Housing Complex

Just Say No to Ductwork

Mary Donovan is a 65-year-old resident of a three-level home on Capitol Hill. She likes being environmentally friendly and she likes to be comfortable indoors for D.C.'s sweltering summers.

But she's not going for any ductwork. Nope, not this District resident who showed up at Home Depot today. She ain't going to open the door for a huge crew of tradespeople equipped with drywall, mud, and framing wood—just so that they can make a huge mess, impair the historic integrity of her house, fart, and otherwise make central air not worth the hassle.

So all of those reasons—perhaps minus the farts—explain why Donovan is installing one of "those European" a/c systems in her three-level Capitol Hill home. What she's talking about is a ductless, "mini-split" system, in which a compressor sits on the roof and is connected to a non-invasive cooling unit that essentially hangs on your walls.

Donovan was really pumped about this innovative approach to air-conditioning, saying it's the "only way" to go if your heating system involves radiators. Just what she bought today at Home Depot to advance her air-conditioning project is unclear.

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