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Forced Air & Mini Split Combo?

Kman18 Member Posts: 13
I am considering buying a 2-story cape-style home in Massachusetts. The home was recently renovated, with forced air on the main floor, and mini splits in the 3 bedrooms on the 2nd floor. Questions: Is it unusual to have 2 different HVAC sources? With 2 separate systems to run and maintain, will this be unreasonably costly? There is no heat/cool source in the 2nd floor full bath. Builder says it wasn't necessary, the air from the bedrooms mini splits will extend into the bathroom...does this make sense?


  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    edited March 9
    I think the contractor who ripped out whatever used to heat the upstairs was too lazy to install ducts from the basement up to the second level with forced air.

    As much as I like mini splits, I would want to see how it performs in the winter. I like them a lot more for cooling than for heating.

    I'm very dubious of the bathroom being comfortable enough. I pulled a small radiator out of my upstairs bathroom, and fully insulated the walls while I was in them, and it was OK, but I also put in a radiant floor and I know my wife doesn't like it when the radiant floor isn't heating.

    I'd be cautious
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  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,270
    That sounds more like a flip than a renovation. Depending on just where you are in Massachusetts, there is a reasonable possibility that the mini-splits will keep the upstairs warm enough for comfortable sleeping... maybe. Depends on what mini-split was installed. The lack of heat in the bathroom would, for me, be a no-go, though -- and that is the one room in the house where a portable electric space heater is a total no.

    All that said, yes, having two different sources of heat in a house is common enough.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    Builder said it wasn’t necessary because they didn’t feel like actually doing a good job. As @ethicalpaul said, lazy contractor.

    If you gave me a choice between heat only in the bathroom or heat only in the bedrooms, I’d choose the bathroom without question.

    The first cold morning you’re taking a shower and shivering, you’ll understand.

    Also, if they short cut that, what else did they do that might not present itself for a couple years?

    Jamie said a flip, sounds the same with me, wouldn’t take a flip if it was free, they pretty much always do garbage cheap work, it’s the only feasible way they can turn the profits they do. Just look at all the garbage they put on HGTV.
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  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,835
    Ideally you’d have ductwork in every room. In the real world, people often don’t pay for that. Nothing wrong with two systems, in many ways it’s better. But this setup is certainly a compromise. A ductless head in every bedroom is a practice that manufacturers advise against.