Anyone Installed a Mini Split HVAC System in an old Mobile Home?

I am rehabbing a couple early 80’s mobile homes that have packaged units today. The units are end of life and will need to be replaced, and the ductwork is also in pretty bad shape and need several patches and retooling to make them serviceable again (e.g. a couple floor vent risers are missing - no idea why)…

I have a couple bids from local HVAC guys and they have both said that ripping out the old duct work and installing a 3 or 4-zone mini split heat pump would be a cheap(er) and reasonable option for what I am trying to do - about 4K installed versus 5K or so to rehab the old ductwork and get a new packaged unit in. I don’t like either of these options, but looking for the lesser of two evils. I don’t mind the aesthetic difference.

Has anyone had experience with this approach? Did some light reading and it’s clear mini splits are a great option for energy efficient homes with ideal insulation, but the research and track record for older homes with marginal insulation is lacking. The units I would consider would have variable speed condenser to help reduce cycles, but other than that I don’t have the confidence other than what these guys are telling me.

Appreciate any thoughts from this group as always…


With a multi-zone mini split there are alot more moving parts and electronics. If you’re renting the homes and responsible for maintenance I would stay away from them. Variable speed equipment is harder to troubleshoot and more expensive to fix. Also, a multizone minisplit you’re going to have a lineset for each air handler running on the outside of the home to the condenser location. It wouldnt look clean.

Typically ductwork is cheap and easy to repair if you know how to work with sheet metal. In my opinion, it would be best to replace with another package unit, 13 seer basic system. If you’re in the south I believe the standard might be 14 seer.

Is the existing unit gas or electric heat? Is it a heat pump?

My specialty is in installing traditional split systems in stick built homes.

Thanks for this information, interesting…

Existing unit is all electric - no gas or propane on site today. I am okay with the system not being variable speed but then I have to rely more heavily on the Manual J calculation being right, and not sure I trust these guys to do that. It’s a 14x66 and the rooms are pretty small, guessing a 7+7+9 setup would be the way to go.

Also the floors and insulation are being redone so was hoping there would be a way to run the linesets under the home between walls, etc as necessary.

These contractors don’t seem to like working with sheet metal - I guess I need more bids.