Like other River Ward neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Port Richmond has seen some revitalization over the past few years. Along with new construction, many old working-class homes get upgraded with state-of-the-art amenities. And, for this old row home, the latest improvement is a Daikin ductless mini split system.

Our homeowners called Philly Comfort because they wanted to update their heating and cooling. The home looked brand-new, with a modern kitchen, new hardwood floors, and a roof deck.

What wasn’t brand new was the old radiator system our homeowners used every winter and the window air conditioner that kept them cold but made their electric bills unbearable in the summer.

It was time for a change, but going conventional wasn’t really an option: This quaint row home wasn’t big enough to add ductwork. And, even if it were, our homeowners would pay thousands more along with a furnace and AC condenser.

Problem: Port Richmond homeowners wanted to upgrade their existing heating and cooling system to something that costs less to run.

Solution: Installed a four-zone Daikin ductless mini split system. This setup offers zoned heating and costs less to run than radiators and window air conditioners.


For years, they used the radiators and window ACs, the last traces of outdated equipment in their now-modern homes. But, now there’s a better option for them.

In this case study, we’ll look at:

Why Mini Splits Don’t Need Ductwork

Our homeowners first considered a mini split because they wouldn’t have to add any ductwork. Then, learning how energy-efficient they are checked off the other box on their list. Finding out they’d make their home even more comfortable was icing on the cake.

But, let’s go back to that first point: How do these systems provide heating and cooling to your entire home without ducts and vents?

Mini splits work by pumping refrigerant fluid, or coolant, through small line sets that connect a heat pump outside to air handlers in the house.

The heat pump gets rid of the heat from the home in the summer. In winter, it gathers whatever heat is available outside and uses a compression process to amplify it, so there’s enough to warm an entire home.

Inside, the contractors install air handlers in every area a homeowner wants to treat. Sometimes, they get a mini split with just one air handler because they only want to fix a problem room that’s always too hot or too cold.

In this case, however, our homeowners went with four air handlers throughout the home. Each one has a thermostat to regulate the zone where it’s located. We’ll explore that more in a little while.

But, for now: the lineset connecting the indoor and outdoor components is narrow and flexible. In this case, we had room to run it through the walls, so you don’t see it at all in most rooms — only the high-wall air handlers.

Then, since the contractor had roof access, we didn’t take up any of the very little space in the back of the house for the heat pump.


How Ductless Heating and Cooling Saves Money

With the system installed, our homeowners were ready to enjoy the savings — and comfort! While ductless heating and cooling is a big upfront investment, people save money in the long run.

First, our contractors knew ways to save money on the install. First, PECO offers rebates to homeowners who install energy-efficient equipment in their homes. These Energy Star-certified systems fit the bill.

Next, new federal tax credits are available for energy-efficient appliances. When our homeowners file their taxes, they’ll get an additional $500 credit.

And, going forward, they’ll never pay anywhere near as much on their utility bills as they have in the past.

Each air handler uses INVERTER technology that uses a low-power to maintain the temperature they want all the time. That’s different from radiators or forced-air systems that cycle on and off as the temperature rises and falls.

Always course-correcting, not to mention turning on and off constantly, uses way more energy than coasting in a low-power mode most of the time like a mini split will.

It’s like cruise control on your car: You use less gas when you maintain a constant speed instead of stopping and starting all the time.

Meanwhile, the heat transfer process is much more efficient than burning fossil fuels. Instead of generating heat by burning oil or gas, the heat pump uses existing warmth to do the job. It only needs a little power to get the process started.

How Ductless Mini Splits Increase Your Comfort

Finally, our homeowners feel better all the time with their new mini split — not just when their lower electric bills arrive each month. That’s because ductless heating and cooling makes any home amazingly comfortable.

In this home, it had steep competition: People love radiators because they’re hot and don’t dry out a room like forced-air heating.

But, ductless wins out because the mini splits eliminate hot and cold spots in a room. The air handlers have sensors that find areas in the room that are the wrong temperature and use specialized fans to direct the treated air exactly where they need it.

And, each air handler uses a separate thermostat. So, instead of relying on one gauge for the entire home, each area gets the exact treatment it needs. That means no more cold bedrooms in the winter.

With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that Daikin ductless heating and cooling is becoming more and more popular. It’s a benefit that pays off in the long run: Homes with these advanced systems have higher resale prices than conventional HVAC.

If you’re looking for the best way to increase your comfort and property value while lowering your energy bills, fill out the form below for a free consultation!