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I have an old home in which ductwork has been retrofitted. The ducts for the first floor are arranged under the floor. The first floor is heated and cooled by an electric package unit sitting just outside the house.

I want to replace the unit with something more efficient, and split systems have the advantage in efficiency and price. However, there's nowhere inside the house on the first floor where the furnace half of the system could be installed.

Would it be insane to build an outdoor enclosure to house the furnace unit so that it would basically occupy the same real estate as the current package unit?

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  • The "enclosure" would have to be conditioned, and well insulated. Otherwise you'll lose a bunch of heat while the air is moving through the unconditioned space.
    – Tester101
    Feb 10, 2015 at 14:41
  • Is there a crawlspace under the house?
    – Tester101
    Feb 10, 2015 at 14:41
  • @Tester101 there is a crawlspace, but the last HVAC contractor I had on site said there wasn't enough clearance to put in a furnace, sadly. Getting it in would be a challenge too. Re: the enclosure; what do you mean by, conditioned? As in, heated and cooled itself? Feb 10, 2015 at 14:43
  • Yes, conditioned means that the space is heated and cooled.
    – Tester101
    Feb 10, 2015 at 14:47
  • If you live in a climate where the temperature is fairly stable, you might just get by with insulated ducts.
    – Tester101
    Feb 10, 2015 at 14:49

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Since efficiency is your concern, why don't you install a geothermal system? There are geothermal split systems (example) that are designed to use very little space indoors.

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  • I hadn't really thought of geothermal as an option due to conventional wisdom about cost, but this would be an attractive option if I could afford one. Feb 10, 2015 at 22:39

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