The first job I had in air conditioning, 30 years ago, was building demonstration trailers for a Carrier dealer. Their version of ductless was a 3 zone system called Multiplex. Once they discovered that I had the fewest leaks at the flare connections as compared to other technicians they had me do all the flares and start ups. I was not impressed with that early Carrier design. When charged correctly the liquid lines would gurgle; the customers would complain and the next technician would overcharge the refrigerant. When a system was too much of a problem the company that I worked for would have us remove it and replace it with a Daikin system and there would be no more problems.
For a while Daikin either quit selling in the USA or at times did things like using a proprietary refrigerant and I decided that I did not want to stock yet another kind of refrigerant in the truck. And for a while Mitsubishi dominated the ductless mini-split market. Integrity Air became a Diamond Dealer after training in Atlanta. Since then we have returned to Daikin for the longer warranty and just recently Daikin started making them in Texas. Most others are made in Asia.
Where do most people choose to use these mini-splits? That has changed over the years. Systems for three or more zones are mostly being used the same as always. These mini splits are wonderful to use where it is difficult to get ducts installed. Another reason homeowners and business owners both are moving to mini-splits is for the amazing energy efficiency. And did I mention quiet? I installed one for my office worker and she says she loves the quietness of it. Single zone use has changed. We used to mostly install them for “florida rooms” … the back porch that was enclosed with windows. Recently more people have used it for a bedroom. If the bedroom got poor cooling from the central system or the customer, as an emply nester with a big house discovered that it is the best way to stay ‘way cool’ and use less electricity. Another couple chose to use their main house as an AirBnb. To accomplish this they had us install a ductless system in the finished garage and stay there when there are guests. We have installed for an art studio and offices as well as office conference rooms, computer or server rooms or where more capacity is needed like a restaurant or church building.
When all American-made air conditioners used American-made reversing valves we only had about one failure in 20 years serviced by Integrity Air. Now that all of them are made in China we get about one failure a year. And it is an expensive replacement even with the part under warranty. That being said, we are promoting heat pumps less than we used to. They are common in Hillsborough County because TECO promoted them. More new neighborhoods use a gas furnace and that is a good choice considering the reversing valve problems.
Integrity Air welcomes your comments, concerns and questions. Call (813) 932-2665 if your HVAC needs service or you are considering replacing your system.
The photos below show 2 different technologies to achieve different temperatures throughout a home. A central ducted system can be set up with motorized dampers to let just the right amount of conditioned air into each room…called Zone Control. Ductless air conditioning is a separate system or at least air handler (head) for each section of zone in the building. For zone control to work correctly the ducts need to be oversized as compared to standard design because when one damper closes it restricts the total and the total airflow should not be overly diminished. The air balance trainers at “National Comfort Institute” conducted a study and found that about 80% of residential ducts in the US are undersized as compared to the performance required by the equipment they are connected to. A solution to the undersized duct issue is to implement a hybrid system. We can install a smaller central system at the time of replacement that better matches the duct size you have in your home. Then we add a ductless system to both enhance capacity and add the feature of separate thermostats or zone control. Central air with ducts filters better and or allows for better filters. Ductless air conditioners, aka Mini Split Heat Pumps have better energy savings. This is partly due to the higher rating and secondly due to the fact that there is no thermal loss of the ducts in an unconditioned space when there are no ducts in the first place.
A building with small zones can often be better served with ductless air conditioning or using a combination of ductless and ducted air handlers. The combination is sometimes referred to as hybrid air conditioning. This brings together the amazing energy efficiency of ductless with the good filtration of a ducted air handler.
That being said, Jay Hoover, with 30 years of experience at Integrity Air Heating & Cooling, says he has improved more systems by removing zone control, then by adding it. The biggest reason is most folks do not live in homes large enough to accomodate the volume of oversized ducts needed to make the system work properly. Another negative is the noise. When the controls shut off dampers to cut air flow to rooms that will not be air conditioned, the ducted air handler still needs to achieve 100% airflow and this can create noise through smaller ducts, or worse…it just will not deliver adequate airflow to operate reliably.
However, every single home and situation are unique. We would love to evaluate your needs and discuss options and go over the pros and cons for your home or business. You can decide what is best. Call us for a free evaluation. (813) 932-2665
Wi-Fi thermostats are also known as learning thermostats. They are similar to programmable ones; however, there is no need to program them as they learn to know when you are in your home. The learning feature source is from either infrared sensors that feel your body heat or geofencing to know how far away your phone is from your home.
This particular thermostat featured in the photo is from Honeywell, a major manufactuer of thermostats, including Wi-Fi enabled. Another manufactuer is owned by Google. A marketing push by Honeywell simply says, “We are NOT Google”. What they are really saying is we are NOT collecting information about you, such as….When you are home.
Cleaning the coil of a ductless air conditioner can be done without creating a mess. It just takes a bit of planning and thinking ahead. To clean thoroughly we remove the drain pan from the bottom and the blower wheel to soak them. Then we set up the shower curtain arrangement and use gentle coil chemicals with a good rinse. After the drain pan and blower are soaked they can be cleaned and the whole thing reassembled. You now have a clean air conditioner which is important for the air conditioner and more important, for your lungs.