3 Reasons NOT to buy a Ductless Mini Split online
3 Reasons why you should NOT buy a Ductless Mini Split Online
If you're considering having a Ductless Mini Split installed in your home you've probably surveyed a number of websites that offer fairly low cost a/c and heating systems. AC Warehouse, Mini Split warehouse, even home depot is in on the game. The cost of these systems are fairly reasonable at a thousand or so dollars. So whats wrong? Well, as an A/C company who installs and services many mini split systems we've come across some repeated issues that potential buyers should be aware of before they spend their hard earned money on a system that may not work the way they hoped it would.
DISCLAIMER: Before you think I'm being an internet hater hear me out. I think that more and more air conditioning products will end up being purchased off of websites. However, there are significant repeated issues that can either be prevented by online retailer OR the end buyer. To spoil my conclusion it is my strong strong strong suggestion that anyone considering buying a mini split system should consult an HVAC professional. NOT some guy who has worked on car A/C systems who said he'll install it for you for a couple hundred bucks. I'm talking a fully insured, licensed, and trained company with the resources to perform the installation and commissioning properly. It may cost you a bit more but in the end you'll have a much better experience and won't waste your money.
WARNING - Many manufacturers do NOT honor their stated equipment warranties if equipment is purchased from an online retailer. Some do and others do not. This is different from manufacturer to manufacturer. This is a quality control measure many of the leading appliance companies have.
So lets pretend that you purchased the equipment from a manufacturer who will honor the warranty even if the unit was bought off the internet. If you don't have the system installed by a licensed contractor they warranty can and probably will be voided.
Have you made it this far? OK so you had a licensed person install the unit and the manufacturer honors warranties on equipment purchased online. Good so far......... BUT if you don't get the equipment registered with the company they can disqualify you for not sending in the paperwork.
We have had a recent customer who spent in the range of ~$4,000 on a multi-zone mini split from a manufacturer (whom I won't name) purchasing their system online and having it locally installed where the equipment failed within 12 months. The Manufacturer did NOT honor the warranty because the equipment was not properly registered with them...... sounds to me that the manufacturer does not take much pride in their equipment nor do they care about making long term customers... Still there was nothing we could do for the customer other than make them pay for the repairs in full. If they had the opportunity to do things differently they would certainly have purchased locally from a professional installation company. Instead they got stuck with subpar equipment and several thousand dollars out of their account.
Many of the manufacturers who sell online are relatively unknown. Ever heard of Gree, Turbo Air, Soleus, YMGI? Didn't think so. These are brands of mini split appliances that are relatively unknown. If you're looking for a quality piece of a equipment I would generally always suggest going with a major manufacturer. Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, LG, Daikin. Even the big boys aren't perfect but I can assure you their manufacturing processes and warranties are far better handled than the unknown companies.
If you're set on purchasing from a sub-major brand to save a buck. At least do the effort of looking into their reviews and complaint history. The following picture is of a Mini Split Installer. Not a good track record.
3. Professional Installation
Don't Don't Don't......... seriously don't have someone install you're mini split who is not a professional. Everything from aesthetic covers, proper wiring, correct tools, to refrigerant charge, and clean flare joints must be delicately balanced and performed properly. I've seen it all to often. An amateur helps someone install their new mini split system. What do they get? duh, and amateur result. If you're going to try your own hand at installing one at least have a professional advise you and perform the system check and commissioning. Otherwise you're taking too big of a risk to cause premature system failure.
At the end of the day. You're an adult. Make the right decision. Make the wise decision. In my opinion the wise decision is to have a professional take care of the work from start to finish.
I'd be glad to discuss you're project even if you're outside of our Houston market. Give us a ring or drop us an email.