I would like to get an update from those people who have systems from LG, Fujitsu, Daiken or Mitsubishi mini systems for cooling and heating.
Now that you have lived with these split systems, would you do it again?
What are the advantages? disadvantages? How many units you have and where did you place them? What is the square footage of your house?
Thanks for your help!
Your question is too open ended. There are many postings about Mini-split A/C; here is a summary to start your own research.
(1) No one that had a mini-split installed regrets doing it. Basically, if you're willing to spend the minimim cost ($5,000 for 2 handlers), you've decided that heat relief is a requirement, not a luxury. Just ask Cathy, although if more of her neighbors in Willow Glen installed one, they may experience brown-outs from adequate PG&E infrastructure.
(2) Another posting showed a triple condenser (outdoor) units that cost $10K+; really nice, but you'll need outdoor space, accomodating neighbors (tolerating high pitch compressor noise), electrical capacity (150-200 amp panel).
(3) Most people install a 2-handler mini-split (another had a Sanyo that has 3 handlers). Thus, a handler in the living space, but a determining the location for the BR area can be challenging if you want to cool as much area as possible.
(4) Cost for $5000+ for 1 outdoor/2 indoor handlers. Samsung became popular over the past years, but Fijitsu is nice and LG has specialty ones. Additional cost for panel ugrade ($2,000) if you're maxed out in electrical capacity; convert to gas for your dryer to free up capacity ($600 plus new dryer) if PG&E requires upgrade to feeder line. I believe you can do 125 amps before needing to upgrade house feeder line.
(5) Wise to consider both heating & cooling; mini-split can provide fast, spot heating during the winter months, complementing your radiant heat.
(6) This is a 2-day installation job for a competent contractor; you won't find much pricing difference for the same installation although you'll get different answers on placement of air handler units, whether you need panel upgrade, etc.
So, for those that can't bear the several annual heat spells in the South Bay, mini-split is a great creature comfort; however, I hope A/C doesn't become over-popular because of PG&E's/Cal electrical distribution infrastructure is shaky and the heat you displace from your house becomes everyone's heat.
As you probably have seen from my posts of several years ago, we got a Samsung because that's what my neighbor got so we never even looked further after seeing how well hers worked.
Our home is a 1536 ft^2 flat-roofed courtyard model. We did not want any roof penetrations (love our Dura-foam roof and nobody's going to touch it...), so we had one unit on an exterior wall in the LR, and the other, creatively installed on an interior wall in the MBR. For the lattter, the thin tubing that brings in the air was run from the outside and thru the closet - hidden behind a beam - and to the unit. For the other thin tube that takes the condensation away, it was run thru the wall and drains into the drain pipe for our washing machine situated in the hallway. It's amazing what one can do to hide things using beams and closets!
Our biggest regret is not getting a condenser that would handle more units. The back 3 bedrooms remian hot because there is nothing to push the air down the hall and back to that part of the house - though I will say that even in the hottest of weather, if you have double pane windows and doors w Low-E glass, a foam roof and a mini-split, the main area gets plenty cool (95 outside and down as low as 68-70 inside), and the back part of the house does get a little of that benefit. We are considering springing for a separate, complete duplicate set up for the back of the house next summer: the office, and the back bedroom that is used by a family member. Don't know about the exercise room, but that would be nice too.
I also stated in a subsequent post that next time around, I'd get the Fujitsu. One of the advertisers on this site installed one for my elderly father in his Los Altos Hills home (dad only wanted it in 2 rooms - the den and the MBR - he lives alone now...) and it is really superior in terms of output and sound. While ours is very quiet, I cannot even hear his at all. And the contractor/installer was supurb. He and his crew took very good care of dad and helped us through what should go where and all of that.
Lastly, the cost difference between getting the AC only style versus the combo AC/heat pump is insignificant, so that's a must. It does not impact the installation cost, but only increases the cost of the equipment by a few hundred dollars (for us, about $200 at the time.)
These wonderful Japanese inventions came into being in post WWII Japan, for use in highrise buildings from what my research shows.
In Willow Glen, being here for 13 years, we have never had a summer brown out. The only time the power ever has gone out is during a bad winter storm or when some contractor digs where they shouldn't be. When we needed cooling - we have always had it.
PS: The biggest impact on keeping our flat-roofed house cool in the summer was replacing the tar and gravel roof w a foam roof; 2nd the Low-E glass; and 3rd the mini-split. No sense in getting a mini-split if your roof is tar and gravel or anything else that just absorbs the heat into the house and/or if you have the original, thin glass panes and sliders (though I confess that we have not yet replaced the two largest glass windows - one in the LR and the other in the MBR. Doing that would make more of a difference).