I've been reading about "split ductless" air conditioning. What is it? And is it a good alternative to central air conditioning?
Split ductless is a smart way to add air conditioning to a limited number of multiple rooms without having to open up walls to install ductwork—as you would with a central-air system—or install and remove multiple window units each year.
Split-ductless systems have an exterior condenser and an indoor evaporator unit that houses the cooling coil, a fan, and controls, to which you can add indoor blowers. (The condenser and the evaporator blowers are connected by electric wires and tubing, through which the refrigerant circulates.) Some models are designed to have two or more evaporators connected to one condenser unit. Each evaporator blower is mounted high on the interior wall of the room or area you want to cool. You control the units with a remote control. Since you might have multiple units, you can save energy by zone cooling your home, as you might do with window air conditioners. A Mitsubishi Mr. Slim evaporator blower is shown.
For our upcoming report on air conditioning, we tested three split-ductless systems with single indoor evaporator units; the systems cost $1,000 to $1,200 each. All did an excellent job cooling and were much quieter indoors and out than window air conditioners; indeed, on the low setting they were barely audible.
Split ductless is more expensive than window or portable air conditioners (professional installation is recommended) but is less expensive than central air if you are cooling only a few rooms. However, if you are looking to cool the majority of your home, a central-air-conditioning system is probably a more cost-effective choice.
Look for complete coverage of air conditioning, including window, portable, and split ductless, in the July 2009 issue of Consumer Reports (online and on newsstands in June).
Great Post! I like that you included the option of the split systems; gotta keep those bedrooms cool. Looking forward to more posts.
Very helpful. I need to air condition a recently enclosed porch. This has given me criteria that i can use in evaluting bids for types of units and costs. Am now definitely going to go with a mini-split. Thank you.
How much does the installation run for one of these systems?
Also, what was the SEER rating for the tested units?
Fan problems can be either ridiculously simple or ridiculously expensive. On the ridiculously simple hand, a fuse needs replacing, and you’re looking at less than $5 and five minutes. In fact, finding the right fuse and your car’s fuse box may take longer than buying and installing the fuse.
Does anyone make a 6000 btu window ac unit to fit a 19 x 16.5 inch window? What about a 12,000 btu unit for a 16 x 21 inch window? PS has to be available in Canada. HELP
I have been a subscriber to Consumer Reports magazine for years. I am in the process of replacing my outdoor central A/C unit. I have magazines going back to 2007, but I cannot find any info on central A/C units. I need help fast! I thought I opened an online account years ago although I never used it. I live at 95 Westview Drive in Stoughton, MA. My name is Calvin Jenkins. My e-mail address was changed years ago. Do you have a way of checking to see if I have an online account? Please respond as soon as possible.
We have a Fujitsu installed in a bedroom addition where it would have been a huge expense to tie into the existing HVAC central system. It's quiet, it keeps the room very comfortable from 10 degF to 95 degF outside. Very pleased with the unit's performance. Only caveat I'd give is to make dead certain that your installer knows what he's doing.
I hope CR reviews the Ductless Mini-Splits and observes the HIGH SEER rating on some of the better units, made by the Japanese, that now go from 16 to 22 and now 26 SEER !
Here in the desert, where it gets 115deg.+,.. more and more residents are turning to the ductless mini-splits to help cool down their garages, as well as, supplementing or replacing their existing whole-house A/C systems. An added plus is..' Their very quiet' too. After seeing one in my friends garage, I'm considering putting one in my own.
Got to keep that beer in the garage-shop fridge chilled...
One thing for certain... A high SEER rating is a big plus out here. The Electric Utility is charging some of the highest rates in the country now and power bills can really get high with the older low SEER rated A/C systems.
when will the july 2009 issue be available on line?
Last year, I have installed a 24,000 btu C5 spilt system with 2 indoor units that connect to my living room and my master bedroom. It can work as a AC and also a heater. It's so quiet and comfortable either in summer or winter. So I just installed another 9000 btu unit for my daughter's bed room last week. If you can't stand the noise from the window ac unit, or always concert about the safety of the portable electric heater (especially for you childern's bedroom), just a little bit more money, it's really worth it.
Can the outdoor portion of a split A/C system be installed in the attic? I have two bedrooms needing additional cooling and a HUGE wide open attic above the two rooms. Other than proper drainage of the condensatiion, I don't see a problem.
The July 2009 Consumer Reports review of the Split Ductless systems stated that a unit with a SEER of 16 or higher would qualify for a Federal Tax Credit. (Page 43). I have been shopping for such a system and according to the contractors, A SEER of 16 or 17 would NOT qualify. Their manufacturer had a unit with a SEER of 23 that did qualify.
Can you clarify this discrepancy?
Three ratings have to be met to qualify for the federal energy tax credit. The reason for the discrepancy Neal mentions is that the CR article only listed on of them - SEER. Ductless splits may very well meet the SEER, but not EER and/or HSPF if it's a heat pump. The criteria can be found by taking the link for "HVAC" at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index#c3 . At http://www.ahridirectory.org/ahriDirectory/pages/home.aspx go to the "Residential" box, scroll down to Variable-Speed Mini-Split and Multi-Split Air Conditioners and Variable-Speed Mini-Split and Multi-Split Heat Pumps to download lists that identify systems that qualify for the credit with an asterik. At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_efficiency_ratio you will find a pretty good definition of each rating. What you will find is that the largest single zone ductless system that qualify are 15,000 Btuh and the largest multizone ductless systems that qualify are about 20,000 Btuh. This is because one of the factors that raise efficiency is a larger indoor coil relative to the outdoor unit and that is problematic with ductelss sytems.
I realized this post is outdated, but the information are still the same.
Split ductless air conditioner units is like any other AC units.
It will have the basic refrigeration cycle and components. These components are:
and the refrigerant copper tube.
All air conditioner unit will not working without the five basic components, including split ductless air conditioner.
The difference between split ductless air conditioner and other regular split air conditioner units is:
1. Split ductless is small
2. It could not cool multiple room.
3. Need outside condenser units
3. Pay technician to install, including electrician.
what brand name are those highest seer units? do someone knows about them? where can i get them? can i buy them online?
At the recommendation of our local heating and air conditioning professional, we purchased two ductless mini-split units from Heat Controller Inc. to heat and cool the old garage we were renovating into two apartments. For three years we had no trouble with the units, but this winter we had to replace the fan blades on the outside compresser unit twice before our repairman finally called the manufacturer and was told: the units are not intended for use in temperatures under 29 degrees.
In other words, these units -- sold as heaters -- are not to be used when you need them the most. I was informed by the customer service department that "everybody knew that," but my local heating and air professional had no idea about the limitation of the unit until he called this past week. When the unit was ordered for use here in South Carolina, no one at the manufacturer asked what temperatures we might expect in the winter. The customer service person said that he had received a great many calls this winter because it had been such a wet winter, add to that the cold: in other words, it is a certain fact that NOT "everyone" knew. There is no retro-fit, there is no way to make the units operate in lower temperatures. I have never read a warning call about purchasing these units, and I believe there needs to be one. I also would like to ask: Is there a lawyer who would like to take on a class action suit? We are having to replace both units, about 4 years old, at a cost of over $5,000. Surely, the units should be clearly labeled on the outside of the box as not appropriate for installation in any area where temperatures may drop below 29 degrees in the winter. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to warn others about this serious problem.
Nice information it is very helpful for maintain your room or offices temperature. I also use this system in our room.
Thanks for sharing.
i want heat loading for all a/c conditioiners
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Anyone have any mini-split system product recommendations?
I have had installed two Slim Jim Mitsubishi systems in HI.
Work perfectly! Quiet, cool fast and because we sometimes have cool weather ( yes ) they also are heaters. Also, they have air filters and must be cleaned, but have easy access. Highly recommend!
Does anyone have comparisons between the standard mini-split units and the inverter type of units?
Will Consumer Reports be testing the inverter type air conditioners soon?
I live in the Valley of Virginia and am thinking of buying a 3 unit split system. What is the best system? and how is the electric usage? Should I go with just AC or AC and heat. I am heating with oil and electric and the cost of kerosene is out of site.
Has anyone install one of these ductless ac by themselves, can it be done or is a licensed professional require? Also does a similar btu ductless ac deliver the same coolness as a central unit? Thanks.
Am looking into the purchase of a larger ie "three ton" split ductless air conditioner with the intention of cooling as much of my entire house (two story cape) as possible by the use of one centrally located evaporator. Don't know if this feasable. However, you, as far as I can find, have not done tests on but three of these units - three of the little units - which was published in your 07/09 issue - nothing since. Any future testing/ratings/anything on these units forthcoming??
Here Are Few Tips For Maintaining Your Air Conditioners
Check for proper refrigerant (freon) levels. A low level indicates a leak, to be found and repaired before adding more freon.
Check all electrical components and controls.
Clean evaporator and condenser coils, as needed.
Oil motors as needed.
Is it possible to replace the outdoor unit of a split system central air conditioning with the outdoor unit (compressor/condensor,fan) of a split ductless unit? Theoretically, If all I am replacing is the condensor, condensor motor, compressor and hooking up the wires from the thermostat, it should work. Providing that the outdoor unit uses only 2 wires. Has anyone ever attempted this?
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