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organiccowgirl

Any Mini-Split Brands to Avoid?

14 years ago

We're about to convert our house (built 1994 near Houston) to mini splits. Our current system is very poor and neither the heat nor the A/C really work at all. We know what's wrong with it, but it's simply not worth fixing.

We are excited about installing mini-splits, but really can't find any information on brands. We know Fujitsu is probably "best," but aren't really interested in spending the extra money on it if there are excellent alternatives at less money. We do, however, plan to stay in the house for 10 years or so, so longevity/quality is important.

Both my husband and I are running into a roadblock on brands, though. We simply can't find any information on what brands to avoid or what is good. We constantly see that people love Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, etc. But, what about, for example, GrunAire? Or some other random brand?

Any suggestions, folks? We're too confused!! :)

Thanks!

Comments (25)

  • 14 years ago

    I've been looking for the same information for our current home. We had Mitsubishi system and the AC worked well but I was not happy with the heating. This may have been due to the installation. Our current house has steam heat so I do not care about that feature.

  • 14 years ago

    Thanks, tube. We hadn't really been looking into Mitsubishis. We're pretty close to ordering a dual zone GrunAire and a larger single zone GrunAire to handle our house. We're really hopeful that it works out. We've been researching it heavily for months and months, but keep hitting roadblocks on it.

    Anyone know about http://www.goductless.com/ ? They seem quite professional.

  • 14 years ago

    Remember any A/C systems bought from any internet store voids the manufacture warranty. Plus no contractor will fix the system under warranty unless it was bought through a local distributorship and installed by a licensed HVAC company.

    Good systems
    LG, Diakin, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Fujistu, Samsung, Sanyo

    I would recommend you stay away from the less expensive models and go with a better models since these system have a shorter life span than regular central air systems.

    Most models have 6yrs on the Compressor and 1 to 3yrs on parts.

  • 14 years ago

    I am a air conditioning service technician. I install and service mini splits all the time.

    I've put in a lot of Sanyo and Samsung units and seem to use the highest quality parts and have the least issues.

    The brands that seem to have the most problems are Goodman, Carrier, and Toshiba.

    Here is a link that might be useful: My Site: saveonheatingandcooling.com

  • 8 years ago

    "Remember any A/C systems bought from any internet store voids the manufacture warranty. Plus no contractor will fix the system under warranty unless it was bought through a local distributorship and installed by a licensed HVAC company."


    ^ I have not found this to be true. I bought my Payne heat pump online, and when the X13 fan motor started making a noise I called the local Carrier dealer, they looked up the serial number and replaced it under warranty, no questions asked.

  • 7 years ago

    Avoid Sea Breeze and Thermal Zone products for the reasons listed above. Buy brand name products locally.

  • 6 years ago

    Sea Breeze and Thermal Zone brand ductless products are available through AC contractors & technicians who purchase them from almost 500 HVAC wholesale outlets in the US (include. HI), Canada, Virgin Islands & Bermuda. We stock parts and offer technical support via phone & our website from our PA based HQ. You can purchase just about any brand of mini-split online which we do not recommend doing. The most important thing when picking any HVAC system is the person installing it. HVAC systems are not like cars that roll off the truck ready to go. Even ducted package units are only as good as the ductwork they are connected to. That being said, the cardinal rule to remember is - The best HVAC system is only as good as the person who installs it and services it. If you pick the right person, they will pick the right brand.

  • 6 years ago

    I am going to give some unsolicited advice. Think carefully about installing a whole lotta mini splits and consider a central system or some combo of one or two minis with a ducted system. I drank the coolaid and installed seven mini splits while abandoning the attic and crawlspace ducts. If I were to make the decision again, I might do it differently with 20-20 hindsight. Seven systems are a lot more to maintain and repair than one. Having the huge range of cooling available is a blessing (each mini split throttles to 30% and I've got seven stages, sort of, on top of that.) Minis are good from a backup standpoint given that something will fail leaving something running with minis but not a central system. You can run some AC with a small backup genset with minis. Lots of pros and cons.

    If I was in a situation with have good indoor ducts and AHU, or are in the midst of major reno so installing indoor ducts, including lots of returns is easy, I'd stick with ducts. If you have not experienced a modern variable speed central ducted system, you are not making the right comparison with mini splits.

  • 6 years ago

    "Remember any A/C systems bought from any internet store voids the manufacture warranty. Plus no contractor will fix the system under warranty unless it was bought through a local distributorship and installed by a licensed HVAC company."

    Just a general update as this post is almost 10 years old, but Mitsubishi now sell owner-installed units with a full warranty.

    But please be absolutely sure that minisplit(s) will be the best solution before jumping in.

  • 6 years ago

    How many indoor units are proposed and powered by how many outdoor units? If one outdoor unit, compare price with splitting that up. There are advantages. One is that you have backup with part of your cooling operating even if you have a hard failure of an outdoor unit. Another is that you can throttle back on capacity more. Operating a single bedroom unit on a compressor built to operate two means that you will be able to go down to 60% of its capacity before it starts to cycle and dehumidification capacity starts to degrade. With a 1:1 system, you can go down to 30%. If you are running 5 units on one compressor and drop down to one indoor unit, you will be cycling all the time. You and your installer should pay attention to what inside is combined with what outdoor units to get the best low load performance meaning what is running at night inside should all be running on the same outdoor unit and that unit should be as low a capacity as possible.

    For example, if you have 5 indoor units each 6000 btu and you have a 14000 btu outdoor powering two of them in bedrooms and a second unit, 20000 btu, powering three in "daytime" rooms, you are sitting pretty. If you are stuck with a bedroom unit in the 20000 btu outdoor unit, it will work but probably not as well.

  • 6 years ago

    You can purchase the units online, and as long as they are installed by a licensed contractor the warranty will be valid. I would go with Mitsubishi/Fujitsu units. I purchased 2 units from ecomfort.com last year, and was able to register with Mitsubishi with no issues. They did ask me for an invoice from the installer who provided the labor and after they were provided that I was emailed a warranty certificate. As a side note, ecomfort is owned by one of the largest distributors of HVAC/plumbing equipment so if you order from them you can be assured you are getting goods properly sourced from the manufacturer with warranty intact.

  • 6 years ago

    We have had two different brands in two different houses. Mr Slim/Mitsubishi first- absolutely no problems. Installed 2009. Three years ago bought a 1960's mcm house. It had just been renovated and a Fujitsu (sp?) installed in the 'addition'. This one also no problem except initial installation by 'well known local HVAC' company did not know their a$$ from a hole in the ground. After I had someone who was familiar correct the situation no problems. That said, I think the Mr Slim responds faster when inital turned on whether for cooling or heating. The cost of operating these are quite a bit less than a conventional HVAC. We re slowly planning a new build and will not be without a mini split. Both units have been in central Florida.

  • 3 years ago

    Do not purchase Fujitsu! Their products are junk and they don't stand behind their customers. After spending $50k to install, our system barely worked from the start so we had to pump in $25k in repairs. Fujitsu even inspected the system and found it to be installed properly but wouldn't cover any repairs. At this point we have broken equipment and window units until we can afford to convert to Mitsubishi. SHame on on Fujitsu.

  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Samsung sucks! My electric bill went from under $200 a month to over $800 a month! Samsung Compressors have a tendency to leak freon. Working on getting them pulled out and a full refund.

  • 3 years ago

    there are several opctions... DAIKIN, MIDEA, MITSUBISHI

    https://www.airconditionersductless.com/


  • 3 years ago

    go with Bosch great tech support,price, and relieability Scott Williams HVAC

  • 2 years ago

    I realize there's a lot of love/hate perspectives based on brand, but after seeing prices of the big boys (Mitsubishi, Daikin, etc) at least 2-4x the cost of the DIY systems that have continued to get easier and easier to install and maintain it's an increasingly hard proposition to avoid modern HVAC over concerns of a $15-20k installation overhead when a comparable DIY install can be had for $5k-8k. As an example...


    After seeing my neighbor drop his electric bill 30-40% with a partial DIY Senville minisplit who had nothing but great things to say about it over his first two years of use, I took up his offer to help with install on 28k dual-head Senville system after extensive phone and email-based conversations with their sales teams on proper size, location, and acessories.


    The "trick" to ensuring your system's covered by most manufacturers' warranties (in Senville's case their 10 year warranty) is splitting out the "Bob Villa busy work" vs the professional stuff that could void a warranty or burn your house down.


    For example, all the interior work of drilling applicable wall holes, mounting interior head units (easier than a TV), filling those holes with foam, and installing the line set covers back to the compressor can easily be handled by anyone with even modest DIY XP. Just make sure you've measured out the total line set length, aren't crimping those metal lines, and (if you aren't comfortable with any of that) just leave any/all exterior lineset and/or cover work to the pros to run back to the compressor and cover up. Lineset covers are effectively glorified gutters: easy to install, not as easy to ensure they're not creating sharp angles or crimps in the lineset.


    Pro Stuff: checking system pressure, running new 220v/40amp electrical service with applicable cutoff(s), and ensuring that (even on systems that come pre-charged) that pressure is correct and the system starts, works to spec, and you have that warranty form filled out and signed by a professional that knows what they're doing.


    All in all I paid: $5,150:

    • $2600 complete mini-split system w/covers (dual-head, 28k Senville SENA-30hf-d)
    • $1200: electrician running new 220v/40a service (panel to compressor)
    • $500: plumber connecting/testing line set pressures/operation
    • $850: handyman mounting exterior compressor + buying/installing line set covers after factory covers were found not have necessary right angles)

    In just first winter heating costs dropped by 50% (prior pellet stove + electric baseboard so worst case scenario) and early spring/summer air conditioning has been even more impressive. The system's almost completely inaudible, the 2x10 house construction's transmitted zero reverberation through the walls (a common concerns for those wall-mounting their exterior compressor), and Senville's mobile app (which also works with the Midea app since apparently Senville's just a rebrand of Midea systems) allows fully remote, Alexa-compatible, and multiday schedules that are easily configured.


    I know all the existing professionals lament the fact that these DIY/quasi-DIY systems can disappear overnight and often won't touch them due to concern over future parts availability, but when costs compare at $5k vs $10-20k for even a modestly sized system it really calls into question how many inefficiently heated/cooled homes are left in the cold (no pun intended) over fear of extensive capital costs when systems like these can be the best of both worlds: an opportunity to work with local pros to understand how modern heat pump technology actually works, take a bit of the busy work off their plates and still make a living ensuring the more advanced work is not an unforced error on the part of the homeowner willing to exercise a bit of elbow grease to cut costs by 50-75% off traditional installations.


    Hope this helps.

  • 2 years ago

    Update from 2021: We trashed the useless Fujitsu Halcyon minisplit units and replaced with Mitsubishi. Works like a dream. Too bad we had to install 2 systems in 5 years. I'll never touch another Fujitsu product!

  • 5 months ago

    These articles are not helpful as it is a contractor who is biased and pushing their own brand(s) that they offer. Also every major HVAC manufacturer has the same piece of equipment sold under multiple brand names but the articles don’t mention the other brands. The best equipment is only as good as the company/techs installing it. Find the right company & you will find the right brand.

  • 5 months ago

    Great point @GRofVA. Was just thinking that article above cited different reasons for not buying Midea and Senville and we already know Midea manufacturers white label splits for Senville (same product, under different name).

  • 5 months ago

    Midea also makes products for Carrier, Trane & Bosch. The same article mentions winow AC’s. 95% of window AC’s as well as portable dehumidifiers & portable AC’s are made by Gree or Midea in China regardless of the brand name on them. The exceptions are LG, Haier/GE and Friedrich’s upper-end units. Friedrich’s lower-end units (as well as their ductless & PTAC products) are made in China.

  • 2 months ago

    Anyone aabout donlapsi 24000 but can't find info on


  • 23 days ago

    Considering brands like Mitsubishi and Fujitsu is a good start due to their solid reputation, but there are other options like GrunAire worth exploring for a balanced choice. Seeking recommendations from local HVAC professionals can help clarify which brand aligns best with your needs and budget.


    I found sorting through options daunting too until I used an online service to compare local quotes. It streamlined the process and ensured I got competitive pricing without the hassle of calling multiple contractors individually.