I am looking for strategies others have seen or used to disguise the interior units of ductless heat pumps or AC units from being the ugly bump homeowners so frequently mention when they look at example pictures/renderings. Anything from decorative covers to integrating it into the wall assembly to integrated interior design strategies would be great (so long as it doesn't significantly inhibit performance or air flow). I think the aesthetics are a huge obstacle to the deployment of these units in the correct climates (I'm in the south) and a few creative minds might go a long way toward overcoming these problems. Looking forward to anyone's pictures and ideas.
I have seen them hidden in soffits, using ducted mini-splits, part of cabinetry, etc...
As for ugly - check with the manufacturer, some have ones designed as artwork (a little past halfway down: http://blog.sls-construction.com/2012/acecets-grand-opening-ribbon-...) & then others can just blend depending on your designer & system chosen (also halfway down http://blog.sls-construction.com/2012/ibs-2012-day-2-green-right-wrong)
Some are going to ducted systems. Ductwork is VERY short with ultra low static pressures.
There are a number of options - one manufacturer 9LG ductless) makes a square wall unit that can have a picture/art in the front. There are also heads that can be installed in a ceiling ( if you have enough space) so all you see is something like a register. These would be placed in the center of the room. You can also use ducted heads that can be hidden or placed in a ceiling or floor space but there are strict limits to how much duct can be used.
If you are looking at heat pumps http://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/ has the best performing units I have seen. Look at the web site and you will see different options for your question.
Agree with Steven, if you want aesthetics, look at LG
How about slim ducts that recess in the wall and/or ceilings . I believe Fujitsu and Daikin both make such a unit
I use the ducted mini-split and very thin supply trunk and thin supply to make turn in to the wall. We use "color" AIA gal who will turn the grill look into wall detail. trim line or door line or what detail will make the grills just fall in to the shadow.
Last house 1200SF shot gun with one ton AC and the person who did the home morgage said no heat/or AC or grills in building, and would not do a morgage with out heat so I had to show him the stat and inside air handler behind a door. The cost to make the grill disapperar is in the trim and paint and where the eye goes. The air flow should be so low that's not going make a lot of noise most of the time. If the building is very well seal and High R will not take much heat there for small duct is needed. Just run the numbers ACCA MD use .03 duct size vs most new work is .1 sp new work then ends up at .25 with long duct, Total SP ends up with above 1" water and units are rated for .3 to .5 www.ericsenergy.com I have some on my web sight
In our previous offices we had these units. Prior to the install (and following the techs. directions) we cut open each wall that would contain pipes or wiring. Do not damage the drywall (reuse it). We had the electrical connections hard wired for two reasons - esthetics and removing the risk of over loading any of the circuits. Before buttoning up the walls we air sealed (being the good WAP agency we are). Everything was insulated beyond the current standards of that time. You do not want any hidden condensation issues in a wall. Lastly, the drywall went back up - using screws! Rather than "muding" the seams wood trim was used over them. This was fastened with brads as it is only decorative and allows for easy removal if necessary.
Our LiHeap program installers open up the wall. Instead of recessing everything into the wall they build a chase over the opening, air seal and insulate. The end product looks similar to a chimney installation.
I planed old fence boards, and the knots fell out. When I sandwiched the olde pine board (8" X 46") and a white painted 1/4" plywood sheet (10" X 48") around LED strip lights from Home Depot ($45) that flow smoothly through a spectrum of softly shifting colors, the eye doesn't notice the ductless head. The small and light-weight fixture is far enough away from the unit and positioned out of the flow of air so that this arrangement eats the ugliness and leaves the efficient comfort in a quiet and adjustable pleasant hue. Custom made to order.
I think most consumers wouldn't want a big box called a refrigerator or a stove or dishwasher in their beautiful kitchens if they weren't keenly aware of what those products can do for their families. It is disapointing but I think the ductless product is still too new for customers to fully appreciate what it will do for them. One of our customers had the same objection until he had one installed. He ended up buying a second one for the upstairs. As they become more commonplace it will become an easy objection to overcome. Until then we will have to deal with it.
The bare metal units on a roof stick out like a sore thumb . Coating them with our white RCC probably makes them stick out even more, even though more energy efficient.
These RCCs CAN be tinted. In our coating's case, it can be tinted to any color that is not 'D-base' or darker. If the walls of the building are a lighter color, the coating can be tinted to the same color. If the trim is a lighterr color than the walls, it can be tinted to that.
Tinted to the wall or trim color, they blend in and are easier to look at than bare metal or brite white.
HOWEVER, any tinting will drop the solar reflectivity fromthat of untinted white. BUT, the tinted RCC will reflect much more heat than standard paint tinted to the same color..