Picking a minisplit

Talking to a lot of people and reading the latest accounts and reports of minisplit models prompted me to eyeball the high efficiency, Energy Star rated Fujitsu models.


Their cooling operation range extends to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, while their heating operating range goes as low as five degree Fahrenheit. Think about this: At an outdoor temperature of five degrees Fahrenheit, this unit can still extract enough thermal energy out of the air to heat the inside of the building. The magic of physics!

The big question, however, revolved around cooling rather than heating. I still had to determine the actual cooling load of our first floor. The Fujitsu models came at a cooling capacity of 9,000, 12,000 and 14,500 Btu. With the help of Eco Achievers, we re-ran the energy model for the building to determined an actual cooling load of 12,000 Btu for the 1st floor.

This made the 12,000 Btu minisplit (12RLS3) a perfect match. It has a SEER rating of 29.3 and a moisture removal capacity of up to 2.7 pints per hour. I would have loved to get away with the 9,000 Btu model at a SEER of 33, but that bar was set too high for us.

I was also told that these units run extremely quietly. That was very important to me. I despise the sound of an air conditioning unit humming away during the summer. Plus, our outdoor unit will be mounted on the east wall of our building where it is fairly close to some windows.

It also comes with other bells and whistles which probably deserve their own blog post. But I first want the minisplit installed and running so that I can report back on its performance.

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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