In Texas, one of the most important aspects of construction is planning for heating and cooling of the space. Also important, especially in a small office, is how much noise is made while heating and cooling the office.
Given the size of our offices - 10’ x 12’ each - almost any air conditioner would provide quick and effective cooling during summer and efficient heating during cool winter days. What is most important for us is choosing a unit that makes the least amount of noise.
This ended up being a pretty significant point of contention with our contractor. Ahu and I specified early on a Carrier Mini Split Air Conditioner. These units are incredibly efficient and incredibly quiet - low 30s in decibels or so. What makes them so quiet is that the condenser and all of the noisy parts are outside, sitting on the ground, just like a normal house air conditioner unit. The only part on the inside is a very small fan unit which moves air around.
Unfortunately, the communication between contractor and subcontractors got mixed up and when the unit was installed, it was this giant, noisy “in window” air conditioner made by Gree that was sitting half in the wall and half out of it. Gree is some new Chinese brand.
Since it was already installed and the wall sized for it, I agreed to try it out. Turning it onto its lowest setting still yielded 60+ decibels and sounded like a vacuum cleaner. So that was the end of that unit.
We actually ended up contracting this part of the project out to a 3rd party so as to avoid any other mistakes. We ended up deciding on a heat pump instead of an air conditioner-only unit so that we could turn on the heat if needed. We haven’t needed it much but on some chilly mornings, it is nice to have it.
After the 3rd party installation was complete, the contractor had to fix the back wall by repairing drywall, siding, adding insulation, and bringing that expensive ledgestone back in to fully surround the unit. The end result is excellent but it was definitely an unnecessary complication.