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Would you buy a house that had five-zone ductless HVAC, and no ducts?

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Would you buy a house that had five-zone ductless HVAC, and no ducts?

Old 02-06-2018, 11:12 AM
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Default Would you buy a house that had five-zone ductless HVAC, and no ducts?

If you had two equal homes... everything is the same.

One had a "traditional" HVAC (air handler, ducts, etc.)... (1 zone)

One had a ductless 5-zone system (Like a Mr. Slim) and NO ducts in the house (more space in the attic, lower energy bills, etc.)

Would you rather the "traditional" system or the 5 zone system?

Thanks,
Pete
Old 02-06-2018, 11:20 AM
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Depends on how it looks, and how the lines drain, (gravity or pump), ductless is way more efficient. I'd prefer it over central A/C but it would never work at our house due to where the units would have to be mounted on the walls. (They would look terrible)

.
Old 02-06-2018, 11:38 AM
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I would take traditional system. Those little splits systems are good at what they do but when they break they can start to get real expensive real quick. Is there really some reason you need five zones in a house? Maybe if it was 4000sqft. Plus depending where you are you certainly don’t want to rely on them for heating too much
Old 02-06-2018, 11:39 AM
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Pete, we rented a house in the Abacos a few years back that had this exact set-up. 4bdrm/2 bath about 2300sq ft

We were asked to turn all of the zones off when we left the house for the day.
We kept the main living area zone running, to keep the humidity out. When we came home from the day's adventure, we opened up the house and ''aired'' it out with the afternoon and evening breeze.

I was a bit skeptical about this as it gets hot in the Abacos! Once the house aired out in the evening and we closed it up, the units went back on and quickly cooled the house for sleeping.

Sold me on the min splits. The 12,000btu units draw around 5-6 amps I believe when running in cool mode. Quite a bit less draw than a whole house unit.
Old 02-06-2018, 11:41 AM
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Traditional, but multiple zones (2-3). Ductless minis are a band-aid for an improperly engineered space.
Old 02-06-2018, 11:43 AM
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I would think mini splits are more compatible with smaller homes and specific room needs or retrofit OR very high energy cost locations. It would have cost me substantially more just for the units than my total central AC system installed as well to save very little for a few months a year.
Old 02-06-2018, 11:45 AM
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No thanks. When they break and they will break they are a pain in the ass. When they leak and they will leak it usually runs down the wall. They do not exchange air as quickly as a properly installed central system or have the flexibility. Having ducts is not a bad thing. They are handy units and have their uses but on a whole house not so much..
Old 02-06-2018, 11:48 AM
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I have a mini-split system in my basement and when we finish the "apartment" in the barn it will have one too. But aesthetically I do not think it's the right product for a house.
Old 02-06-2018, 11:54 AM
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as an ac contractor I can tell you they are a maintenance headache and I don't think they dehumidify as well. My opinion.
Old 02-06-2018, 11:58 AM
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We built a garage with 2 bedroom apt above and put in Fujitsu mini splits 7 years ago (4 way split on one outdoor unit). Up until recently, I really liked the system.

We started losing refrigerant last summer and narrowed it down to the coil in one of the indoor units.

Coil can't be replaced. Tried to repair the coil, but it is riddled with pinholes.

So, no big deal, I decide to spring for a new wall unit. NOPE!

Fujitsu no longer makes this model, and the new models are not backward compatible with the outdoor unit.

So, the only solution is to replace it ALL. 4 indoor units and the outdoor unit.

Somewhere between 10-12K for just the units, no labor included. FU Fujitsu.
Old 02-06-2018, 12:04 PM
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Traditional but minimum two separate units not just zoned. Mini splits are great for that sun room or addition but to have them all over the house is ugly as crap. I’m sure in a certain layed out home it will work but I want a return in every bedroom.

Our house is a 4 story townhome including basement. Basement is 12’ high, first floor ceiling 18’. One unit in basement one in closet on 2nd floor. House is perfectly controlled year round at constant 71-73 No way a bunch of mini split system could come close.
Old 02-06-2018, 12:09 PM
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Welcome to the world of ductless splits!!! The headache they cause isn’t worth the minimal savings. Take the numbers from a split and the numbers from a whole house system and you’ll see there isn’t that big a difference. The big difference will be once the house gets down to temp the splits will be a little more efficient. However they run longer so depending on the space and the usage even that savings could be very minimal to nonexistent. Then figure the cost of repairs especially if it leaks and the parts to fix and all saving you may as well set aside just to have the money to troubleshoot and fix them. Been in the HVAC world 15+ years and have yet to see any reason to choose them over traditional system. Only case really is if a place has hydronic or steam heating, or there is only a small space that needs it. Had a customer actually do the math on even putting one in a small space, one ton or less. Figured for the cost of the split system he could replace a window shaker every few years and still be way ahead!
Old 02-06-2018, 12:17 PM
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If I was buying it to rent out for short term rentals I'd want the split system, for personal house robably the duct system. But if the house is a good buy it wouldn't be a deal breaker, would depend on price and quality of install. Lower bills sounds nice though..
Old 02-06-2018, 12:18 PM
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In this country? Not unless it was quite significantly cheaper (like low 5 figures cheaper).

In the Caribbean? Prob so as it is more common there, as well as some other parts of the world.
Old 02-06-2018, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Carolina Custom View Post
We built a garage with 2 bedroom apt above and put in Fujitsu mini splits 7 years ago (4 way split on one outdoor unit). Up until recently, I really liked the system.

We started losing refrigerant last summer and narrowed it down to the coil in one of the indoor units.

Coil can't be replaced. Tried to repair the coil, but it is riddled with pinholes.

So, no big deal, I decide to spring for a new wall unit. NOPE!

Fujitsu no longer makes this model, and the new models are not backward compatible with the outdoor unit.

So, the only solution is to replace it ALL. 4 indoor units and the outdoor unit.

Somewhere between 10-12K for just the units, no labor included. FU Fujitsu.
Were the pin hole leaks at the brazed joints?
Old 02-06-2018, 04:09 PM
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No. Resale would be brutal. Very few people in the general public, from my experience, trust the systems for one or two rooms, much less a whole house. Running air ducts is expensive, invasive, and changes the ceiling lines in most properties that were built without the intention of having them.
Old 02-06-2018, 04:26 PM
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Love splits here on Cozumel. So cheap I have one in my shower.
Old 02-06-2018, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rbhankins001 View Post
In this country? Not unless it was quite significantly cheaper (like low 5 figures cheaper).

In the Caribbean? Prob so as it is more common there, as well as some other parts of the world.
The pricing really just hasn't caught on in the US. I really wish it were a viable option but the cost makes it prohibitive. I run into situations all the time where I'd love a mini split and the number s just never make sense.
Old 02-06-2018, 05:10 PM
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I wouldn't do it. I think the tech is "probably" fine but people down the road would freak out about a whole house mini split system down here. OTOH if you were to convert a garage or add a second floor I would totally do a mini split for one or two additional rooms.
Old 02-06-2018, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by forgot View Post
Were the pin hole leaks at the brazed joints?
Not in the brazed joints. Random places in the copper tubing.

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