My Mini Split Experience

Help Support House Repair Talk:

remout

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Messages
89
Reaction score
42
I live in South Louisiana and my home is a 124 y/o cypress Acadian cottage. Until a year ago it had no electricity or plumbing. I added 600 Sq Ft to the existing 900. That's all inside with another 500 in porches.

I had a 1 ton window unit that struggled to keep the 600 sq ft addition under 80 degrees and could not lower the humidity at all. I have a real time kw/hr device and had a good baseline on the window unit.

I bought a Pioneer brand Mini Split, it's at the low end of the price range of similar units. I choose the 21 SEER, 240v model. I picked this brand only because of the extensive, albeit short term, user reviews on Amazon. I'm 3 weeks in and could not be more pleased. At wide open, it uses 32% less electricity than the window unit. More importantly, it easily cools the space, tames our brutal humidity, and throttles back to very minimal electricity usage. It appears to be a quality unit with quality fasteners, tight tolerances, and tough exterior finish. Only time will tell about the long term quality though. I have no relationship with the brand or seller other than being a happy customer.

It seems the conventional wisdom is if you're handy, you can do most of the install yourself but hire a pro to start up the unit. That's probably really good advice in most cases. For one thing, this particular unit's warranty is only good when put in by a licensed HVAC Technician.

If folks are having user experiences like I am, we're going to be seeing a lot more of these.
 

oldognewtrick

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
11,414
Reaction score
1,700
Location
Nashville, TN
Glad to hear, I* recently talked to a guy I know who owns an HVAC company and he's a huge supporter of the mini split systems. Zone ability and energy efficiency.
 

latelifebiker

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Messages
20
Reaction score
7
Great story remout. I appreciated the detail.
When we tore off our old decrepit deck we bit the bullet and replaced it with a pricey but marvelous 12 x 20 gable roofed porch enclosed with sliding thermal windows. We got ourselves a comfortable and versatile 3-season room we could use in all but the hottest or coldest Atlanta weather. Needless to say, that simply was not good enough. We popped for another four grand and installed a Daikin 21 SEER 1.25-ton mini-split, and for two years NOTHING has prevented us from enjoying our retreat. We run it only when needed and have hardly noticed the added power costs. One important attribute of these things is how damned SMART they are. Ours will detect your presence in the room and direct heating/cooling toward you. It will detect the absence of occupants and cut back to super saver mode. It modulates its compressor load to suit a limitless range of demand for either warm or cool air. The unit was not part of the original plan or design, but I can't imagine the porch without it.

Deck cum Porch.jpg
 
Last edited:

remout

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Messages
89
Reaction score
42
I'm now 6 months down the road with this system. I've had no trouble with it at all and am enjoying the small utility bills. I'm about to buy my second one, it will also be the Pioneer unit.

When I got into this, I had trouble finding DIY long term reviews on the lower end (price wise) units. I promised myself I'd keep this thread up.

A friend who owns a HVAC company in another town, too far away to help, told me that if I screwed up the install and it leaked I would know in 6 months or so. He advised me to watch the small line for freezing up when using the unit in heat mode. So far so good!
 

remout

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Messages
89
Reaction score
42
Got my second one in this week. In the pic you can see the first one is sitting higher than the other. Out of an abundance of caution, and too much reading on the Internet, I ordered the vibration dampening mounts for the first one. When I saw how little the unit vibrated I decided to skip the extra mounts on the second one.

Once the downstairs is finished, there will probably be a third unit mounted on an additional shelf above the first two. This third unit will see minimal duty as the upstairs doesn't get much use.

 

remout

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Messages
89
Reaction score
42
I purchased two wifi dongles, one for each unit. The benefit of this is finer control over timed functions and the ability to control the units when away from home.

These dongles, usb sticks, are generic and are used by a number of Mini Split manufacturers. I ran into one issue that was specific to my remote. After sending Pioneer an email, I received a detailed answer the next day that solved my problem.

The only tricky part about setting these up is I had to turn off Cellular Data on my phone, Android, during the setup phase. This forced my phone to use WiFi data and sync up with the Mini Split. The Mini Split and phone have to be on the same network, WiFi, during setup. Once it was working I was able to turn back on Cellular Data without causing any problems.
 

aNYCdb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
137
Reaction score
37
I'm just curious if anyone knows if it makes sense to have a multi-zone system or multiple singles? What are generally the trade offs of having lets say 27K BTU condenser with 3 9K BTU heads, vs 3 9K BTU pairs?
 

remout

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Messages
89
Reaction score
42
I'm not a HVAC Professional.

Pros of a single unit driving multiple inside air handlers or multi split:
  • Takes up less space outside
  • Only requires one electrical circuit from the breaker box
  • I assume installation costs would be slightly less. Only one unit to mount and one AC electrical line to connect.

Cons:
  • Efficiency, a multi split can only throttle down to the level of the highest requesting air handler (the inside units). This was the deciding issue for me.
  • Single point of failure.
  • A bit tougher to manage when the power goes out and I'm running on my generator.

I went with multiple single units. I've got 2 and will end up with 3 or 4 when my house is finished.
 

WyrTwister

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
329
Reaction score
60
Got my second one in this week. In the pic you can see the first one is sitting higher than the other. Out of an abundance of caution, and too much reading on the Internet, I ordered the vibration dampening mounts for the first one. When I saw how little the unit vibrated I decided to skip the extra mounts on the second one.

Once the downstairs is finished, there will probably be a third unit mounted on an additional shelf above the first two. This third unit will see minimal duty as the upstairs doesn't get much use.

I would be cautious about wall mounting the condenser unit , due to the possibility of transmitting vibration to the wall .

Wyr
God bless
 

WyrTwister

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
329
Reaction score
60
We have 2 , 12,000 btu MS's , one for bedroom , one for the living room . Installed about 1-1/2 years apart .

We self installed ours , with help from family and many answered prayers .

I would go with multiple single zone systems , if one goes out , you still have backup heat / A/C .

As for as the cost of electrical , I did that myself , also .

Wyr
God bless
 

remout

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Messages
89
Reaction score
42
We're now about 3 years down the road with these units. I just installed our 3rd one, very happy with the decision to go with Mini Splits and the brand we ended up with. Our last calendar year electric bill averaged just under $100/month :)
 

joecaption

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
2,374
Reaction score
406
Mine was installed about 8 years ago, it used to have propane heat.
Never had to have it serviced.
Just the heating bill used to be $300.00 in the winter for propane, it went to $75.00 on electric.
 

Green8

Member
Joined
May 11, 2018
Messages
23
Reaction score
2
So I'd heard over and over that mini-splits are more efficient, a big reason being that there's no loss of air as it travels through ductwork. I was never able to track down an original source for those numbers (I heard they were 30 percent more efficient), but it sounded good.
 

Elizabeth Lynn

Active Member
Joined
May 17, 2018
Messages
36
Reaction score
5
Thanks for sharing! I have a mini split system in my home and it's wonderful. It's very energy efficient and is less expensive. I recommend it!
 

Green8

Member
Joined
May 11, 2018
Messages
23
Reaction score
2
Effective climate control is about comfort and efficiency – delivering just the right amount of heating and cooling to every space while using no more energy than necessary. Single and multi-zone duct-free mini-split systems enable you to provide innovative solutions to residential and light commercial applications. Duct-free mini-split systems solve difficult heating and cooling challenges on job sites where the adjustment of existing systems will not satisfy the need.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

WyrTwister

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
329
Reaction score
60
Many are used in a commercial setting for server rooms .

We no longer use our central A/C system ( still use the furnace for heat , as needed ) .

We have 2 MS's and 4 window shakers . Run only those units in the rooms we are occupying at the time .

Wyr
God bless
 

Green8

Member
Joined
May 11, 2018
Messages
23
Reaction score
2
I'll start with saying I did some research on Midea and it was tough to locate anything about them. My contractor recommended Midea and he explained to me the benefits of Midea over some competitive brands like Trane and Goodman. I've had this installed a month now and we are impressed. It's ultra quiet and can't even tell it's running. Our new Midea cooled the house down fast as anything. I'm sold for good. What I was told is that the new inverter systems will only use the amount of btu that it needs to cool down the house versus going full blast. Basically I think it's a variable speed condenser and with the variable speed blower it's been saving us a ton. Would recommend this brand to my friends and family.
 

Latest posts

Top