I have an interesting situation where I am in a studio that is approximately 300 sq. ft., and should require ~9,000 BTU/h (3/4 ton) heating/cooling capacity. There are three rooms--A bedroom (~11x8), a living room/kitchen (~13x13), and a bathroom (~7x4). No current HVAC system currently exists, and I only really have access to the ceiling. Currently no insulation exists, but I plan on adding some (>R15 in walls, >R40 in attic). Also, this is in California, where I expect the normal temperatures to be between 0°C and 30°C.

My current problem is in finding a solution that provides heating and cooling to all three rooms. I was hoping to use a mini-split system, but I need it to operate on 120V and it would need to have a horizontally ducted interior unit to provide for all three rooms. Unfortunately, the only systems with horizontally ducted interior units seem to run on 208/240V and they seem to cost twice as much as an equivalent wall-mounted interior unit system.

An alternative I considered was putting in a system with a wall mounted interior unit and adding some duct work to actively ventilate the other two rooms. I'm not quite sure how to tie this into the thermostat for the mini-split, though.

Lastly, I looked at central heat pumps, but those all seem to be excessively sized for my conditions and would require duct work be added, which may not be a problem. On the side of the studio where the external unit would be, there is a closet that shares a wall with each of the three rooms, so a ducted solution could be placed inside the closet, or just above it, minimizing the duct work needed.

I'm really wondering what type of system would be best for my studio. I am looking to spend


  • What sort of building is this in? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 21 '16 at 12:47
  • Residential, single-unit studio. – Hari Ganti Dec 22 '16 at 20:33
  • As in, this is a 300 square foot single family dwelling? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 22 '16 at 23:14
  • Yes. I hesitated to call it a "single-family home" because it seems too small to qualify as such, but yes, that is correct. – Hari Ganti Dec 29 '16 at 2:08

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