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post #1 of 16 Old 03-26-2019, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Hvac /mini split questions

I am in the process of building a home theater/music room and before I go any further I need to figure out the cooling. I know the optimum way would be to run an AC unit with ducts and silencers and the whole nine yards but my budget will not allow for that.
I was looking into mini splits but I had no idea how expensive they were when you have to have them installed. I was quoted from $3800 all the way to $9800 for a 12,000 to 24,000 btu unit. The room is a little shy of 500 square feet total and there will also be an equipment room that is approximately 30 square feet and a bathroom that is approximately 30 square feet.
I was researching the DIY mini splits that come pre-charged such as the mr. Cool units for far less money and I have enough people around me that are more than competent to do the install but naturally all the hvac sales people are telling me that they are complete junk and that they will cost thousands to fix when they do break because no one will want to touch them.
The idea of a swamp cooler (evap cooler) blowing humid air on my expensive music equipment is not something I would really want to do and they are super noisy as well.

So at this point with my price range, the only thing I can think of for my options are
1.to take a chance on one of the higher rated mini-split systems online

2. a portable air conditioner and have to have ducts go out the wall along with a drain or having to change a water pan once in a while

3. or I was thinking that I could possibly install an in wall ac system (like the window versions but they make some that are made to go through the walls) in the equipment room since it will be fairly sealed and then run a duct in the ceiling over to the main room. In theory, since the room will be sealed and the equipment needs to be cooled anyways that would be logical but the downside would be I would have to go inside the equipment room to change the temperature every time unless it has a smartphone app or something.

Any ideas or input? I can do electrical work and handy enough to do some work but I need to keep the cost under two grand for sure. I don't necessarily need the unit to heat as well either.
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-26-2019, 02:34 PM
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I will be interested to see what people have to say as i am planning to put one in for my setup. I haven't looked in to them much yet though.
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-26-2019, 03:20 PM
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I am not sure where you are located but I would check Craigslist for your area as you may be surprised what you find. I had very good luck with a local seller here in LA where I paid just $800 for a 12000 btu unit installed! I posted a short thread here https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...ditioners.html

The advantage of a minisplit is noise. I had a portable unit that was far too loud and distracting in my theater. I can barely hear the minisplit when nothing else is on in the theater never mind when the sound system is going. If I had not found the local seller I was planning to go the DIY route myself. You can purchase two units and pay a handyman twice for the install and still come out ahead of what the big HVAC guys will charge you. I say go for it!


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post #4 of 16 Old 03-26-2019, 03:25 PM
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Whoops, it was $850 but still crazy cheap...


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post #5 of 16 Old 03-26-2019, 05:18 PM
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Whoops, it was $850 but still crazy cheap...

Makes me wonder if you were paying just for the labor and somewhere there is a guy looking for his unit.
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-26-2019, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Craigslist deals near me are $799 plus $650 to install... kind of a lot for someone that may or may not be licensed and the unit may or may not be new or stolen.
There are quite a few good reviews on mini splits online but they need to be installed by a certified worker for the warranty to be vaild and every HVAC guy I have talked to said they wont touch them. The Mr. Cool diy ones are the only systems that have a 5/7 warranty if you do your own install. Mostly good reviews but it sounds like they are not much help when problems do arise.
The other post sounded about right, if i buy a cheap one and had to replace ot even 3 times, I'd still be ahead of the thousands that these ac guys are wanting to charge.
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-27-2019, 05:09 AM
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I bought an Pioneer 24k on Amazon 3 or 4? years ago and installed it myself. Was super easy, only thing I needed was a vacuum pump my boss loaned me. I have an 1800 sf basement that is pretty well insulated and naturally cool and so far in the time I have used it i have had zero problems... it heats and cools in one unit. Mostly it takes moisture out of the air, I live in humid south, and that keeps the whole basement perfectly dry, if alittle on the cool side which is what I wanted... I think i paid 900 for the unit at that time. I thought it would be hard to install but it was super easy. But you do need to vac the lines down to get out any moisture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by agent8 View Post
I am in the process of building a home theater/music room and before I go any further I need to figure out the cooling. I know the optimum way would be to run an AC unit with ducts and silencers and the whole nine yards but my budget will not allow for that.
I was looking into mini splits but I had no idea how expensive they were when you have to have them installed. I was quoted from $3800 all the way to $9800 for a 12,000 to 24,000 btu unit. The room is a little shy of 500 square feet total and there will also be an equipment room that is approximately 30 square feet and a bathroom that is approximately 30 square feet.
I was researching the DIY mini splits that come pre-charged such as the mr. Cool units for far less money and I have enough people around me that are more than competent to do the install but naturally all the hvac sales people are telling me that they are complete junk and that they will cost thousands to fix when they do break because no one will want to touch them.
The idea of a swamp cooler (evap cooler) blowing humid air on my expensive music equipment is not something I would really want to do and they are super noisy as well.

So at this point with my price range, the only thing I can think of for my options are
1.to take a chance on one of the higher rated mini-split systems online

2. a portable air conditioner and have to have ducts go out the wall along with a drain or having to change a water pan once in a while

3. or I was thinking that I could possibly install an in wall ac system (like the window versions but they make some that are made to go through the walls) in the equipment room since it will be fairly sealed and then run a duct in the ceiling over to the main room. In theory, since the room will be sealed and the equipment needs to be cooled anyways that would be logical but the downside would be I would have to go inside the equipment room to change the temperature every time unless it has a smartphone app or something.

Any ideas or input? I can do electrical work and handy enough to do some work but I need to keep the cost under two grand for sure. I don't necessarily need the unit to heat as well either.
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-27-2019, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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It sounds like I need to find a buddy that works for an ac company. LoL. Even if I had to buy gauges and a vacuum, it would still be far cheaper than these companies.
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post #9 of 16 Old 03-27-2019, 09:18 AM
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Sorry if this seems like thread jacking... feel free to send me packing if need be, no feelings hurt...

That said, does anyone have recommendations on actually finding someone that installs these things that is reputable? I had the same experience... I found people that installed, but they seemed shady, and any "reputable" HVAC folks it talked to just trashed the things and insist I put more tin all over my basement and eliminate any useful ceiling height...


On a separate note... anyone have a clue how well these will work with say one cassette for the basement with respect to multiple rooms/bathroom not having their own unit, and further, how do you handle air exchanges if you don't have a vent and return into the main HVAC system?

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post #10 of 16 Old 03-27-2019, 09:18 AM
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I bought one of those portable A/C units for a hot bedroom (not in that way) last summer. It was one of the larger and highest reviewed ones at Home Depot. But it was loud and had no thermostat capabilities.

I don't think that would be a good option for you.

I got a quote for a mini-split for that room last summer and just haven't pulled the trigger yet. Fun stuff
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post #11 of 16 Old 03-27-2019, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agent8 View Post
Craigslist deals near me are $799 plus $650 to install... kind of a lot for someone that may or may not be licensed and the unit may or may not be new or stolen.
There are quite a few good reviews on mini splits online but they need to be installed by a certified worker for the warranty to be vaild and every HVAC guy I have talked to said they wont touch them. The Mr. Cool diy ones are the only systems that have a 5/7 warranty if you do your own install. Mostly good reviews but it sounds like they are not much help when problems do arise.
The other post sounded about right, if i buy a cheap one and had to replace ot even 3 times, I'd still be ahead of the thousands that these ac guys are wanting to charge.
One of the posters in my thread I linked above noted that since these units do not use R22 coolant you no longer need an EPA license to handle the refrigerant as the new refrigerant, R410, is not an ozone depleter. This opens the doors up to a lot more competition in the HVAC space which may have something to do with why so many HVAC companies are so negative on these devices. These devices are super common around the world, it is not as if they are some exotic unproven technology. If you don't want to trust one of the companies on Craigslist then I would go with a Mr. Cool unit from Home Depot or some other big box store that you are comfortable with and hire someone you trust to help you install it. The cost difference between the regular HVAC guys and the Mr. Cool/Craigslist guys is just to great in my mind not to consider it.
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-27-2019, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I found a guy that will install any system I buy for $800-$1000 and sign the warranty cards for it that is licensed but he had really good things to say about the Mr. Cool units that you can do yourself and still have the warranty. I will need to research a little more. Thanks for all the help!
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post #13 of 16 Old 06-01-2019, 08:14 AM
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What did you decide to do? I too got an estimate from an HVAC company to install a mini-split of $6K. I had decided to go the Mr Cool DIYroute, but a co-worker of mine dabbled in HVAC when he was in the Coast Guard and actually got his HVAC license a couple of years ago so he could by his own refrigerant (R-22?) and charge his own system when it went down. At the price you can get one of the Pioneer units (~under $700 for a 12K BTU) if you can get someone to help you install it, I figure if it tears up, it is almost replaceable. It's almost a tenth of the cost of a HVAC company, and half the price of a Mr Cool DIY.

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post #14 of 16 Old 06-01-2019, 08:21 AM
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Haven’t finalized my plans yet, but looking into a Mitsubishi with the ceiling cassettes that fit between the joists or a mr cool style install. Still looking for a quality person around NE Ohio.... and going with an ERV unit like previously mentioned so I can seal thing up pretty well for sound purposes... the furnace is sealed combustion, and replacing the water heater with a sealed combustion on demand unit to seal off mechanicals as well. I’ll update again when I find out how to get a good installer, or if I strike out again

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post #15 of 16 Old 12-03-2019, 08:25 PM
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Did you finalize your plans and get it done? What did you do?

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post #16 of 16 Old 12-03-2019, 08:32 PM
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I ended up buying two Pioneer branded units from highseer.com for around $600 each (one was a 9K BTU and one for another room in the basement was 12K BTU, picked up a $100 set of gauges and vacuum pump from Amazon, then installed them myself after watching a few Youtube videos. I'd never done anything remotely similar before and had no issues. I did have an electrician install the disconnects when he was wiring the rest of the basement.

7.4.4 Theater Room: JVC-RS500, Silver Ticket AT 2.35:1 142”, Onkyo RZ830, Anthem PVA-7, Panasonic UB420, Apple TV 4K, JBL Studio 530’s, 4 - 15" DIY Sealed Subs

3.1 Living Room: Samsung 64” F8500 Plasma, Anthem MRX 300, Dynaudio Audience 52’s, Dynaudio Audience 122C, NHT SubOne, Roku Express (2019)
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