Mini split AC - thoughts?

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Topic Author
GingerandPiper
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Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:06 pm

Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by GingerandPiper » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:40 am

I have a home with radiant floor heating, but no AC and all windows are irregular sizes - not window unit size compatible. I had a contractor come out and evaluate my home for a mini split system. He works with Mitsubishi. I live in a one level home, smallish and would only need a 2 zone system. It does have a heat pump that I don't need but would be a backup, I guess, if my boiler has problems for the radiant heating. The cost is high IMO (approx 9K) but what do I know?

My biggest hurdle is my HOA and the neighbors. No one has ever had any AC before - they just manage with fans (I am in New Mexico). Well, last summer was nearly unbearable. My old school neighbors are trying to block me from getting AC because they are convinced it is noisy and because they philosophically don't believe in AC - and are generally just cranky about everything that might bring change. :-)

Anyway, I watched the reviews on YouTube and they are unanimous that a mini split is an ultra quiet system. But they don't say if it's the compressor or the inside unit. It's the outside compressor I'm concerned about. I honestly don't know what or who to believe as I am just a "little ol' lady" and again, what do I know?

Oh, for those who understand this stuff: it's a MXZ-2C20NA heat pump and two MSZ-FH12 and MSZ-Fh09 indoor highway fan coils, including a 3 stage filtration system (then refrigerant piping, 230 volt wiring , and then some other things like charge and start. pressure test refrigerant system, 12 year warranty.

Thanks in advance.

Ginger

JoeNJ28
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by JoeNJ28 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:07 am

Quiet for both indoor and outdoor unit. I have fujitsu and can hold a conversation standing right next to the compressor.

Skiandswim
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by Skiandswim » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:13 am

Get competitive bids. The cost for HVAC units, and mini-split units, can vary considerably depending on the contractor. You can compare the units based on rated capacity, noise levels and warranty.

Past thread that might help: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=252789

We installed a min-split for a house addition. Unit was rated at 50 db noise level for outside unit (compressor) and was one of the quietest. Some range up to say 60-65 db (comparable to dishwasher noise when standing in kitchen). Hard to say if you neighbors will noise or complain. Placement and planting around the unit make an impact on noise levels.

Topic Author
GingerandPiper
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by GingerandPiper » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:33 am

Thanks for the link to a similar topic. I'm sure it will be helpful as well as the responses I've already received.

Thanks again!

Ginger

fabdog
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by fabdog » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:54 am

What do your HOA docs say about noise levels on anything you install?

Our HOA is quite detailed on anything you want to put outside (aircon units, generators etc) and specifies noise levels. To get approvals you submit the spec sheet for the item you are putting in (or replacing)

If your proposed unit meets the noise specs they outline and you meet any other requirements (do they specify a fence around it for example) then the neighbors will have to learn to love it... maybe they will be inspired to get one

If the HOA has no rules around this, then not clear how they would block you

Mike

MStrambolo
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by MStrambolo » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:12 am

I put a Mitsubishi system into a 1700 sq ft loft in NYC. It was a long rectangular space with kitchen, living, darkroom, and bedroom in 65% of the space separated by a wall from a studio in the remaining space. The larger area had south facing windows and a larger heat load from the sun, the smaller area got virtually no direct sun beyond an hour or two in the morning during the summer.

I installed one compressor for the bigger space with two air handlers inside to even out the cooling - that one worked also for heat down to about 17 degrees external in the winter. For the smaller space I put in a second compressor that provided cooling and heat down to below zero outdoors that ran a third air handler in the smaller studio space. I also tracked down a wireless add-on that enabled me to control the system from my phone (one zone, or both, heat/cool, temp, etc) so I could come home to a cool place regardless of an inconsistent schedule.

The ductless system replaced a 35K BTU window unit in the larger area and a 12K unit in the smaller. At the height of the summer I'd pay about 100-150 more for electricity than in the winter when the ac's were mothballed. Both units were, noisy particularly the larger one, and the cooling was very uneven.

The ductless was a huge step up in comfort and came with a reduced cost for electricity. I could run the system as much as the window units and only spend 50-60 more per month for electricity over the cost for non-cooling months. The loft was sometimes cooler than I liked in the winter so I also made use of the heat function in the winter and the cost for that was consistent with the cooling cost. Based on no evidence other than my impressions, I also think that the system dehumidified better than the window units.

The compressors on the roof were very quiet. It being in NYC, the ambient sound has to be considered, but the compressors were so quiet it was often hard to tell if they were running or not, even if you stood right next to them. I had to look at the fans to see if they were turning to know for sure. The air handlers inside bordered on silent.

An unexpected plus was regaining the view out of my windows. I had 3 each 3x8' and 4x8' windows (front and back), so I didn't consider that removing the ac from the bottom of two of the three would be all that noticeable, but it was! Another huge plus.

I've subsequently moved into a coop apartment where ductless isn't allowed and I miss that system every day that I run my window ac's in the summer. I've gone so far as to have the ac's removed here in the winter (much easier in a smaller apartment) in order to regain the view that they obscure. If I ever move out of my current place to one which could accommodate a ductless system, I'll have one put in without question.

Topic Author
GingerandPiper
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by GingerandPiper » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:17 pm

M Strambolo,

First, lucky you to live in NYC! I love to visit as much as possible.

And thank you for your detailed personal experience. I'm sorry your current living situation won't let you have ductless. I hope there's a good reason....:-)

Ginger

Topic Author
GingerandPiper
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by GingerandPiper » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:27 pm

Mike,
No, there are no specs on sound - no specs at all - and AC is not explicitly banned. But no one has ever installed it before and they are concerned this will be a precedent and yada yada. Mostly, it's the way we're governed: the homes are divided into quads and any neighbor for any reason can object to something a neighbor has put outside their home - even the most benign bush or tree. If the neighbor(s) and the party proposing the change cannot come up with a compromise it goes to arbitration and the entire community can vote. If I would get a negative vote on my AC I can appeal but by the time it was settled, summer would be over! I don't know anyone who has taken it this far. Most people in the past have just given up having the "life is too short" mentality, and I can get that.

However, I'm told noise is the main concern and from what other posters have replied, I'm feeling more optimistic.

Oh, forgot. It is not a percentage vote rules system. It's called consensus.

Thanks for your input.

Ginger

fabdog
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by fabdog » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:42 pm

Ginger-

one last question... what part of NM are you in? When we lived in Albuquerque we had swamp coolers (evaporative cooling) which makes no noise, and is effective at keeping the house ~20 degrees cooler than outside... our daughter in Las Cruces had aircon as it got hotter.. You mentioned folks using fans in the summer... so maybe Northern NM?

Mike

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leeks
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by leeks » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:59 pm

The suggestion to explore evaporative cooling is a good one if it is applicable in your area (I'm on East Coast so never bothered to learn too much about it). Perhaps look into a "whole-house fan" as well.

The Mitsubishi mini splits are being used by all the recent high-end renovations in my neighborhood (central A/C is usually not an option in these rowhouses) so people seem to think they are great systems. I'm in NYC though and HVAC choices are certainly climate-specific.

inbox788
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by inbox788 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:15 pm

My understanding is that they're fairly quiet and maybe less noisy than the larger central AC units from companies like Carrier, Trane, etc. Still, they're not silent, and if your neighbors windows are open, it might be louder for them than for you inside with closed windows. Distance reduces noise levels, so your immediate neighbors are the ones most likely to notice. On days when you have your AC on, invite them over to cool down and have a beer. They will be installing their own very soon and closing windows so noise won't be a problem, and when the majority of the HOA has AC units, the few remaining open windows will slowly give in. Ask your installer for referral bonus and discount for your neighbors, and enjoy the summer! And look into installing solar. Solar and air condition are a perfect marriage.

UpstateNY86
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by UpstateNY86 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:19 pm

Mitsu has the quietest unit I have ever serviced. It’s very hard to tell when they are even on. They are not like your typical outdoor unit. I also highly recommend them for comfort. 9k also sounds reasonable. I installed mine at my own place and they are very expensive.

inbox788
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by inbox788 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:38 pm

UpstateNY86 wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:19 pm
Mitsu has the quietest unit I have ever serviced. It’s very hard to tell when they are even on. They are not like your typical outdoor unit. I also highly recommend them for comfort. 9k also sounds reasonable. I installed mine at my own place and they are very expensive.
How much is installation? How long does it take?
I was under the impression it was $1-2k installed for a single room, compressor placed just outside, so minimal work with all electrical and foundation in place.

OP, have you gotten other quotes? Didn't know Lennox makes split units now. Are they manufacturing their own or just relabeling others?

https://www.acwholesalers.com/Mitsubish ... 89026.html

https://www.improvenet.com/r/costs-and- ... nditioning
https://www.lennox.com/products/heating ... it-systems

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WWJBDo
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by WWJBDo » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:39 pm

We installed 5 FH09NA indoor units with 2 outdoor units in December. I've only run them for testing (the AC) so far but noise is not an issue at all for heating.
I would recommend you consider the new version of the remote, PAR-FL32MA-E Wireless Remote. These new remotes involve placing a wireless controller in the wall unit that attaches to your wifi. It's pretty new and I was the first install our contractor (who only does mini-splits) had done. Best of all, it has a phone app that allows you to set the room temp, fan speed, etc from the phone which has worked flawlessly for me, as we did little room specific heating during the winter. If you don't use it, no big deal but I found it to be very convenient.

Here's the Mitsubishi link to the specs, including sound levels:
www.mitsubishicomfort.com/sites/default ... f?fid=1010

Our total cost was about $17k, so that pricing sounds reasonable. One caveat - our bid did not include painting of the galvanized steel covers. I knew that and did the stripping and painting of those covers myself before they were installed. Just make sure painting is included if you want it. Otherwise, that could end up being the biggest complaint of your neighbors!
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Upton Sinclair

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:49 pm

I installed a Fujitsu ductless recently. Quiet. It’s for heating and cooling two rooms over our detached garage. During the polar vortex, it was reassuring to be able to verify the temperature without having to bundle up and go outside.

First rate all around. Do it before the HOA makes the rules more restrictive :sharebeer
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Cycle
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by Cycle » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:51 pm

You can put them in yourself in a day, plus a day for electrical, so a weekend project if you've never done one before. I could do it again in 8 hrs including everything (gutters, wall mounting, hole cutting, adding 240v line and disconnect).

Home depot has some that are pre-charged so you don't even need an HVAC person to come out and charge the lines.

The project cost me $3400 to put two of these 24k btu units in at my duplex. I got a quote from two companies for $15k. I think trades people make more than people with phd's these days.

So quiet, very nice upgrade over window units.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

michaeljc70
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:17 pm

I've had them in many rentals in S America and Europe. It is very common for them to be used to retrofit buildings there. They are pretty quiet. I don't know that that is the issue though. What are the rules of your HOA? Anybody that's been in one knows that many HOAs have certain personality types. Some owners have the attitude if I don't have something I don't want somebody else to have it. Some might not want to look at the unit from their window (assuming the outside portion will be visible). Some won't care if you tell them it will be quiet. Threatening to put window units in (even if not really feasible) may sway them as those are noisier and uglier. Maybe you can make it an either or argument (window units or split unit) saying you need it cooler for health reasons.

Topic Author
GingerandPiper
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by GingerandPiper » Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:31 pm

Yes, Michaeljc70, my HOA is one of those distinctive personality types. I thought about using the "health related" card, but I would be ridiculed for that as I jump around in all kinds of weather playing Pickleball outdoors. But yet, I AM a senior (elderly even!) citizen, so my doctor might agree as (and this is true) last year it was so hot in my bedroom that I had to resort to prescription medication to sleep...so who knows?

My irregular sized windows won't accommodate window ACs so that won't work. And from what I hear, the objection that is the loudest is the noise (so to speak.: ). But then it will be something else, like the aesthetics.

Thanks for your comments.

I will write back to report what happens.

Ginger

Topic Author
GingerandPiper
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by GingerandPiper » Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:34 pm

To other posters' questions:

I was quoted $8500 plus 8.5% sales tax, this includes installation and warranty. Any aesthetic modifications are additional. There is no way I could get approval if I didn't have an established dealer install it.

Oh, the recommendation on the remote will be communicated to my dealer - right away!

Daisy

jbuzolich
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by jbuzolich » Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:43 pm

Parents in Oregon have the Mitsubishi and love it. We did four zone Fujitsu at our cabin and love it. Very quiet and does well with cooling and heating. Prices highly regional I think but we paid about $12k for 4 zone installed including permits. The cooling is the only way the cabin is usable for me in summer. The heating keeps it usable for my wife in winter. We're happy.

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Chicken lady
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by Chicken lady » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:00 pm

These are not expensive units. Check out this site to get an idea of cost of equipment . If you read carefully, you'll see the air handlers may be one brand and the compressor is Mitsu - will give you an idea of the cost of a basic unit like you're being quoted. You can get a very energy efficient unit or another that is somewhat less energy efficient. SEER ratings are included. The amount you were quoted sounds about right to me. It's the labor for installation that costs.

We have one in our barn, another in the art studio of a rental property. These things are very quiet inside and almost as quiet outside. If you're standing next to the compressor, outside you'll hear the sound of the fan. Compared to a window air conditioner? No comparison noise wise.

Ask your HVAC guy to give you the address of some commercial locations they've installed mini-splits - drop by and listen for yourself. These are so quiet compared to window AC's and also to central heat/air compressors. Absolutely no comparison.

So your neighbor doesn't like change. Too bad for everyone.

Alf 101
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by Alf 101 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:55 pm

I was the OP for the past thread on this, linked early on in this one. Something I want to reiterate is that, in going through this process, we gathered multiple quotes. Not only did the prices vary, but also the installation plans proposed by HVAC professionals.

This will be more or less of a factor depending on the space you need to cool and the flow of the house. Ours was not straightforward, so it was a useful exercise thinking about the rooms we use most, and how air moves through that space. Going through this process, and meeting different contractors for quotes, we became much clearer on the right questions to ask and what we wanted. The particulars of the house can explain some of the cost variance -- how easy or difficult aspects of the installation are.

We also sized our condenser a little larger than needed, giving us the option to add an additional unit down the road. This gives us an option if our use of the room changes, and if a back bedroom or office space ends up being less comfortable than hoped.

We had this installed last November, so other than a couple of trial runs, we have not used it much yet. Time will tell.

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ladders11
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by ladders11 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:52 am

Lived with a mitsubishi mr slim as a renter. Super quiet, unobtrusive and strong. Had a minor issue with condensation drainage (hot and humid climate) but resolved it myself. Loved it overall, so much better than window units.

jgt808
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Re: Mini split AC - thoughts?

Post by jgt808 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:53 am

We have a 11,500 btu mini split in our 1100 sq foot house. It's a solar powered (hybrid) unit that is DC direct from the panel (3 panels) during the daylight hours and off the grid (A/c current) when the sun goes down. It's powerful, quiet and very happy as we live in Hawaii. Seems to take no time to cool the entire living room and kitchen area. We were contemplating the larger unit, but this is perfect. Lezeti is our brand, I'm sure Mitsubishi is high quality.

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