ADUs & Mini-Splits in Wilmington, NC.

Accessory Dwelling Units and Mini-Splits: What Homeowners Need To Know

Home prices all over the country in cities and small towns alike are seeing a brazen uptick and in some cases a skyrocketing of value.  Now with housing more important than ever, and popular projects like tiny homes, backyard cottages, and in-law suites; building more livable space is on the minds of many homeowners. Many counties in North Carolina have adopted encouraging laws to make adding ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) easier. If you need a dedicated home office, a place for Mom, or additional rental income a backyard home could be the answer. Contact Avocet Additions today to find out more information on having your own ADU built. Here are some common questions we get when clients are thinking about adding an ADU.

What Is An ADU?

ADUs, or accessory dwelling units, are secondary homes on a residential property. They are usually compact (like a tiny house or cottage), but they have their own kitchen, living area, bedroom, and entrance. Some ADUs are a suite attached to the main house, while many are built as a separate structure. They are becoming very popular in many areas on the East Coast, and most area neighborhoods are now allowing ADUs to be built on residential properties. There’s never been a better time to build an ADU than now!

What Are Mini-Splits And How Do They Work?

When searching online for an efficient heating and air-conditioning system for your home, you’ve likely seen a “mini-split” in the results. Mini-splits are super energy-efficient, reliable, and eco-friendly solutions to improve your home’s comfort with very low utility costs and zero emissions. Because you have single-zone or multi-zone options, they’re great for remodeling individual rooms or building a new home. 

But how do they operate and what makes them such a popular choice among today’s homeowners? 

How Mini-splits Work

As the name implies, these air-conditioning or heat pump systems are split into two functional components; an outdoor condenser/compressor unit and an indoor air-handling unit. These components are smaller (or “mini”) compared to conventional systems. The third component is the system controller which can either be a hand-held remote or wall-mounted style thermostat. There’s also an app for control of your temperature from any smart device, anywhere.

Each ductless or ducted indoor unit is connected to the outdoor unit using two small refrigerant pipes and control/power wiring typically routed through a three-inch opening in the wall or ceiling depending on the application. The indoor and outdoor units communicate with each other constantly, relaying current conditions and adjusting performance to maintain your desired temperature. For a more detailed explanation of how a heat pump works and more information on these types of systems in general, contact the professionals of Avocet Additions in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Several versions of the mini-split system can get an added boost of efficiency and reliability thanks to inverter-driven compressor technology. This variable-speed technology conserves energy by allowing the motor to ramp up or slow down seamlessly to maintain the desired set temperature. As the quiet compressor hums along, it always uses just the right amount of energy needed. Much conventional heating and air-conditioning systems, on the other hand, run on an energy-wasting and often noisy, on/off cycle.

Mini-splits Can Compartmentalize

Another advantage of ductless mini-splits is the ability to divide your home into separate comfort zones, versus a conventional central system where you have one large air handler trying to force air through large and complex ductwork to all rooms of the home. 

Ductless mini-split indoor units are installed directly in the spaces they’re serving. You can apply single-zone mini-splits to areas of the home to resolve hot or cold spots, or room additions, without replacing your current system. Or you can replace your old system with a multi-split, giving you up to eight indoor units connected to just one outdoor unit. Temperature and airflow can be changed based on a room’s occupancy and comfort needs. You can also turn units off in unoccupied rooms for maximum energy savings. 

Flexibility Of Design And Usage

The modularity of mini-splits and multi-splits allows you to custom design a system to match the specific needs of your home. To start, simply consider all the different comfort zones you want to create. A “zone” can be a certain room or combination of rooms, and you can divide your home into as many zones as you’d like. For example, you may want separate control of the master suite as one zone, while treating a family room connected to the kitchen together as another zone. 

Ductless indoor units can be easily designed to fit into any room and you have multiple styles (and colors) to choose from including wall-, floor-, and ceiling-mounted. Ducted air handlers give you more design options, especially with larger zones.

You’re making a smart decision to replace or supplement your central furnace and air-conditioning system with a new mini-split and heat pump. Whether it’s with a mini-split or multi-split system creating smaller comfort zones, or a single ducted system, you’re still getting the best efficiency and performance possible. These systems make your ADU or other external dwelling areas as comfortable as any other part of the home. Visit the Avocet Additions website and talk to one of our licensed professionals today!

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