SpacePak air conditioner prices, pros and cons

With their compact, flexible ductwork delivery, SpacePak air conditioners offer competitive alternatives to other AC leaders

Mayflower Hill house by JMS2 on Flickr.SpacePak may not be a name you’re familiar with when it comes to considering an air conditioning system for your home, but you should acquaint yourself with this company. Founded in 2000, SpacePak specializes in developing central air conditioning systems delivered through sized-to-fit, compact ductwork. The end result is high efficiency delivered with minimum disruption.

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Delivering big by going small

A big distinction found with a SpacePak heating or air conditioning system is its centralization and scale of delivery. A central heating or cooling system designed to actively circulate air can employ ducts that are smaller than those used with conventional systems. In the case of a SpacePak system, it uses 2-inch mini duct, insulated supply tubing that keeps the air moving consistently. That consistent delivery increases the efficiency. The smaller ductwork also allows a SpacePak system to use flexible tubing to distribute the air instead of bulky sheet metal ductwork.

This tubing is seamless, so it doesn't waste energy through leaks like sheet metal. Its flexibility allows for passages with no corners where dust, pollen, dander or even mold can accumulate. The tubing's narrow diameter allows it to be placed in the spaces behind walls, floors, and ceilings, fostering installation with virtually no disruption to livable space, or to any interior architectural features.

These smaller ducts deliver heating or air conditioning with a high aspiration rate, which means that the cooled or heated air will circulate through a room more evenly than with traditional units.

Flexibility gives you more options

A SpacePak central air conditioning system can be installed into either new construction or an existing structure. Either way, the simplicity of SpacePak's sized-to-fit tubular ducts requires just a fraction of the installation time and cost associated with having sheet metal ductwork fabricated and installed. Because if its flexibility in design and installation, you can use a SpacePak system in:

  • Historic buildings
  • Buildings without existing ductwork
  • Buildings that utilize radiant heat systems
  • Open floor plans
  • Log homes/cabins
  • Brownstones or row houses
  • Lofts
  • Additions
  • Modular homes

If these are the qualities you're looking for in your next HVAC system, an investment in SpacePak may be right for you. Here's an overview of the most common HVAC solutions from the company and a comparison of some air conditioners/cooling system strengths and prices.

SpacePak air handlers

SpacePakThe ESP series of air handlers are the main units driving your HVAC system.  Offered in both vertically and horizontally installing models, these air conditioners are very compact.

With a 13 seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating these machines are also reasonably efficient, though they are not as energy conservative as certain high-end, central AC units. This can be offset with the installation of zoning dampers, which modulate the air conditioner's behavior based on the heating needs of the house to avoid wasting energy.

Available in capacities from 2 to 5 tons, these units can range from $1,600 to $2,000 (not including installation.)

SpacePak heating options

If regular heat exchange isn't enough to meet your home's heating needs, SpacePak offers petite electric duct heaters to provide supplementary heat for your air conditioning. These items can produce between 34,000 to 65,000 BTUs just by being placed downstream in the ducts.

The costs range from about $500 to $900 depending on unit size (again, not including installation.)

SpacePak also offers hydronic and electric coil heaters for its systems. The hydronic systems are definitely cheaper. A 5-ton unit costs about $800, and the coil system is priced around $1,500 (not including installation.)

SpacePak Aircell

spacepak air conditioners2For smaller spaces, SpacePak also offers the Aircell, a diminutive, multi-purpose unit that integrates heating, cooling, ventilation and filtration into a single system. The Aircell is a compact and nearly invisible HVAC solution.

It is priced at about $1,400 (not including installation.)

Chiller Series reverse cycle heat pumps

spacepak air conditioners3Similar in many ways to conventional heat pumps, the SpacePak chiller series delivers cooler air through the smaller ductwork SpacePak is known for. These pumps come with condenser coils roughly 30 percent larger than conventional units, a feature that helps inprove the speed and efficiency of both the heating and cooling functions of the pump.

The chiller series reverse cycle heat pumps start at about $4,600 (not including installation.)

Comparison highlights

The basic difference between SpacePak and other air conditioning systems is the way a SpacePak AC unit actively circulates air within a specific room or throughout your entire home. Circulating the air more effectively is what makes a home with SpacePak central air more uniformly comfortable: total circulation results in no cold or warm spots, no drafts, and up to 30 percent more humidity removed from your home (reducing the opportunity for related accumulations of mold or mildew.)

Window air conditioner units or mini-splits require noisy fans within the living space to blow the air around, and there is no overall circulation of your home's air.

While a SpacePak system's high aspiration rate, combined with its small size and profile, makes it an excellent product, you may find that the immediate price tag is higher than comparable, conventional systems. SpacePak units also carry fairly modest SEER ratings.

Most SpacePak systems come with only one-year warranties (and they do not include labor.) With some models and in some areas, you can purchase expanded or extended warranty packages. You may also find contractors that have warranties on the work they do to install your system. With a system as refined as a SpacePak AC unit, relying on a licensed, certified HVAC contractor for installation will be important (it also guarantees that any warranty will remain valid and active.) Most experts (including us) will tell you to be sure you get at least three separate contractor estimates when you begin considering your installation project.

While SpacePak isn't a product that comes with a low up-front cost, it may provide the perfect alternative for your existing home if you need to upgrade or even replace your current AC or HVAC system. If you have an older home or even if you have recently completed an extensive or expensive remodel, SpacePak may be the perfect answer to your home’s special needs. Get in touch with contractors now for free product and installation quotes.

First photo credit: JMS2 via Compfight CC.

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