Providing an efficient cooling system for a home in the desert is difficult under most circumstances, however, when the home is 4,200 square feet, and full of wide open spaces, 15- and 25-foot high ceilings, lots of windows, and virtually no room for traditional ductwork, the project is especially difficult.
That’s exactly what the Michael Hollywood Company faced in a remodeling job in the Catalina Foothills of Tucson, Arizona.
“It was a challenge from the beginning,” said Mike Hollywood, owner of the HVAC contracting firm hired to condition the renovated space. “The architect and home owner chose a beautiful, open and very airy design that had high ceilings, as well as a second floor bedroom and sitting room. The problem was that there is no space for traditional ductwork and no dropped ceilings.”
As a result of the design, Hollywood began searching for a solution. He needed a system that would deliver the conditioning demand that the home required, and at the same time address the issue of not having space for ductwork.
The High Velocity Epiphany
While Hollywood had read about high velocity systems, he had never installed one. He knew that if ever there was a building custom built for such a system, it was surely this home.
After researching the various high velocity systems on the market and going to see several jobs in Arizona and in Pomona, California, Hollywood decided that the SpacePak system had the most promise for the project. After all, it was the original high velocity air-conditioning system, and it had a great track record.
“I liked the SpacePak system for a number of reasons, but what really sold me was seeing some of the interesting installations. Due to SpacePak’s unique “kwik connect” air distribution components, the SpacePak system installations were significantly cleaner and neater than others that we saw.” said Hollywood. “I actually flew to Southern California with the homeowner to see some SpacePak projects, and we really liked what we saw.”
Beyond the aesthetics, obviously an important consideration, Hollywood determined that SpacePak’s mini-duct system was ideally suited for the allocated space in the home, and that the right combination of equipment had ample conditioning capacity. He also determined that the high velocity system was acoustically acceptable for the homeowner and the project.
“Providing the proper amount of conditioning was one of my primary concerns,” said Hollywood. “The size and load required that two separate systems be installed, which at first was a bit of a concern.”
Hollywood’s concerns were alleviated, however, when he realized that with a traditional central air-conditioning system the project would have required 10 tons, but with the SpacePak system, only eight tons of AC was required. This was also welcome news to the homeowner, as the equipment costs – particularly for the condensing units -- were less expensive, and they would save energy on an on-gong basis.
It’s Hot Up There
“Another concern was the difference in heat-load between the upstairs and the downstairs during the extreme summer temperatures in Tucson,” said Hollywood. “The upstairs system would be required to run more than the downstairs system due to the rising hot air and the building’s design.”
During the rough stages of construction, Hollywood installed two SpacePak systems. The system includes insulated two-inch tubing or ductwork that easily fits inside walls and ceilings. All you see of the finished product are the small round air outlets – each about the diameter of a CD – which can be located on walls, ceilings or in floors. An air-handler unit is installed in the attic, basement or crawlspace. For the project, the air handlers were installed in the equipment room which is located in the attached garage.
When the project was complete, Hollywood and the homeowner found that the SpacePak system was as quiet and efficient as they had originally thought, and that there was no issue of temperature differential.
The True Test: 75 Guests and 100º Temperatures
It was not until August that the SpacePak system was put to the test, as the homeowners held a party for 75 guests in 100 degree weather. The air flow and conditioning provided by the SpacePak system proved to be more than up to the challenge.
“The homeowner told me that it was very hot when they had the party, but that the entire home stayed nice and cool despite all the people,” said Hollywood. “It is a great system for this area, and a wonderful solution for homes without space for ductwork.”
As for The Michael Hollywood Company? Well, they’ve become one of the premiere SpacePak installers in the Tucson area.
For additional information, please contact SpacePak at 413/564-5530 or visit www.spacepak.com. The Michael Hollywood Company, which specializes in HVAC work, can be reached at 520/290-0617.