11 April 2014 ~ 1 Comment

Mini-Split AC Systems…Wonderful If Installed Properly

Mini-split AC systems are really taking off in New England. Why? There are many reasons. The biggest reason may be that New England homes tend to be older, with baseboard or steam heating systems. Warm air is a newer style of heating, but the duct work is generally uninsulated and improperly sized to efficiently add central air conditioning. Mini-splits can add quiet, energy efficient cooling (and supplemental heating) to homes, offices and other structures without the expense and mess of new duct work. But……

 Who you buy from and what you receive is far more important than just getting a mini-split system installed. A lot of “contractors” are jumping onto the mini-split craze and the trend is expected to continue but there have been major issues.  Many manufacturers are selling various systems to try to get a piece of this hot market. Some are excellent, some are okay, many are absolute junk! Stick with a time proven product from a reliable company.

 A trend we are seeing a lot of is the quick, cheap install. Installed improperly, many of these units will still run fine, for about 18 months. At this point, many simply die. This is often due to a lack of proper pressure testing and not putting the system into a proper vacuum. The pressure test is at over 400 psi for a minimum of one hour. These units require putting the system into a vacuum three times, each time breaking the vacuum with nitrogen. Additional refrigerant is often needed and this must be precisely weighed before adding to the sealed portion of the system. All of this work takes time, knowledge, and proper, calibrated equipment.

 Again, I want to stress that a mini-split will run for some time with an improper install. With the cost of this high tech equipment and the precision needed to keep them running in order to get long term payback on your investment, a top quality install is vital. Don’t buy a Porsche from the guy who changes the oil on your old pick-up truck and don’t expect to win the Daytona 500 in a Kia.

One Response to “Mini-Split AC Systems…Wonderful If Installed Properly”

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