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Heat Pump-Mini Spilt Ductless- AC/Heat/Dehumidify Discussion

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  • Nov 24th, 2013 7:55 am
[OP]
Member
Nov 21, 2007
323 posts
55 upvotes
Pictou County, NS

Heat Pump-Mini Spilt Ductless- AC/Heat/Dehumidify Discussion

Hi Folks

It?s getting close to that time of year when we all start thinking about turning on the heat.
I thought I?d start a new thread on these heat pumps for those of us that just purchased such systems in the last number of months.

I live in Nova Scotia and purchased a Fujitsu's multi-zone mini-split heat pump system - 24000 btu, 16.5 seer. I wanted a back up heating system in my basement rec room. I have a single zone oil hot air system in my small bungalow.
I was delighted with the air conditioning and more importantly the dehumidifying this summer.

Now that cooler weather is hitting I?m curious about how it will perform on heating mode.
There are several people around town that have the same unit that tell me they use it as their primary system all thru the winter with major savings on their oil bill. Although I did not buy the unit as a primary heating source I?ll be happy if it does save on my oil bill.

So I wanted to open up this thread for discussion points on various topics like;

Optimal settings for the remote for sleeping time (I?m told modest temp changes are best ?less than 3 degree changes)

I discovered I can?t have one unit on dehumidify and another on heat.

Does everyone conform to the adage ? ?set it and leave it ? or do you modify the temp at night to save electricity ?


Sorry for the long post.

I hope it stimulates other heat Pumps owners to post their comments, questions and success stories.
70 replies
Sr. Member
Mar 13, 2005
723 posts
423 upvotes
Hey neighbour.. I'm just down the road in Truro.

I have a 3T Amana heat pump.. 2 stage, 18SEER, 9.5HSP in my new build (~2300sqft) and it's our only heat source (electric strip backup of course).

The AC was a huge help in the 38-40C humidity this summer! We took posession of our house in February, but unfortunately our heat pump had a refrigerant leak that I didn't figure out about until about May, but our powerbills were still what I had expected/heard about. Once it was fixed it worked so much better (DUH!). The amount of heat the system puts out in the 2-5C mornings we've been having is amazing now.

I have a 1C setback at night. I might reduce that to about .5C in the depths of winter to try to prevent the electric backup from kicking in. I'm also adding a whole house humidifier to see if that can help a bit too.

Can't wait to see it perform this winter.
[OP]
Member
Nov 21, 2007
323 posts
55 upvotes
Pictou County, NS
Does your unit work in celius , mine seems to only work in Farheit
Sr. Member
Mar 13, 2005
723 posts
423 upvotes
Sure.. my thermostat gives me the option to display in either.
Member
Dec 3, 2006
233 posts
15 upvotes
Hey guys,

Nice thread! I'm very intersted in what people have to say about this subject.

I just bought a house and am moving in end of October. As soon as i get the house i'm getting the EnergyNB(?) guy to do his inspection (for the environment grants and such) and then installing a heat pump.

The house is a bungalow, about 1350 sq feet...with finished basement (so another 1350). The company i spoke to suggested i get 2 mini-splits installed, one for basement(9000 btu) and one for upstairs that splits into two rooms (kitchen - 12000 btu, master bedroom - 9000 btu). They recommended Fujitsu.

I was wondering what you guys paid for your setup? Did you get any grants and such?

Cheers!
[OP]
Member
Nov 21, 2007
323 posts
55 upvotes
Pictou County, NS
Acadian wrote: Hey guys,


I was wondering what you guys paid for your setup? Did you get any grants and such?

Cheers!
i did not bother with any of the grants.
As for costs- it all depends on the complexity of the installation. Access to outside walls and best air flow distribution etc. Depending on the size of the units etc - you may be looking at $8500 or so. That includes installation, 2 pumps for water evacuation when air conditioning and dehumdifying.
Newbie
Jul 16, 2009
29 posts
I've been googling ductless heat pumps and found this thread. I'm in Dartmouth, own a ~2300 sqft split entry home with electric baseboard heat. We also have a propane fire place in the basement. 23 year old home. We just purchased it in July.

I'm curious how you guys are making out with your ductless heat pump systems?

Who was your installer?

Any info you can share would be great. Thanks.
Sr. Member
Jul 23, 2007
852 posts
7 upvotes
I also have a fujitsu unit, but only used it as a heat source for the fall and winter. I thought I read that it couldn't be used in the dead of winter under a certain temperature. Anybody know?
[OP]
Member
Nov 21, 2007
323 posts
55 upvotes
Pictou County, NS
i had my unit installed in July
. But i talked with 2 others that have the same unit and used theirs all thru the winter. One of which never even turned on their furnace.
the unit is rated for -10c, but they indicated it still worked fine as I know we had days below -10c last winter.


my unit was installed by a local New Glasgow company- pm for details.
[OP]
Member
Nov 21, 2007
323 posts
55 upvotes
Pictou County, NS
Hi Folks

I guess I'll take a shot at answering my own question posted above.

In Northern NS we have had a few weeks of sub -8 to -10c weather. Other than once or twice for a quick shot of heat (to prepare for a date coming over) i have not run my furnace. i'm waiting for my Nov/Dec power bill to arrive to see how much this went up. My oil tank was just topped up and it only took $120.00 worth of oil. (the last deleivery was on Sept/Oct and I do use oil to heat my water)
In summary (before power consumption analysis) I like this type of heat and the fact i didnt have to run my furnace. However for some of that 2 month time frame i did run my furnace fan to help evenly distribute the heat pump air. That will add to my power bill -but i'm told the fan power draw is not huge.

Stay tuned.
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2007
543 posts
1 upvote
NB
maritimer555 wrote: Optimal settings for the remote for sleeping time (I�m told modest temp changes are best �less than 3 degree changes)

I discovered I can�t have one unit on dehumidify and another on heat.

Does everyone conform to the adage � �set it and leave it � or do you modify the temp at night to save electricity ?


Sorry for the long post.

I hope it stimulates other heat Pumps owners to post their comments, questions and success stories.
I've got a Fujitsu 15RLQ in my house and my neighbors have had the exact same systems in their house for 2 years with similar experiences to me so I'll try and answer a few of your questions based on info I've gathered.

1) Yes my neighbors and I primarily use the set it and forget it system. Our house does not have a heat exchanger system so having the heat in the house all day with the circulating fan on has pretty much eliminated any mold issues we were having before (condensation on windows, ceilings and in bathrooms). My system displays only in faranheit but most of the time we set it for 62F (at work, sleeping) and 64F (at home during the day). As spring approaches we now leave it at 62F all the time and it barely comes on. Our baseboard heat never clicks on anymore and all the electronic thermostats are set for 17C throughout our house (bungalow).

2) The refrigerant can only be pumped one way at a time so it would be impossible for the system to be in A/C (dehumidify) and heating modes at the same time since both your indoor units use a common compressor outdoors. You'd need to have separate compressors outside to be doing two different modes at the same time.
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2007
543 posts
1 upvote
NB
maritimer555 wrote: i had my unit installed in July
. But i talked with 2 others that have the same unit and used theirs all thru the winter. One of which never even turned on their furnace.
the unit is rated for -10c, but they indicated it still worked fine as I know we had days below -10c last winter.
The marketing info on the machine states -15C but Fujitsu engineering support in the US confirmed the unit should shut off when temps drop below -20C. They did mention sometimes the unit may stay on even below that but you should switch over to supplemental heat (oil, baseboard, NG, etc) if temps are below that for extended periods.
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2007
543 posts
1 upvote
NB
Acadian wrote: Hey guys,

Nice thread! I'm very intersted in what people have to say about this subject.

I just bought a house and am moving in end of October. As soon as i get the house i'm getting the Efficiency NB guy to do his inspection (for the environment grants and such) and then installing a heat pump.

I was wondering what you guys paid for your setup? Did you get any grants and such?

Cheers!
My setup (Fujitsu 15RLQ) was $4100 + tax which included full install and all electrical work required including a new 60 Amp electrical subpanel.

Yes, I did the same home energy audit before and after to get the grants (Federal and Provincial). You should get back $500 from the feds and $500 from Efficiency NB provided you have your system installed no later than March 31, 2010 (for the requirements, see below). After that you can only get the $500 federal grant.

Efficiency NB
http://www.efficiencynb.ca/enb/1610/Exi ... incentives


Federal Program:
http://www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/ ... cfm?attr=4

I will say though that having installed the system and know how comfortable a heat pump makes the house feel in hindsight, I would have gone ahead with the install in a heartbeat even without the federal and provincial grants. It has been worth every penny and I can't wait to beat the heat this summer too!
[OP]
Member
Nov 21, 2007
323 posts
55 upvotes
Pictou County, NS
mtl4 wrote: The marketing info on the machine states -15C but Fujitsu engineering support in the US confirmed the unit should shut off when temps drop below -20C. They did mention sometimes the unit may stay on even below that but you should switch over to supplemental heat (oil, baseboard, NG, etc) if temps are below that for extended periods.
I thought i'd update this forumn. The winter in NS last year was not too bad. I really did not have to turn on my furnace at all last winter . The heat pump worked fine. i did however turn on my furnace 3-5 times for short periods of time -thinking i should to make sure it would run if i really needed it. What have others done re their back up heating systems?
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2007
543 posts
1 upvote
NB
Unfortunately my backup is baseboard heat so I prefer to use the heat pump as much as possible throughout the year. I use the heat pump right down to about -15 then I turn on the baseboard heaters to ensure if the temp drops it won't freeze us to death at night. I set the baseboards to around 17C and the heat pump is set for around 21C. That way if the heat pump is working (I turn it off manually when temps are below -20 at night), it will provide the heat before the baseboards.
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2006
1310 posts
150 upvotes
I had a Fujitsu 15RLQ installed last fall and it's only been in the last month with the heat wave that we've had in Toronto that I've finally had a chance to use the cooling function of the unit. During the last 2 weeks when we've had higher temperatures, I've noticed that there is a slow drip coming from the outside unit itself (not through the hose). It's a small and very slow drip of liquids of some kind. I don't know if this is freon or just condensation perhaps?

When I first had the heat pump installed and set the fan setting to HIGH and the coldest temperature, the cold air blasting out used to tinkle (ie. sway) the chandelier crystals downstairs in the foyer. Now, it doesn't and the amount of the air coming out on the max settings seems to be less than before.

I took the air filter out and cleaned it, but I saw no improvement. Am I over-thinking this or is my unit performing poorly? Don't get me wrong, I'm still getting cold air coming out and we've had 30+C days with high humidity four straight days last week, and this unit was working 24/7 so maybe it's a relative thing or psychological thing when I think that the cooling performance seems to be less than before. I don't know how to explain the drip of liquids from the outside unit though.

Thanks for your help!
[OP]
Member
Nov 21, 2007
323 posts
55 upvotes
Pictou County, NS
enigma54 wrote: I had a Fujitsu 15RLQ installed last fall and it's only been in the last month with the heat wave that we've had in Toronto that I've finally had a chance to use the cooling function of the unit. During the last 2 weeks when we've had higher temperatures, I've noticed that there is a slow drip coming from the outside unit itself (not through the hose). It's a small and very slow drip of liquids of some kind. I don't know if this is freon or just condensation perhaps?

When I first had the heat pump installed and set the fan setting to HIGH and the coldest temperature, the cold air blasting out used to tinkle (ie. sway) the chandelier crystals downstairs in the foyer. Now, it doesn't and the amount of the air coming out on the max settings seems to be less than before.

I took the air filter out and cleaned it, but I saw no improvement. Am I over-thinking this or is my unit performing poorly? Don't get me wrong, I'm still getting cold air coming out and we've had 30+C days with high humidity four straight days last week, and this unit was working 24/7 so maybe it's a relative thing or psychological thing when I think that the cooling performance seems to be less than before. I don't know how to explain the drip of liquids from the outside unit though.

Thanks for your help!

Firstly let me say that I'm as far from a technical person as one can be. I'm not sure about your leak as all my condensation and water comes from the tube as it should.
As for operational- they are very effiecient and as the indoor temp reaches thermostat level the motor does pare down. I leave mine on AUTO all the time. I find it works perfect. So as long as it cools your room i guess all should be fine. I have also been told winter or summer not to play with the system too much- set it and leave it. never turn it off . as recently as this morning i chatted with our office HVAC consusltant who happens to have the same unit as i do installed at his home. He leaves his set at 70 to 72f for cooling as well as for dehumdifing. I will have to try that as i have been changing my cooling temps as the weather changes and so far have not been happy as its either too cold or not cold enough. So i will try and set it at 70 or 72 and leave it as he suggests.
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2007
543 posts
1 upvote
NB
maritimer555 wrote: I have also been told winter or summer not to play with the system too much- set it and leave it. never turn it off . as recently as this morning i chatted with our office HVAC consusltant who happens to have the same unit as i do installed at his home. He leaves his set at 70 to 72f for cooling as well as for dehumdifing. I will have to try that as i have been changing my cooling temps as the weather changes and so far have not been happy as its either too cold or not cold enough. So i will try and set it at 70 or 72 and leave it as he suggests.
I do the same thing, usually around 68-72 depending on the temp outside but these units have solid state inverter technology so it's not a as big of a deal to change the temps as with the on/off units of years past. This is because changing temps meant having the unit turn on/off alot more and would wear out relays and the compressor on the AC unit. The inverter technology allow the unit to scale back the compressor when not needed much more efficiently. In general the less the unit comes on (ie higher temp in summer, lower in winter), the longer it should last but you should also not be sacrificing comfort so there's a certain crossover point there too.

I also usually keep my fan on either "med" or "high" since the "auto" function doesn't seem to curculate the air enough throughout the house (we have a long hallway and on high the air goes all the way to the bedrooms at the end). When you run the fan alot you also need to clean the air filter alot more often. I've been just rinsing them with a sink sprayer hose around once a week to maintain optimum efficiency. Make sure to spray the filters from the back side to dislodge the dust into the sink. Works great otherwise.
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2007
543 posts
1 upvote
NB
enigma54 wrote: I had a Fujitsu 15RLQ installed last fall and it's only been in the last month with the heat wave that we've had in Toronto that I've finally had a chance to use the cooling function of the unit. During the last 2 weeks when we've had higher temperatures, I've noticed that there is a slow drip coming from the outside unit itself (not through the hose). It's a small and very slow drip of liquids of some kind. I don't know if this is freon or just condensation perhaps?

When I first had the heat pump installed and set the fan setting to HIGH and the coldest temperature, the cold air blasting out used to tinkle (ie. sway) the chandelier crystals downstairs in the foyer. Now, it doesn't and the amount of the air coming out on the max settings seems to be less than before.

I took the air filter out and cleaned it, but I saw no improvement. Am I over-thinking this or is my unit performing poorly? Don't get me wrong, I'm still getting cold air coming out and we've had 30+C days with high humidity four straight days last week, and this unit was working 24/7 so maybe it's a relative thing or psychological thing when I think that the cooling performance seems to be less than before. I don't know how to explain the drip of liquids from the outside unit though.

Thanks for your help!
I'm not an AC pro but as a mechanical engineer there are a few general points I can comment on.

1) Water dripping from condenser unit outside - It is normal to get condensation from the evaporator inside the house during summer but dripping from the unit outside is not (coils should be hot, not cold). There are some possible causes but in my mind you either have rainwater leaking from the bottom of the unit (you should be able to see the bottom inside to verify this) or worse, you could have a freon leak which is condensing water as the gas escapes. If the unit continues to drip for days regardless of whether it has rained or not, it would be money well spent to have the installer come back out and verify the high and low guage pressures on the unit while it is running. If there is any question about if the pressure are low, then request that they pull a vacuum on the system and refill with the proper amount of R-410-A.

2) Interior fan not working well - If you're using the heat pump alot, it is normal to need to clean the air filters more often. Make sure you are cleaning them with with hot water from the backside of the filter (so you don't end up packing the filter with dust while trying to clean it). If this still doesn't work then remove the filters entirely for a few moments (reinstall filter after the test) and run the system on high (this should be your system's max air flow). If the system still appears to be sub par, then you may need to verify that the system is able to evacuate the condensed water. Inspect the drainage tube (should be clear) to be sure there are no blockages in the line and that there is no standing water anywhere. My unit had a problem initially since there weren't enough clamps to hold the tube in line so it sagged to the point where a section started to hold water. If this were high enough, it could back up into the fan and lower performance. I fixed mine by just installing a 1x2 under the tube to hold it straight.....drains perfectly now. If after all this you are still having trouble, call the installer to have them verify the system is working to spec and troubleshoot any airflow issues in more detail.
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2006
1310 posts
150 upvotes
Thanks for some very informative responses!

Regarding the water dripping outside from condenser unit - does freon stain the asphalt to a deeper or colour? The drip doesn't seem to happen every time, perhaps only when the unit has been on for several hours and the drip is very slow. But I do notice a patch of darker asphalt on the driveway underneath where the drip happens even after we've had some rain and subsequent drying off of the rain.

@mtl4 - Thanks for reminding me of the drainage tube. There's a slight curve towards the end because the electricians had to remove the fasteners that were holding the tube against the wall to work on the hydro metre so it's just dangling freely now because the electricians never bothered to fasten it back to the wall. The water is definitely draining out, but maybe not as easily.

The only other thing I can think of is that our neighbour has been renovating their house and put an addition at the back of the house. As a result, there has been lots of dust - my car has been covered with the stuff most of this summer. I'm not sure whether dust getting into the condenser unit outside affects anything.

Thanks again for everyone's help!

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