Purchasing/installing mini-split ductless AC units in my house
July 14, 2008 9:11 AM   Subscribe

The previous question about mini-splits (one type of "ductless" AC) on askMe dealt only with complications of apartment dwellers. So, as a more general question, does anyone have advice on picking a good mini-split unit, and a reliable installer? I know that Mitsubishi is a big player for this type of item, but are they still as evil (environmentally) as they were last time I checked, in the '80's?
posted by ericbop to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know how to judge "evil (environmentally)," but, in comparison to the best heat pump type central A/C, mini-splits are several per cent less energy efficient, because of limited compressor and air flow capability, and the lack of heat exchangers that recycle energy from cooled or warmed house air to incoming fresh air, when doing air exchange. They're not intended as alternatives for whole house central A/C systems however, so, in limited use situations, their inefficiency may not matter, compared to the cost and installation issues of a better centralized system. And, if you live in a moderate climate, like the Carolinas of the U.S., and don't constantly pull in outside vent air, the lower efficiency of the mini-split may not hurt you as badly as someone living in south Texas or Florida, who likes to have 10 to 30% outside air constantly mixed with recirculating air in the house, and runs air-conditioning 20 hours a day, or more, for months at a time.

As for brand and installer recommendations, that depends on the specifics of where you live. Mitsubishi and Panasonic have both been leaders in mini-split units for years, and in NYC, if that is where you are, you should be able to find resellers/installers galore, by checking the Yellow Pages.
posted by paulsc at 8:38 PM on July 14, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, paulsc.

Just as a clarification, I was referring to Mitsubishi as "evil (environmentally)," not to the type of AC units that they sell.
posted by ericbop at 8:54 PM on July 14, 2008

I've used a Sanyo branded unit in my server closet for years. Works good, and it's very quiet.
posted by kc0dxh at 3:41 PM on July 18, 2008

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