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July 18, 2011 6:21 PM   Subscribe

Ductless Air conditioners - what do you know?

So, looking into a ductless air conditioner due to a room in the house that we added on that presents issues trying to get it hooked into the central.

The air/heat company recommends Fijitsu, although they'll install a Haier for about $1000 less, which figures into a 20% savings ($5k vs $4k total installed). Anyone have experience with either of these ductless makers?

And if not with the ductless systems, per se, how about company experience for their other products?

Looking at a 18k BTU system.
posted by rich to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Haier stuff I've seen in stores seems pretty cheaply made, but not priced cheaply enough.

If I was buying one, I'd probably buy LG or Mitsubishi.

The only issues I know of with them is making sure the condensate drain works properly. If the little pump or hose gets clogged or kinked, you are in for trouble.
posted by gjc at 6:57 PM on July 18, 2011

I met with a reputable local installer who does pretty much all ductless installations. He said that after installing all the brands over the course of 20 years, he now does only Mitsubishi because they run so much more reliably.

Take with a grain of salt; I guess he could be profiting somehow from a relationship with the company, but he has an excellent reputation and really knew his stuff in other ways.

FWIW, the prices you're listing are definitely in line with the quotes we've been getting (in NYC). Two contractors have quoted us $5K to install with one compressor + room unit and ~$9500 for one compressor + 3 room units.
posted by queensb at 7:24 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

These are also called "mini-split" systems and here in Los Angeles it seems that LG dominates the scene--at least that is what I see a lot of driving around, and they have a nice big recognizable logo. Actually, now that I think about it, I live near KoreaTown, so maybe thats another reason. Maybe in Little Tokyo they would have more Japanese brands.

P.S. I bought mine for less than $1,000 on eBay and hope to install it myself.
posted by markhu at 8:06 PM on July 18, 2011

The only split system that I have personal experience with (and when I say that, I mean I was around when it was installed but didn't watch that closely, and afterwards stood in front of it and played with the little remote control — not exactly an in-depth analysis) was a Mitsubishi. It seemed to work quite well. AFAIK it's still running, and was installed about 8 years ago.

I gather that placement of the condenser (the exterior unit) is fairly important, as you want it outside of the direct sun if at all possible. They are substantially more efficient if not placed in direct sunlight, or so said the installer.

Personally I would buy based on efficiency, which is typically measured using "EER", and warranty rather than upfront price. The energy consumption of an AC unit will dwarf the initial purchase price pretty quickly. You would be foolish to get a less-efficient unit just to save on upfront costs unless you had run the numbers and were absolutely confident that the numbers were going to fall in your favor.

Also I think some units can also work as heat pumps in addition to AC; that might be something to consider as a feature, particularly if you have electric heat.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:58 PM on July 18, 2011

FWIW, next-door neighbor just put in a Mitsubishi and loves it. I think she said it was something like $3000, cools her 12,00-square foot house fine if she leaves doors open.
posted by troywestfield at 6:04 AM on July 19, 2011

Best answer: We recently installed a Mitsubishi ductless system and we love it. I cannot believe how quiet both the inside and outside units are. You cannot hear the compressor running from 3 feet away on our deck.

All of the companies we got quotes from dealt with Mitsubishi. As one installer said, "I only install Mitsubishi because they are bulletproof and I don't have to come back and fix things multiple times like the others."

Haier is the brand sold and installed by our local Home Depots. Make of that what you will. They do seem to be a cheaper unit. The prices you have been quoted are in line with the quotes we received.
posted by pixlboi at 7:36 AM on July 19, 2011

I have experience with ductlesss mitsubishi units. every single mitsu unit i have used has run for years without problems. we have used them on for 24 hours a day constantly for computer rooms and i have never had a single problem with them.
posted by majortom1981 at 9:55 AM on July 19, 2011

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