Costco now selling DIY mini splits.

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
2,715
Massachusetts
Even at 16 mini splits are more efficient than a window air which is usually 9 to 11. That said ,Its the reliability issue that worries most. I generally avoid all things china,even food items. If they can sell us toxic drywall, they will sell us anything.
look at the current rating of all the components that is the only way to rate how the unit will work power wise. seasonal energy efficiency ratio SEER and energy efficiency ratio's EER are two different things. anything to do with a central type of air conditioning is rated SEER and window units are rated EER the same number EER and SEER are two different animals. when you see a outdoor compressor rated at 14 SEER that is for the compressor only. they never included the power to run the fan on the indoor unit. depending on the size of the air handler that current can be 5 to 9 amps by itself.
 

Brian26

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2013
494
Branford, CT
Supposedly the Mr Cools are just rebranded Pioneer units. The manuals are identical. Its thought someone in the states is just adding the quick disconnect fittings here after importing them.

I was also reading that these quick connect units were briefly around a long time ago. Its thought the hvac industry made manufactures kill the concept as a technician would no longer be needed. I wouldn't be surprised if another manufacturer starts selling them. The mr cools have a pretty solid reputation on other forums. The main users seem ti be workshop/garage use and surprisingly marijuana growers.

Costco is also selling these ac units now. Sort of like a minisplit with a lineset that goes out a window. Neat concept that I would imagine is much more efficient than a window unit.
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twd000

Feeling the Heat
Aug 28, 2015
401
Southern New Hampshire
Looking for something to periodically heat my uninsulated 2-car garage here in New Hampshire. It's under 700 square feet. I would just run it while I'm out there brewing or woodworking. If I could get my garage from 20 degrees up to 50, I would consider that a success. How many BTUs do you think I would need for that application?
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
2,715
Massachusetts
Looking for something to periodically heat my uninsulated 2-car garage here in New Hampshire. It's under 700 square feet. I would just run it while I'm out there brewing or woodworking. If I could get my garage from 20 degrees up to 50, I would consider that a success. How many BTUs do you think I would need for that application?
if this were a house a 1.5 ton unit would work but now your talking cement floor and if the ceiling is vented 3 tons would not work because your heat will be running out the vent in the roof. i've had a open house no sheetrock up yet 2200 sq ft house with a roof ridge vent to wire i was running a 260,000 btu propane torpedo running and it didn't even put a dent in the January cold
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,075
Eastern Central PA
Looking for something to periodically heat my uninsulated 2-car garage here in New Hampshire. It's under 700 square feet. I would just run it while I'm out there brewing or woodworking. If I could get my garage from 20 degrees up to 50, I would consider that a success. How many BTUs do you think I would need for that application?
Uninsulated spaces are very hard to heat. Add to that you are trying to bring up the air temp and everything in there in a very short time. First make sure the ceiling is closed up, insulated or not. ID start with a high BTU hot air propane like "fbelec" describes ,2nd choice,Oil hot air torpedo like a reddy heater but these have a little oil fume smell on startup and shut down. Better oil choice would be a vented oil hot air furnace. Anything electric is out of the question except a radiant heater positioned above a work station like the ones lowes has above their cash registers. Warms the immediate work area without trying to heat the entire space.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,347
Northern NH
Looking for something to periodically heat my uninsulated 2-car garage here in New Hampshire. It's under 700 square feet. I would just run it while I'm out there brewing or woodworking. If I could get my garage from 20 degrees up to 50, I would consider that a success. How many BTUs do you think I would need for that application?
If you want quick heat, it may not be good match. Ideally these units are set and forget at one temperature especially as the outdoor air temps drop down. Its tough application as you may be heating the air but you have a lot of mass in the building that needs to warm up. Heats going to rise and its going to stratify . Unless its a real tight garage with an insulated ceiling you are mostly going to be melting snow off the roof. You could buy a jet heater to do the initial heat up and then switch to a big minisplit once its up to temp.
 

twd000

Feeling the Heat
Aug 28, 2015
401
Southern New Hampshire
Yeah I know the oil or propane burners will put out heat faster than electric, but I often work on machines and have gas fumes in there. Also wood finishing projects with linseed oil and solvents.

I can close off and insulate the ceiling as the first step. I like the idea of a radiant heater to just warm the spot where I'm standing , instead of the entire garage
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,347
Northern NH
I agree on the fumes from a jet heater but its hard to beat for a quick warm up. If you want to go to the trouble probably the best option that folks dont think about is radiant tubing in an insulated ceiling and walls hooked to a glycol loop. Sure radiant tubing in the floor is popular but not practical for an existing garage that doesnt have tubing poured in. Radiant works best with line of sight between the user and the tubing and traditionally in a shop the floor is covered with equipment.limiting line of site. Note that lot of folks get confused between convective and radiant heating. Convective heat heats the air and is best applied low as heated air rises, Radiant heat heats from the emitter to the receiver so an inch or two of Iso foam with tubing on top of it is probably the easiest install.

If you have access to a heating system you can put in a heat exchanger and run a glycol loop out to the garage using the same underground piping used with OWBs. The high tech approach would be to install an air to glycol mini split. They are a lot rarer than a standard minisplit.Tom in Maine, a member on this site has a lot of experience with air to glycol units, might be best to start a conversation with him. He does have one listed on his website http://www.americansolartechnics.com/products/space-heat-pumps/. He was heating his shop with one at one point. One of the biggest gurus in home heating, John Siegenthaler, is also a big advocate of this approach. Of course radiant can only do so much, unless the garage is tight. Unlike regular minisplits no need for tech to purge and charge the tubing as the refrigerant stays outdoors
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,302
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I agree on the fumes from a jet heater but its hard to beat for a quick warm up. If you want to go to the trouble probably the best option that folks dont think about is radiant tubing in an insulated ceiling and walls hooked to a glycol loop. Sure radiant tubing in the floor is popular but not practical for an existing garage that doesnt have tubing poured in. Radiant works best with line of sight between the user and the tubing and traditionally in a shop the floor is covered with equipment.limiting line of site. Note that lot of folks get confused between convective and radiant heating. Convective heat heats the air and is best applied low as heated air rises, Radiant heat heats from the emitter to the receiver so an inch or two of Iso foam with tubing on top of it is probably the easiest install.

If you have access to a heating system you can put in a heat exchanger and run a glycol loop out to the garage using the same underground piping used with OWBs. The high tech approach would be to install an air to glycol mini split. They are a lot rarer than a standard minisplit.Tom in Maine, a member on this site has a lot of experience with air to glycol units, might be best to start a conversation with him. He does have one listed on his website http://www.americansolartechnics.com/products/space-heat-pumps/. He was heating his shop with one at one point. One of the biggest gurus in home heating, John Siegenthaler, is also a big advocate of this approach. Of course radiant can only do so much, unless the garage is tight. Unlike regular minisplits no need for tech to purge and charge the tubing as the refrigerant stays outdoors
Man I wish those air to water minisplits would get some traction.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,347
Northern NH
I agree, right now I use a minisplit for supplemental winter heating. If I could find a viable air to water I would probably justify upgrading to low temp emitters in place of fin tube and switch to using the air to water for shoulder season heating.
 
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semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,826
SW Virginia
a radiant heater positioned above a work station like the ones lowes has above their cash registers
@twd000 this is your best bet until the shop is sealed and insulated enough to handle some sort of warm air system.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,347
Northern NH
Man I wish those air to water minisplits would get some traction.
John Siegenthaler in his latest column in PME magazine stated that 2019 is the year of the air to water minisplit with "several companies read to roll out new products".. This column was part 2 of 2 on how to design with these systems and covered the cooling side. Unlike a standard minisplit, air to water is not a plug and play solution. There is lot of hardware indoors. He uses the same distribution piping for heating and cooling including a buffer tank and some complex controls. Integrating it with a wood boiler and storage would add some complexity. Probably best for folks with low temp radiant or hot air heating systems that have generously sized ductwork to deal with the low temperature water.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,302
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
John Siegenthaler in his latest column in PME magazine stated that 2019 is the year of the air to water minisplit with "several companies read to roll out new products".. This column was part 2 of 2 on how to design with these systems and covered the cooling side. Unlike a standard minisplit, air to water is not a plug and play solution. There is lot of hardware indoors. He uses the same distribution piping for heating and cooling including a buffer tank and some complex controls. Integrating it with a wood boiler and storage would add some complexity. Probably best for folks with low temp radiant or hot air heating systems that have generously sized ductwork to deal with the low temperature water.
We’ve been hearing that for years though. Let’s hope it’s real! Markets other than North America have already moved on to co2 systems for among other things higher output temps.

I’m thinking an outdoor package unit is the most likely final product due to the sophisticated skills required to field install a split unit.
 

rowerwet

Minister of Fire
I agree on the fumes from a jet heater but its hard to beat for a quick warm up. If you want to go to the trouble probably the best option that folks dont think about is radiant tubing in an insulated ceiling and walls hooked to a glycol loop. Sure radiant tubing in the floor is popular but not practical for an existing garage that doesnt have tubing poured in. Radiant works best with line of sight between the user and the tubing and traditionally in a shop the floor is covered with equipment.limiting line of site. Note that lot of folks get confused between convective and radiant heating. Convective heat heats the air and is best applied low as heated air rises, Radiant heat heats from the emitter to the receiver so an inch or two of Iso foam with tubing on top of it is probably the easiest install.

If you have access to a heating system you can put in a heat exchanger and run a glycol loop out to the garage using the same underground piping used with OWBs. The high tech approach would be to install an air to glycol mini split. They are a lot rarer than a standard minisplit.Tom in Maine, a member on this site has a lot of experience with air to glycol units, might be best to start a conversation with him. He does have one listed on his website http://www.americansolartechnics.com/products/space-heat-pumps/. He was heating his shop with one at one point. One of the biggest gurus in home heating, John Siegenthaler, is also a big advocate of this approach. Of course radiant can only do so much, unless the garage is tight. Unlike regular minisplits no need for tech to purge and charge the tubing as the refrigerant stays outdoors
Personally, I would just use a radiant quartz heater for uninsulated work areas
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,347
Northern NH
Hard to beat pricing tied with Costco's typically generous satisfaction guarantee. The reputation of the high end brands are they usually fail out of the box or fail later on because of physical damage not covered by the warranty. I would be curious if this lower end brand is similar or do they skimp on long term testing?.
 

Brian26

Feeling the Heat
Sep 20, 2013
494
Branford, CT
Hard to beat pricing tied with Costco's typically generous satisfaction guarantee. The reputation of the high end brands are they usually fail out of the box or fail later on because of physical damage not covered by the warranty. I would be curious if this lower end brand is similar or do they skimp on long term testing?.
All these cheap off brands are pretty much the same exact units. Same compressor specs, fans, remotes, installation manual's etc. Based on my research they are almost all made by Midea in China and whatever brand just slaps a sticker on them.

I spent a ton of time researching my cheap $800 unit and it specs out exactly to a Midea unit. It also is identical to a Carrier/Bryant which are just rebadged Mideas.

They pretty much all have GMCC Toshiba inverter compresors which are proven to be extremely reliable.

If installed correctly these things will run for a really long time. They are very popular with indoor marijuana grow rooms where they run 24/7. Tons of people report them running for years nonstop with no issues. The few issues are usually related to poor installs such as bad flares.

There is really only 2 fans, a compressor and a 4 way electronic refrigerant valve. Parts for these are dirt cheap as well as they all use pretty much the same parts.
 
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maverick06

Minister of Fire
Sep 27, 2008
827
media, pa
my 2 cents, after I looked into putting in one of these DIY units. I didnt. I paid a bucket more for a Mitsubishi unit. If I was putting in a minisplit, i wanted a really high efficiency one so that I didnt mind running it. The DIY ones were notably lower efficiency (16 SEER, mitshibushi is 21-23 depending), or had dubious SEER claims (I saw one claiming 32 SEER... you are just making up numbers at that point), non-ASHRE certified numbers.

Also, I couldnt figure out how to manage the refrigerant lines, I didnt want extra material stashed/rolled behind the unit, seemed just like a liability of bending/damaging (kids/animals/weedeater).

The Mr. cool style units only will heat to 5F, yes thats most of the time, but not all the time for me. The mitshibushi gets me to -15F, so i can run it all the time.

I am in the house for the long term, so want a unit that will be efficient, and reliable for in excess of a decade... for $1000, yes, you could buy a few for what the mitshibushi one cost... definitely a good choice for many. I am satisfied with my choice, in terms of reliability, operation every day of the year, and expected life time, I think it was the right choice for me.

Regardless of the specifics, a minisplit sure seems better than any other heating cooling options i have....
 

jeanw

Feeling the Heat
Sep 23, 2008
337
ky
Less and less people able to fix things.
Many kids dont even want to learn to drive these days . I guess driving means expenses and expenses means a part time job. Something else that seems to be going out of style. When i was 16, everyone wanted to drive and get a car,now it seems many kids are fine with having their parents,or their friends parents cart them where they want to go. I refuse to do this which is probably why my daughter bought her own car at 17 with money she earned herself. Made me proud.
well hallelujah Im so glad and thrilled to hear about your daughter working and buying her own car. a parent after my own heart, But But I bet the insurance is more>>>
Blessings to y'all
 
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Swamp_Yankee

New Member
Oct 18, 2018
60
Hunterdon County, NJ
Finally took the plunge and ordered a 1.5 ton from Costco yesterday. Interestingly that is the only model they sell now-I'm guessing that the 1, 2, and 3 ton models weren't big sellers so they discontinued them. Since I like going through Costco for the price, free shipping, and the fact that they back up their products, I plan to eventually purchase three more for a total of 6 tons of cooling for our 120+ year old, somewhat leaky and poorly insulated house. Four 1.5 ton zones controllable via WiFi/Alexa is probably the most efficient system I could possibly hope for given the parameters. I figure that on the worst of days (high 90s with 90% humidity) I'll be using all 6 tons full out, and then at night be able to turn off all 3 tons downstairs, and throttle down the 3 tons upstairs until the morning. The heat feature I'll play with. We have hydronic baseboard fed by a Buderus oil boiler (which supplies DHW as well)-I'll have to do some math on oil (just under $3.00 a gallon) vs. electricity (about $0.11 kWh). In any event, we're all glad to be going into a summer with something other than window shakers to keep things bearable.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,958
South Puget Sound, WA
Spend some bucks sealing leaks and improving insulation on the house and you may only need 2 mini-splits. Improvements in the house envelope's insulation will payback year-round during the cooling and heating seasons.
 

Swamp_Yankee

New Member
Oct 18, 2018
60
Hunterdon County, NJ
Spend some bucks sealing leaks and improving insulation on the house and you may only need 2 mini-splits. Improvements in the house envelope's insulation will payback year-round during the cooling and heating seasons.
Air sealing/insulating this place is sort of a never ending project (I buy Great Stuff by the case !!!) that I pick up and put down whenever I have time. I think maybe we could get by with 3 (4.5 tons) but 2 would probably be a undersized for our square footage and climate zone even with better insulation and air sealing.
 

MTY

Feeling the Heat
Jan 9, 2019
348
Idaho
Even at 16 mini splits are more efficient than a window air which is usually 9 to 11. That said ,Its the reliability issue that worries most. I generally avoid all things china,even food items. If they can sell us toxic drywall, they will sell us anything.
If they will put melamine in baby formula, they will do anything.