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Old 06-18-2013, 01:11 PM   #1
Speedo66 OP
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Heat Pump Purchase, Questions

Looking to buy a ductless heat pump system (condensers outside, wall units inside). Also seen them called "mini splits". Single level house of 1500sf, southern New England.

Mainly looking for the A/C, but I'm told the heating is somewhat efficient down to about freezing.

The questions begin:

What brands are considered the most efficient and least problematic?

Are there any efficient systems that will heat below freezing?

What SEER should I be looking for?

Are more efficient units worth the extra money, i.e., how long to amortize extra costs?

What should I be looking for in a good installation? What would indicate a bad installation?

Any additional info experts in the field could contribute would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:45 PM   #2
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As long as you are redoing your system, you might want to also consider geothermal, although that will involve ducts. We put in a geo system 3 years ago and love it. We live in MD so it does both heating and cooling. Cheap to run and very effective.

The extra cost of the geo over a conventional HVAC was offset by the 33% fed tax credit, $5K state tax credit, and $2500 county tax credit.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:36 PM   #3
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We have a Lennox system, installed last year. I don't know all the details you were looking for off the top of my head, but I can speak to how well it has worked in Houston TX.

AC is fancastic, as good as any AC i've ever had. The Heat kinda sucks. we have a 10KW heat strip and even then when the temps get into the 30's-40's outside it struggles to warm the house up. For someplace like CT I'd want more heat. If you have to use lots of heat strips you will pay for it in your utility bills.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:50 PM   #4
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Geothermal heat pumps are the way to go in Massachusetts even though the installation costs are higher than air-sourced (conventional) heat pumps. Heat pumps (depending on the exact design and refrigerant) work really well when the source of heat is above 40 degrees, but efficiency drops off below that temperature and other heat (supplemental heat from resistance coils or fossil fuels) is needed to keep up with heat loss from the dwelling. The average air temperature in Massachusetts (interior, not coast) is below 40 degrees at night Nov thru Apr (6 mo.), so for that period of time air is a weak source of heat for a heat pump. On the other hand, deep earth temperature in Massachusetts ranges from about 48 to 52 degrees during that same period making the ground an excellent source of heat for a heat pump.
Depending on how much land you have available, you could install a geothermal heat pump with either horizontal coils (larger land area) or vertical coils (like a water well, very little surface land required).
Interestingly, although I have not seen an installation in a home, a heat pump could be used as a heat source for a typical New England circulating hot water heating system although I'm sure that oil or gas fired backup would be necessary for extremely cold days.
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input. We live on a hill, solid rock ledges, geothermal is not an option. Drilling through rock would not be cost efficient.

We have a usable heat source, not the most efficient, but it's already here. Cost of new unit and installation of another heat source would take a long time to amortize.

Another other recommendations of particularly reliable ductless heat pump brands?
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:31 PM   #6
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There are quite a few. Carrier , Toshiba , Fujitsu , Mitsubishi , Tadiran , LG . There are others that escape me right now. Most important is dealer/service network in your area.
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Old 06-19-2013, 05:48 AM   #7
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I have been looking at Daikin heat pumps. They claim that they will produce heat to -5deg. I have a 900sqft home, looking at doing that as my heat source with a wood stove as a supplemental.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:58 AM   #8
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Some brands specify a "wind baffle" to get heat in lower temps. No sure exactly what they do, or how they're used.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:28 AM   #9
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Fujitsu, Daikin or Mitsu, depding on your wallet size and features you want. I went with Fujitsu. I'd stay with Japanese brands, and away from Korean (LG, Sanyo). Friedrich is an 'off-brand', but they're just re-badged Fujitsu units.

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Old 06-19-2013, 10:57 AM   #10
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I tried to find warranties, but only a few list them on their sites.

Mitsubishi seems to have the best from what I can find. If installed by one of their "diamond" installers, they come with a 7 year parts and compressor warranty. Fijitsu had 2 year parts, 7 year compressor.

As far as rebates, CT is offering a $250 rebate, US tax rebate of $300 if they have a high enough SEER rating, which is what I would buy anyway.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:44 PM   #11
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I have a Grunaire system. Made in Germany. It replaces through the wall units in an addition that has no central HVAC ducting access. It works great.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jad3675 View Post
Fujitsu, Daikin or Mitsu, depding on your wallet size and features you want. I went with Fujitsu. I'd stay with Japanese brands, and away from Korean (LG, Sanyo). Friedrich is an 'off-brand', but they're just re-badged Fujitsu units.

John
+1. Mitsubishi is good but so is Fujitsu or Daikin. Daikin seems to be leading the way in innovation as of lately but they all produce the same desired result when sized and installed properly.

IMHo...I'm not sold on any of them for longevity in a server room but I have stuffed a lot of them in there.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:19 AM   #13
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Cool2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedo66 View Post
The questions begin:

What brands are considered the most efficient and least problematic?

Are there any efficient systems that will heat below freezing?

What SEER should I be looking for?

Are more efficient units worth the extra money, i.e., how long to amortize extra costs?

What should I be looking for in a good installation? What would indicate a bad installation?

Any additional info experts in the field could contribute would be greatly appreciated!
We have been successful with Japanese Sanyo mini-split systems installed in server rooms in public schools in South Florida.

http://us.sanyo.com/HVAC-Single-Split-Systems

The systems have been quiet and trouble-free for several years.

In your case, however (1500 sqft), a ductless system is not the ideal approach, because the airflow is restricted to the area in front of the unit only, leaving spaces that are far from there, especially if close to windows, uncomfortable.

For proper installation, you could follow this:
http://us.sanyo.com/dynamic/product/...s-39363246.pdf

The main restriction is for piping length and for different levels of indoor-outdoor units.
You don't have choices for SEER rating within the same brand, they produce equipment with the best efficiency currently accepted in the market.

Sorry, I have no experience with the heating part of these units, as we have installed cool only units.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:22 PM   #14
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Toshiba and LG have multipoint systems that would have one condenser with multiple fancoils. They've got capacities up to 18 tons and multiple condensers can be connected together for larger yet capacities. They're selling the Toshibas thru Carrier dealers. The Toshiba is less compilcated , but equal.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:59 AM   #15
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Had a salesman over yesterday. His thoughts were that a mini-split system with one compressor outside, and an 18K BTU interior unit in the living room/dining room/kitchen area, and 12K and a 9K units in a couple of the bedrooms would heat and cool the house comfortably.

He has the top installer rating from Mitsubishi, is a certified installer for the power company rebate program, and seemed to know what he was talking about. Or he was just a great salesman.

Have to see what kind of number$ he comes back with.
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