Costco now selling DIY mini splits.

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Brian26

Minister of Fire
Sep 20, 2013
602
Branford, CT
I have spent significant time cross referencing units and most of them are all either made by Midea or Gree. The cheaper $600-800 units are usually not hyper heat and have significantly lower cooling and heating performance. A hyper heat unit with a vapor injection compressor will usually run around $900-1400. My $1300 Gree has an insane SEER rating of 30.5 and HSPF of 14.

I have a 12k Midea floor console and 12k Gree Sapphire that has been heating and cooling my entire house all year. They cost me nothing to run as I use net metered solar but here is the electrical consumption this year on both units. Jan and Feb they used around 500 kwhs and this month in cooling they only used 70 kwhs! It's been crazy hot here as well.

You can see on my data the lower floor unit carries most of the heating load in the winter. In the summer the upstairs unit carries most of the cooling load.

As far as cold weather heating performance the Gree claims 90 percent capacity at -22 and the Midea 78 percent. I am on the shoreline so its mild here in the winter but did experience some single digit temperatures this past winter. Both units weren't even running close to full load and were pumping out 120+ degree heat. Watching the electrical consumption during mild weather its eye opening how efficient and little power these units use.

Screenshot_20200625-061948_Monitor.jpg
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,216
Eastern Central PA
Wait,... you've found a mini-split for that price? Does that include the tubing and electric cable?

I was looking at a 12k btu (1 ton) no-name (Pioneer) pickup at Home Depot, and it listed a minimum operating outside temp of +5 degF, for about $950. Got a source for your's?
Yes 15 ft line kit was included but i assume thats the whole sale price or what installers pay for the equipment. Of course your installer will add a price premium as is normal. You wont find that price at Home Depot although if your buying the Gree Brand , Home Depot price is closer to the wholesale price. The problem you will have if installing yourself is the warranty ,plus you do need some equipment ,vacuum pump and guages. My installer tells me that he can get any brand from his supplier but the units he uses have all been performing flawless so as of yet has no reason to switch to the more expensive brands. First impression:These things are amazingly quiet.
 
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Brian26

Minister of Fire
Sep 20, 2013
602
Branford, CT
This is interesting. Mr Cool has a new drop in whole house inverter central unit now for $2859. The specs claim 100 percent heating capacity at -5 and 78 percent at -22. It's made by Midea. There is a video of an install and it heating a house at -24 temps in North Dakota.
  • Exceeds Conventional Heat Pump Performance Ranges
  • Unparalleled Heating: 100% at -5°F outside temp*
  • 78% Heating Capacity at -22°F outside temp*
  • Enhanced Cooling: 100% at 115°F outside temp*
  • 78% Cooling Capacity at 130°F outside temp*


uni-combo.png
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,021
SW Virginia
This is interesting. Mr Cool has a new drop in whole house inverter central unit now for $2859. The specs claim 100 percent heating capacity at -5 and 78 percent at -22. It's made by Midea. There is a video of an install and it heating a house at -24 temps in North Dakota.
  • Exceeds Conventional Heat Pump Performance Ranges
  • Unparalleled Heating: 100% at -5°F outside temp*
  • 78% Heating Capacity at -22°F outside temp*
  • Enhanced Cooling: 100% at 115°F outside temp*
  • 78% Cooling Capacity at 130°F outside temp*

This is the unit I referenced in my earlier post. I've ordered one from IWAE.com. While the reviews seem good, I have noticed that certain features like dehumidification mode and configurable air handler fan speeds aren't advertised for this system. It will, however, work with most standard thermostats and reputedly is very quiet. Their line system is also interesting as it comes pre-charged with coolant so specialized AC tools are not required (e.g., vacuum pump, gauges, etc.).
 

CaptSpiff

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2014
550
Long Island, NY
Thanks Oak. I'll be looking for that end of summer review, and the end of next winter as the main difference is likely the performance at below 10 degF.

As to that "MrCool" above, I'm impressed that it can be wall mounted with so little space between wall & back of unit. I though most of the airflow in is thru backside, thereby needing a 12 inches of air space. I guess I've got a lot to learn.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,216
Eastern Central PA
Thanks Oak. I'll be looking for that end of summer review, and the end of next winter as the main difference is likely the performance at below 10 degF.
I doubt ill be using it below 20 degrees. It rarely goes below Zero here and either the Wood stove, Coal Boiler or oil boiler will likely be doing the heavy lifting at that point. I may just to see how it works at low temps but 12000 BTUS will hardly make a dent in a 3000 Sq.ft not so greatly insulated 100 yr old 3 story house. I usually need closer to 80000 Btus continuously when its very cold. In summer 8k each on 2nd and 3rd floor manages quite well for cooling. 1st floor is mostly underground so doesnt need hardly any cooling.
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,216
Eastern Central PA
Just let it reduce your wood/coal consumption. Let them work together.
It will,for the entire shoulder season which is the lions share of the year. Its such a pain starting a wood fire or a coal stoker fire just to take a few degrees of chill out of the house starting on cold nights in september. For reference i usually spend less than $50 all summer for AC but anywhere from $600 to $900 a season for heat when using oil or coal,if i dont run the wood stove much. So the heat function will get more use.
 
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maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,776
Nova Scotia
It will,for the entire shoulder season which is the lions share of the year. Its such a pain starting a wood fire or a coal stoker fire just to take a few degrees of chill out of the house starting on cold nights in september. For reference i usually spend less than $50 all summer for AC but anywhere from $600 to $900 a season for heat when using oil or coal,if i dont run the wood stove much. So the heat function will get more use.
Darn right. Shoulder seasons can eat a pile of fuel, slowly but steadily. All those cold starts. And the hassle of it. Our 2 splits can cover everything pretty darn good, except for maybe 2-3 coldest winter months. Which they still do OK in, but running cost goes up. That's when burning steady kicks in.

But this near zero cost a/c and dehumidifying thing in the summer is a big added bonus here. Wasn't really on our radar before, but now that we have it, oh yeah. :)
 

lsucet

Minister of Fire
May 14, 2015
1,681
San Ysidro, New Mexico
Last year I installed a system of four indoor units. I bought it from Alpine Home Air, it is a Blueridge brand. Yes, it is Chinese. It is working like a champ. I contacted many contractors in n the pass to install a good brand system and the answer I got from them was that they do not service my area. Those they do, have the schedule full for months. I went online and got this system. Installed it myself. Yes, I bought some tool including a micron gauge. (Manifold gauges don't tell you the truth). I vacuumed the lines set, put nitrogen overnight. Vacuum down in the 200 microns and it hold there fine. Open the valves and lets enjoy some cooling and heating. I did buy a HVAC scale, always keep a cylinder of r410a refrigerant in case I need to do any repair. I called tech support and tell them that I am refrigerant ASE certified and I know how work on it and they told me no problem. I explained to them the situation to get a technician here in case something happens and they told me it is okay, we will deal with it. I contacted them for an issue I had with two rooms getting too hot and overshooting the set point and they guide me to pull some information out of the outdoor unit. They send me a PDF file with part of the engineer manual and what I need to change in the settings. The problem was not the system, is those rooms are small and the +/- set points needs to be changed on those two indoor units.
Sometime we need to go with what is practical and available to us. Those high end brands, not even want to give support to the consumers. You have to go through a contractor and wait and see when he wants to get his butt over here. And at the end when warranty is over, I will have to deal with big expenses if something happens and I need someone to come. In town they not even want to sell you a cylinder of 410a refrigerant. They said you need a license. Well, you can get all what you want on Amazon or eBay, free shipping and cheaper. Durability wise, I can't tell but it is working great and tech support have been helpful when I need them. Do it myself was and is the best choice for me.
 

sportbikerider78

Minister of Fire
Jun 23, 2014
2,493
Saratoga, NY
Wait,... you've found a mini-split for that price? Does that include the tubing and electric cable?

I was looking at a 12k btu (1 ton) no-name (Pioneer) pickup at Home Depot, and it listed a minimum operating outside temp of +5 degF, for about $950. Got a source for your's?
When I did my install, what cable to use was very confusing if you look at kits on line. Some of them were very expensive for a short run. I was doing about 90' of runs, so it really mattered to me. I called Mitsubishi, they said "normal 3 wire indoor Romex".
I even called back the next day to talk to a different tech...same answer.

Good enough for me.
 
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hockeypuck

Feeling the Heat
Sep 6, 2009
374
south central NH
Are you still happy with this unit? I'm considering replacing my 2 older ducted central units with two Mr. Cool Universal systems.

I'd be willing to pay more for better quality but the price of the Mitsubishis and Daikens seem to be much unreasonably higher.
Sorry I am late on the reply. I would do it again. I am only in my second year but I was only $2000 (all materials) for a 24k bty unit. It is quiet inside and out. Heats well down to 25 F, but I have wood insert and pellet stove so that does not matter. It works great to take the chill out of the air in the heating shoulder season. I did the electrical work myself, licensed electrician. I could not see spending 5 to 7k on a unit I could install in 4 hours myself.
 

hockeypuck

Feeling the Heat
Sep 6, 2009
374
south central NH
Sorry I am late on the reply. I would do it again. I am only in my second year but I was only $2000 (all materials) for a 24k bty unit. It is quiet inside and out. Heats well down to 25 F, but I have wood insert and pellet stove so that does not matter. It works great to take the chill out of the air in the heating shoulder season. I did the electrical work myself, licensed electrician. I could not see spending 5 to 7k on a unit I could install in 4 hours myself.
This is the exact unit.

 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,096
South Puget Sound, WA
My $1300 Gree has an insane SEER rating of 30.5 and HSPF of 14.
That is insanely good. I like the floor console idea, but don't see that option for Gree. They do sell larger units for ducted heating/cooling but so far I only find them in Australia and 3 phase powered.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,096
South Puget Sound, WA
This is interesting. Mr Cool has a new drop in whole house inverter central unit now for $2859. The specs claim 100 percent heating capacity at -5 and 78 percent at -22. It's made by Midea. There is a video of an install and it heating a house at -24 temps in North Dakota.
  • Exceeds Conventional Heat Pump Performance Ranges
  • Unparalleled Heating: 100% at -5°F outside temp*
  • 78% Heating Capacity at -22°F outside temp*
  • Enhanced Cooling: 100% at 115°F outside temp*
  • 78% Cooling Capacity at 130°F outside temp*


View attachment 261266
The 3 &4 ton units don't have a much higher HSPF or SEER than our old American Standard Heritage 16, but they are claiming 100% output at 14ºF and our unit would be running at less than 50% at that temp. Is this mostly the compressor difference? Why doesn't this show in the HSPF rating?
 

gggvan

Member
Dec 6, 2012
117
Consumer Reports actually recently said some good things about the Harbor Freight Predator generators. Not a uniform thumbs up but for some uses they said they could be a better fit than a Honda. That said Chinese gear from unknown brand names do have pretty abysmal quality control and longevity.
I bought a hf generator for ~300 with coupon my wife found. 2 seasons, 4 outtages, still running. Fingers crossed.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,216
Eastern Central PA
Sams has a Mr Cool 12k kit for $699. But their more efficient unit of the same size is $1299
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,021
SW Virginia
This is interesting. Mr Cool has a new drop in whole house inverter central unit now for $2859. The specs claim 100 percent heating capacity at -5 and 78 percent at -22. It's made by Midea. There is a video of an install and it heating a house at -24 temps in North Dakota.
  • Exceeds Conventional Heat Pump Performance Ranges
  • Unparalleled Heating: 100% at -5°F outside temp*
  • 78% Heating Capacity at -22°F outside temp*
  • Enhanced Cooling: 100% at 115°F outside temp*
  • 78% Cooling Capacity at 130°F outside temp*


View attachment 261266
So I bought and installed one of these. I'm fairly impressed at the performance.
I've also ordered an Ecobee3 Lite thermostat for it (after returning a Nest BTW).
A few observations:
  • Operation is basic. There's no capacity for "smarter" operations. The thermostat can only call for single stage cooling or heating. or fan only. Although the AH fan is a variable speed unit, there's no way to vary the speed and there's no info on whether the unit itself varies it based on conditions or mode. The outside unit will vary fan and compressor speed but what affects it is unclear.
  • Both units run super quietly. The AH runs without any vibration and noise at the return air grill nearby is very low. Our prior unit was quite noisy what with metal ductwork and all.
  • The pre-charged units and DIY line systems are killer. What a great idea and easy to hook up.
  • The shipping packaging was pretty shoddy. Double-check for damage before accepting. Mine actually suffered a pretty good hit that was not apparent when looking at the packaging. I had to do some repairs.
Looking at the AH control board I suspect the system may be capable of smarter operation than it is sold with (like setting the AH blower speed).
The documentation is lacking but both Mr. Cool and Ingrams (the vendor) have been fairly helpful. I didn't need any help with the install but I did want to clarify some specs before committing to buy.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,846
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
So I bought and installed one of these. I'm fairly impressed at the performance.
I've also ordered an Ecobee3 Lite thermostat for it (after returning a Nest BTW).
A few observations:
  • Operation is basic. There's no capacity for "smarter" operations. The thermostat can only call for single stage cooling or heating. or fan only. Although the AH fan is a variable speed unit, there's no way to vary the speed and there's no info on whether the unit itself varies it based on conditions or mode. The outside unit will vary fan and compressor speed but what affects it is unclear.
  • Both units run super quietly. The AH runs without any vibration and noise at the return air grill nearby is very low. Our prior unit was quite noisy what with metal ductwork and all.
  • The pre-charged units and DIY line systems are killer. What a great idea and easy to hook up.
  • The shipping packaging was pretty shoddy. Double-check for damage before accepting. Mine actually suffered a pretty good hit that was not apparent when looking at the packaging. I had to do some repairs.
Looking at the AH control board I suspect the system may be capable of smarter operation than it is sold with (like setting the AH blower speed).
The documentation is lacking but both Mr. Cool and Ingrams (the vendor) have been fairly helpful. I didn't need any help with the install but I did want to clarify some specs before committing to buy.
Great post. Great product. Just a matter of time before the inside heats water(boiler)!
 

hockeypuck

Feeling the Heat
Sep 6, 2009
374
south central NH
Sams has a Mr Cool 12k kit for $699. But their more efficient unit of the same size is $1299
I am no HVAC guru, but I would imagine the "old unit"'s shelf life for freon will be relatively short. With that said, if you can install it yourself, that is a killer deal. My guess is they are trying to blow out the older units before they can not feasibly sell them. Also.. look at the heating numbers... I did not plan to use my unit for heat, but it is too easy not to.
 

Brian26

Minister of Fire
Sep 20, 2013
602
Branford, CT
So I bought and installed one of these. I'm fairly impressed at the performance.
I've also ordered an Ecobee3 Lite thermostat for it (after returning a Nest BTW).
A few observations:
  • Operation is basic. There's no capacity for "smarter" operations. The thermostat can only call for single stage cooling or heating. or fan only. Although the AH fan is a variable speed unit, there's no way to vary the speed and there's no info on whether the unit itself varies it based on conditions or mode. The outside unit will vary fan and compressor speed but what affects it is unclear.
  • Both units run super quietly. The AH runs without any vibration and noise at the return air grill nearby is very low. Our prior unit was quite noisy what with metal ductwork and all.
  • The pre-charged units and DIY line systems are killer. What a great idea and easy to hook up.
  • The shipping packaging was pretty shoddy. Double-check for damage before accepting. Mine actually suffered a pretty good hit that was not apparent when looking at the packaging. I had to do some repairs.
Looking at the AH control board I suspect the system may be capable of smarter operation than it is sold with (like setting the AH blower speed).
The documentation is lacking but both Mr. Cool and Ingrams (the vendor) have been fairly helpful. I didn't need any help with the install but I did want to clarify some specs before committing to buy.
It appears it operates just like a mini split. It using pressure and temperature readings to modulate the outdoor compressor/fan speed and indoor blower speed.

From the question and answer section on Ingrams website.

It monitors line temperatures and pressures and ambient temperatures to govern the compressor operation.

There was also a video of it operating in Minnesota in like -20s and they showed an electrical consumption graph. Looked exactly like my mini split. You should connect a electrical monitor to it.

Here is one of my mini splits electrical monitoring graph for example.

Screenshot_20200423-063438_Monitor.jpg
 
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Brian26

Minister of Fire
Sep 20, 2013
602
Branford, CT
Can you guess what's happening there at the 0500 hrs mark?
Did you manually adjust the thermostat in the wrong way, and then quickly correct in the other direction?
It was in heating mode and that was a defrost cycle. The 4 way valve reverses and heats the outside coil to melt ice off it.

Here is a recent one of it in cooling mode. The 2 spikes are for oil control. At very low speed the compressor will surge briefly to push oil through the system. Notice its using less than 200 watts. At low speed it only draws around 150-180 watts which I have always found incredible as its blowing out a good volume of ice cold air.

It's a 12k Gree Sapphire with a 30.5 seer rating.

Screenshot_20200825-110326_Monitor.jpg
 
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semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,021
SW Virginia
It appears it operates just like a mini split. It using pressure and temperature readings to modulate the outdoor compressor/fan speed and indoor blower speed.
I don't believe it varies the indoor blower speed based on conditions. That's one of the smarter features I was saying was lacking. There is no communication link between inner and outer units to allow that. The only signal wires going from the AH to outer unit are the power (red), common (bl), yellow (compressor), orange (B, reversing valve), and W1 (heat mode). A green wire runs between the AH and thermostat to engage the fan.

I believe the mini-splits have additional communication wires/signals between inner and outer units.

I haven't yet figured out what the W1 wire actually does.

1598399513072.png
 

lsucet

Minister of Fire
May 14, 2015
1,681
San Ysidro, New Mexico
Mine is four head units and it uses too, four wires. It not only powers them, also they communicate through those four wires.
Indoor units ask depending room temperatures, humidity and other indoor conditions etc, and outdoor unit ramps up/down or goes off depending on demand asked and outdoor temperatures. Indoor units fans, change speed depending also on demand or settings. If fans are on auto mode or if the system has also an auto mode, the system picks fan speed. Also I can set the fan speed if I want.
They have 3 speed plus auto mode. There is fan Auto mode and system auto mode. On either, the fans are controlled by the system. That is how it works on my system.