Robert Lamoureux | What heating-cooling system is best for new workshop?

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question: Hi Robert, thank you for the time you put in to answering questions for all of us, it helps greatly. I live on the outskirts of the Santa Clarita Valley on several acres, and we are interested in building an additional workshop structure, doing most of the work ourselves. I know we need to reach out to the city for permits, but I’d like to see if you can help with some design questions first.   

We only reach freezing temps a handful of days each year, though we do plan on utilizing the workshop year-round so that brings me to my question: Do we prepare to install a mini split system, which I know is a heat-pump-style system that can cool as well as heat, or should we install a wall unit air conditioner plus a pellet stove? Can you weigh in on the pros and cons of each for us please?  

I’d like to have a decision before submitting drawings to the city, so that we can get approval faster. Thank you for your help. 

— Rich B. 

Answer: Rich, great question. First and foremost, will your workshop be insulated? The quality of insulation is going to make all of the difference, so the equipment used will be most efficient if you go high on the insulation. Another factor is you performing installs on your own. If you end up going with a mini split system, you’ll need a certified installer for that. A pellet stove may be able to be installed yourself. However, I am not clear on this so the city will be the place to check.  

Electrical wall units generally can be installed by the end user in most cases. Your choices may be narrowed if you are determined to do all the work on your own but if you are open then I would urge you to look at each option and the equipment’s ability to heat the square footage you are requiring most efficiently.   

Personally I have heard that the mini splits are an excellent choice, as they perform both cooling and heating and do so with great efficiency. Generally, a certified installer will be able to answer questions on projected cost effectiveness per your personal situation. Best of luck. 

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