In a bid for Best Son-In-Law Ever, our Eagle, ID homeowner didn’t just build an addition to his house for a mother-in-law suite. Instead, he outfitted his wife’s mom with an entire cottage of her own, right next to their home! And, the final touch was ductless heating and cooling for superior comfort and energy efficiency.
And while our homeowner spared no expense in making this living space very comfortable, he also made some great choices that will help keep his mother-in-law healthy while reducing the impact on his monthly bills.
In this case study, we’ll review:
- Why Heating And Cooling Is Important For Senior Citizens
- Benefits Of Ductless Heating And Cooling In An Addition
- Mini Split Installation In This Eagle, ID Mother-In-Law Suite
Problem: A new mother-in-law suite needed heating and cooling. Since it was a separate cottage apart from the main home, there wasn’t any ductwork leading to this area.
Solution: Installed a two-zone Mitsubishi ductless heating and cooling mini split. With an outdoor heat pump and two air handlers inside, the entire suite stays at a consistent temperature all year long. And, it barely impacts the electric bill.
Why Heating And Cooling Is Important For Senior Citizens
As people get older, they become more vulnerable to changes in temperature. Not only do their bodies not regulate temperature as well. Many also have underlying conditions that can get worse when they get too hot or cold.
A young adult or even middle-aged person, for instance, may get a little sweaty or hot when the temperature gets too high. For someone in their 70s or older, there’s a greater chance of dehydration or heat stroke.
Meanwhile, decreased metabolism and weaker circulation make it challenging for older adults to stay warm. From a comfort standpoint, it’s why they often feel cold so easily.
From a health perspective, they’re more susceptible to hypothermia. All it takes or that to take effect is for their body temperature to drop below 95 degrees.
Having been to plenty of doctor’s appointments with his own parents, our homeowner knew all about these sorts of issues. And, he knew his wife and her family worried about them, too.
Benefits Of Ductless Heating And Cooling In An Addition
For all intents and purposes, we were dealing with an addition to this Eagle, ID house. Even though the cottage is a separate structure, it was a small unit on the same property. And it wasn’t a rental. A family member lived there.
With this in mind, ductless and heating offered plenty of benefits, especially for an older person:
- It doesn’t take up a lot of space
- It’s energy-efficient
- It provides superior climate control
Doesn’t Take Up A Lot Of Space
Ductless heating and cooling is often referred to as a “mini split” because it’s two components: a heat pump outside and air handlers inside. Here, the advantage is that neither of them takes up much space.
The outdoor component is even smaller than an AC condenser. And, the air handlers mount on the wall, out of the way. We connect the two by running a few lines through the wall — no big, bulky ductwork and soffits making the room feel smaller.
Here’s a benefit for our homeowner: He can add a whole new heating and cooling system and hardly see any impact on his bills!
We’ve talked more in-depth about energy efficiency and ductless elsewhere. For now, the long-story-short is that a mini split uses much less energy than conventional HVAC.
That makes a big difference when you’re adding an addition or new structure to your property.
There’s always an upfront cost to a project like this. But, with ductless, once you pay it off, you’re done. You won’t see residual costs on your energy bills for years to come.
Superior Climate Control
The biggest point of all for our homeowner was just how comfortable the cottage would be and how consistent the temperature would remain all year.
First, one mini split offers heating and cooling. You don’t need a furnace and separate AC condenser. This way, one system does it all.
Next, the air handlers run most of the time in low-power mode to keep the temperature steady. That’s a big difference from forced-air or even baseboard systems.
Those click on and off a few times every hour. They wait until the temperature drifts, and then they correct it. It works, but you end up with hot and cold swings throughout the day.
With ductless, the rooms stay at a nice, steady temperature.
Mini Split Installation In This Eagle, ID Mother-In-Law Suite
Mini split installation is usually straightforward. Without ductwork and complex designs, even connecting an entire house takes less than a week. With this free-standing mother-in-law suite, it was even easier than that.
We planned on two air handlers for this small cottage: One in the main living area and another in the bedroom.
Since one indoor unit covers a lot of space, we didn’t need ones for the kitchen, dining room, and living room. With no doors between them, we could treat them as one big room.
After that, it was just a matter of a second unit for the bedroom so our homeowner’s mother-in-law could keep the door closed when she wanted.
Then, it was a matter of linking both to the heat pump on the side of the cottage. With the lines running through the walls, you barely notice them at all!
Our homeowner and his wife were delighted with how their new mother-in-law home came out, and we were happy to give their mom a great new place to live.