Ductless AC Units Beat the Vacaville Heat—and Your Condo’s HOA Guidelines
For some homeowners of Vacaville condos, their HOA guidelines can be as stifling as the heat. I’ve heard from clients whose condos didn’t have air conditioning and whose HOA’s wouldn’t allow central air units to be built. Needless to say, this can get brutal in our summers when we see 90-degrees several times a week—and window units just don’t always cut it.
If your HOA doesn’t allow for full central air, there are other ways to beat the heat without becoming a residential scofflaw. An ultra-quiet ductless condenser, sometimes known as “mini-split condensers,” which can be placed on a balcony or in an attic, may be the cure to both your HOA and heat woes. They are an efficient—and quiet—way to stay cool.
Some HOA Objections to Central AC and Individual Units
Vacaville used to be known for very temperate springs, falls, and winters—even the summers weren’t that bad compared to lower parts of the valley. Because of this, many older multi-family buildings were built without the expense of air conditioning; and HOAs typically don’t have the resources to retrofit the building for a central AC system.
We’ve had clients who wanted to install their own AC system (especially if they have attic storage), but the HOA forbid it—they were worried about issues like noise, condensation, and damage to the structure. Noise, drainage, and excessive vibrations on the roof, or on a balcony, are three of the main issues we hear with condo owners. But there is a way to stay cool, quiet, and within the guidelines.
The Benefits of Ductless AC Units
A ductless AC unit is a small condenser unit that is placed outside, generally facing away from the living areas. Through one or more conduits, the cold air from the condenser is delivered to the house and into fan coils. These coils, on the outside wall, blow cool air inside. It works exactly the same as a standard HVAC unit, only without the complicated ductwork and internal retrofitting that would be needed to install a standard system. And, because the conduits can be split up, these are sometimes called “mini-split condensers”.
There are a few reasons why people living in condos love ductless AC units:
- Convenience: A benefit of the mini-split is that, depending on the way your unit is set up, you can use it to pump cool air into different rooms. I had a client whose balcony is off the living room, with her bedroom on the same wall, just down the hallway. We were able to easily run the conduit and install a fan in both rooms, with all the work on the exterior of the building, except of course for the small holes where the fans go. This way, she was able to have air in multiple rooms without a complicated setup.
- Noise: Ductless units are quiet inside and out. On the inside, it is literally just the blowing of a fan. On the outside of the building, an ultra-light condenser’s noise level is as low as 50 dbs. For an outdoor unit, that is barely any noise at all. And it doesn’t vibrate either, so there won’t be an irritating hum or the possibility of structural damage.
- Light: Many HOAs have restrictions on the amount of weight you can put on the roof or a balcony. Not so with an ultra-light condenser—most units are less than 40 pounds, and if your balcony or roof can’t handle that, there might be a few more issues you need to deal with first.
Now, we don’t know your exact HOA rules, but we’ve found that this usually follows both the letter and the spirit of the law. We’ve also found that many HOAs don’t know about quiet, ductless ACs, but, as they also live in the hot building, are usually willing to give them a chance. You don’t want to sit through another hot summer night, flipping through the HOA guidelines, looking for a loophole. And, with ductless units, you already have one.
If you are interested in installing a ductless AC in your Vacaville condo, or anywhere else, give us a call. Our professional HVAC installers can get this job done quickly, easily, and correctly.