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Mini-Split HVAC

8 replies [Last post]
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Joined: Feb 15 2004

Has anyone tried this type of unit as described in this months newsletter.Any info on costs ? Any references regarding dealers ?

Joe Williams
Terra Linda

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

I have this (my Samsung unit is pictured in the article.)

It is 88 degrees outside right now and the house is 71 degrees in the kitchen, LR/DR, and MBR. We did not do the back part of the house and now wish we had. Our house is only 1536 ft^2 - so you would want something bigger and with more air handling units. We have only two - one in the LR - which takes care of the common living areas -and the other in the MBR. We HATE the heat and use ours all through the spring, summer, and fall. We love the product and have had it for two years, trouble free so far.

Placement of the air handling units is crucial, so it is impt. to use someone with Eichler expereience, or they will be clueless and unable to understand why we (Eichler owners) may insist on installations that do not involve roof penetrations.

If you provide your e-mail address, I can provide you more info. re installation if you like.

Cathye

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Joined: Feb 15 2004

Thanks ! We have central air now, but not in the rear small bedrooms (offices) So the main part of the house is fine, but we need a boost in the back (faces West) Unfortunately the installer listed in the article does not service Marin county so I am trying to find one that does.

My e-mail is [email protected]

Thanks for the response
Joe

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Joined: Jun 28 2003

Hello Cathye,

I respect your opinion in your approach to your home, so would you please email whatever info you have on the split a/c.

Also, I've been eager to find who used to install electric garage opener on your bypass garage doors.

My email address is [email protected].

Thank you.

David
Mtn. View.

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Joined: Jul 7 2004

Joe: I'm also in Terra Linda. Would you please email me the names and numbers of installers who service Marin?

Cathye: I'd love to get the information you offered.

My email is lchapman701atComcastDOTnet.

Thank you both.

Laura

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Joined: Jul 7 2004

Cathye: How expensive is the unit to operate in terms of added electricity costs? Thanks.

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Joined: Mar 16 2005

I looked into mini-split last year, but did not go ahead for cost reasons and I am looking to change jobs to SF which would involve a move.

Here are points I came across.

Cost - - minimum is $5,000, more likely $5,500-$6,000, for a 2 unit system. It requires a separate 20-30 amp circuit so you may need a new electrical panel - $1,800 to $2,000. Mark H from Sunnyvale (I haven't seen any postings from him recently) bought a 3-unit system (he won't say how much, but a Sanyo 3-unit is about $2,800) and had it it installed for either $2,000 or $2,500. That's the least expensive way of doing it, but this site's sponsors hate it because it effectively eliminates them - - most won't just install - - they want the markup from selling the A/C hardware which is easily available through the Internet. A 2-unit system (hardware only) will cost from a low (Fujitsu, Hitachi, etc.) of around $1,300 to a high of $2,000 (Mitsubishi, Friedrich). The difference between that and $5,500 is installation and contractor markup ($250 for tubing is incl.) - -- they know that the demand is there and won't price compete. The alternative is the Foam Roof & mini-duct combo which I think is still $30K!!

Placement - - Cathye is dead right about placement of the in-door units, but really didn't say why. The indoor units (why there're called "mini") is the combo evaporator (or is it condenser? one is in-door and the other is outdoor) and cool air blower -- you typically only get 2. They're like a light source; the effect is somewhat focused and more power won't spill over to other areas if the space has walls & boundries - - best you can do is place a mini in the MBR and a 2nd one in the largest OPEN (no walls) space in the house -- Loni's N.'s atrium Eichler mini-split installation is like that -- one unit in the common hall in the BR area and the 2nd in the kitchen/family & LR junction to cover as much OPEN space as possible. Sanyo and Freidrich have a 3-zone unit but hardware is $2,800 to $3,000, big jump from $1,800 for 2 zone. Another approach is individual units (they cost a low of $650 each, hardware) but that means multiple outdoor units which eat up sideyard space and individual 15-20amp circuits.

This site has considerable discussions on "nature's air conditioning" -- cross breezes are suitable most of the time, but 2003 and the past week have been weakening my opposition to spend the money for mini-split - - my wife is all for it (because she's currently "at home" - aka umemployed) but I can't commit.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

If you are planning a move, then it certainly would not make sense to go through the expense of adding a mini split. However, on our case, we have been there for 10 years with no plans to move - probably ever - or until retirement time, which is a long way off.

Both hubby and I are very bothered by the heat to the point that I would just not come home from work until after 9PM on hot days, since opening all the windows did no good at all in cooling the house and in my mind,78 degrees at night is NOT cool and it means 2-3 hours of sleep per night, tops. Good for your wife. She is right and is obviously bothered more by the heat (or cares less about trying to be 100% "natural" - whatever that means, than do you).

IMHO, spending the 6+K for the system, plus another 2K for the panel upgrade was nothing - insignificant - Why in the world would anyone that is paying on a mortgage ($2-$3kper month plus taxes and insurance) even hesitate for a moment to make their house livable?

In hot weather when I am home, I run it all day and night and could give a rip what it costs. Maybe some day when I am on a fixed income and have to count pennies that will change - but for now - I want to be able to inhabit my home. It is the single largest investement that most of us will ever make in our lives - and I will NOT be a slave to the weather and have it ruining my quality of life.

Would anyone advocate going w/o heat in the winter? I doubt it. So what is the difference?

Cathye

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Joined: Feb 15 2004

This is great information. Thanks.

Joe

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