We are rounding the corner to the holiday all Canadians adore: Victoria Day weekend! This is the traditional day many of us head for the hills, lakes and forests to reopen our seasonal cottages.
It is true there is some initial maintenance work to reopen a cottage that has been closed up all winter. But the moment that is completed, you have the whole summer and early fall to enjoy the great outdoors whenever you please.
Of course, every year, it seems summer gets just a little bit warmer. The global warming trend isn’t likely to taper off anytime soon, so if you barely squeaked through last summer’s cottage adventures without A/C, now may be the time to take the plunge.
In this post, learn about affordable options for cooling your seasonal cottage, plus handy HVAC maintenance tips for existing A/C systems.
Is Your Seasonal Cabin Ducted?
The biggest determinant of which cooling system will be most economical to purchase and install boils down to what your cottage already has in place.
For example, if you already have ductwork installed, and your ducts are still in good working order, an appropriately sized central air conditioner might be quickest, easiest and most affordable.
Cooling Options for Non-Ducted Cabins
If your cabin does not have existing ductwork (many cabins do not due to their small size), it is likely you won’t want to go through the expense and invasiveness of installing ducts for central A/C, especially for an older cottage.
The good news is, you don’t have to! There are plenty of other options for cooling a smaller, non-ducted space, and some even offer heating as well.
One of our favorite options for smaller spaces without ductwork, such as seasonal cabins, is the ductless air conditioner. This sleek and minimally invasive unit can be installed on a wall or ceiling to preserve valuable floor space.
A ductless unit has two compact components – an indoor blower and an outdoor condenser/compressor. Most require only a single small hole drilled through the wall where the indoor component will be placed.
For larger cottages, ductless air conditioners or mini-splits can work on a zone system that offers individualized thermostat control for up to four different zones.
These units are efficient, quiet, eco-friendly, simple to maintain and, best of all, can provide heat as well if you choose a ductless mini-split model.
Air source heat pump
Heat pumps are gaining a foothold here in North America both for their quiet operation and their incredible energy efficiency. The average air source heat pump can boost energy efficiency (and reduce utility bills) by up to 58 percent!
Heat pumps can deliver cooling in summer and heating in winter, making them a simple solution if your cottage has no HVAC system in place. And because heat pumps also have advanced filtration, they can help remove pollen, dust and odours out of your cottage space.
The air source heat pump takes its name from how it operates. It recycles heat energy from the air, so it doesn’t have to burn fuel and there are no exhaust fumes to worry about. Even better, the exterior never gets hot, so there is no risk of burning young (or adult) hands!
So heat pumps can be a particularly smart choice for a seasonal cottage where young visitors are more likely to congregate as well.
Window unit A/C
Another simple option if you don’t have a big budget and don’t mind giving up a window is the window unit A/C. These can easily be popped in during summer and removed during winter and are simple to maintain. Newer models offer improved energy efficiency with quieter operation.
Another perk for a window unit A/C is that some models also provide heating.
For customers who are on the fence about whether this is the year to install air conditioning, what we often suggest is to beef up their cabin ventilation.
Circulating air already feels cooler than stagnant, still air, as anyone who has ever walked by a floor fan knows!
Ceiling and floor fans are the simplest way to improve air circulation. If your seasonal cottage is ducted, a heat recovery ventilator can keep the air moving while also escorting excess humidity back outside again.
Seasonal Cottage Air Conditioning Maintenance
If your seasonal cottage already has an existing HVAC system, opening season is the perfect time to schedule your annual safety inspection and preventative maintenance service.
Air conditioners, air registers, exhaust vents and ductwork can all look like pretty great places for wildlife to shelter from the cold of winter. This makes spring a particularly popular time to schedule HVAC service – this way, your technician gets to be the one to check for critters rather than you!
It is also a smart choice to schedule your seasonal maintenance now because winter can be pretty hard on HVAC units even without unwelcome visitors.
Debris, dirt, dust, nesting material, falling branches and other storm detritus may have left their mark, making your unit unsafe to operate until it has had a thorough cleaning, inspection and tune-up (this is especially true for the power connectors and electrical wiring).
Shipton’s Offers FREE No-Obligation Estimates
Are you considering adding air conditioning and/or heating to your seasonal cottage but you need more information about pricing and installation?
Shipton’s offers free no-obligation estimates! These include personalized consulting to help you identify the best HVAC system that is the right size to efficiently cool or heat your space.
Get in Touch
Until May 31, 2019, purchase any air conditioner, furnace or combo system and pay absolutely nothing for six months! To reserve your coupon, simply complete this online form.