurst, IL colonial home

There’s an art to installing a mini split system, especially in a historic home like this one. You want to make the units blend in as much as possible.

Placing the indoor air handlers

We already talked about how quiet they are. That goes a long way. But, we still need to place them.

Typically, we place the indoor components high up on the wall. This keeps them out of your sightline most of the time.

In this home, it was easy to follow the contours of each room. For instance, the one in the dining room follows the molding near the ceiling.

Of course, it’s much larger than the molding. But, it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the room. That helps it blend into the background.

Outdoor heat pump

Next comes the heat pump. The indoor handlers circulate air around the house. The outdoor pump is responsible for the heat transfer process.

Think of it like the AC condenser you usually see right next to the house. But, these are slimmer and blend in a little better.

We connect the indoor and outdoor components with skinny, flexible lines. After we run those lines through the wall, we send them outside.

You can see them here. We house them in line concealers that look like gutters.

Meanwhile, the heat pump is quiet, too. It helps keep the system out of sight and out of mind.

That’s a significant change for our homeowner. He’s used to being reminded, constantly, of how hard is air conditioners are working.

That’s because of the sound they make, and the impact they have on his electric bill.

Now, his house is quiet, and his summer energy bills are much smaller.

Are you ready for state-of-the-art cooling that doesn’t require you to renovate your historic home? Contact Compass Heating and Air Conditioning, and we’ll design a system that’s perfect for your home.