Editors Note: Now that we’ve had this unit installed for almost a year, I strongly advise you to avoid Pridiom brand mini-split systems. We’ve had multiple repairs and extremely poor customer service. Plus, this brand is almost unheard of among HVAC professionals. At this point, we are considering replacing the entire system. Save yourself the headache and go with a more reliable brand like Mitsubishi or Sanyo.
I’m really excited about the progress in the official OPC workshop. It’s getting close to the point where we can begin moving in our tools and setting up the workspace (after we finish some more drywall, install the lighting and apply the epoxy floor coating). The big improvement since my last update is that we’ve had our mini-split HVAC unit installed.
Mini-split systems, also called ductless systems, are great for conditioning a limited area. They are composed of an indoor air handling unit and an outdoor compressor so you get some of the benefits of a forced air system like minimal noise but on a smaller scale. Some units are air-conditioning only, but we selected a model that can act as a heat pump too. We choose the Pridiom 16 SEER, 24,000 BTU AMS241HX.
Installation is just beyond the capabilities of an avid DIYer. I say this because you may be able to properly place the indoor and outdoor unit, run the necessary electric and drain lines, and even flare the freon lines. The problem is that only professionals will have the necessary equipment to vacuum the lines free of outside air and ensure the proper pressure is achieved. Also, most warranties are void without a licensed contractor.
Editors note: A valid warranty proved to be important since our indoor unit quit working about a week after this initial review. We followed the proper channels to resolve the issue however technical support was not very helpful. After some back and forth, they sent an entire replacement for the indoor unit and that fixed the problem, however Pridiom refused to compensate our installer for diagnosing the problem and swapping out the defective unit. While we are still very pleased with the mini-split system, the same can’t be said for Pridiom customer support. I’ll grant that our test unit was not a typical exchange. Even so, I hope we don’t have reason to contact them in the future.
Even so, we captured pictures of the install, and thus far are very pleased with the results.
Here’s a look at the blank wall where the indoor unit will be installed. You want to place the indoor unit up high with at least 6″ of clearance from the ceiling. This will ensure the best air circulation.
The indoor portion mounts on the wall much like a microwave with a metal bracket secured to studs. You’ll notice the lack of any visible connections. That’s because everything runs through a 3″ hole to the outside of the house.
Nobody wants ugly tubes and wires hanging off their house so the installer used a PVC channel that looks much like a downspout.
Here you can see the drain and the flexible copper freon lines and the electric supply running from the compressor.
We think it looks very tidy.
From the sub-panel in the garage, the installer ran 10-2 wire through conduit directly to the outdoor compressor.
This picture shows the outdoor electric cutoff switch.
We set the outdoor unit on a small pad of concrete behind the house. It’s out of sight, somewhat protected from the elements and HOA compliant.
And here you can see the electric junction (top) and the freon connection (bottom).
I mentioned that so far we’re very pleased with the AMS241HX. It has four modes- heat, A/C, dehumidify and fan. The display shows the temperature, and there is a remote control to change settings. Anything above 14 SEER is Energy Star qualified and this model carries a SEER rating of 16. It uses the new R410A freon which has become the standard as it’s will not deplete the ozone if the system ever leaks. With 24,000 BTU’s our workshop should always be nice and warm.
We found this Pridiom unit on the Air & Water website. If you’re considering a mini split, check out some of the options they provide. If you want to learn more about Pridiom, take a look at their facebook page.
The install looks good, though it will be interesting when you have to replace that crushed downspout… I hope it keeps you comfortable in there.
The downspout is in good shape (not crushed) but it will be an awkward job to replace it. I’d imagine it’ll need to be two pieces coupled together.
Do these work in an upstairs bedroom? Or just a garage type setting?
They can work pretty much anywhere. They are currently being installed in very high efficiency homes as the only system. They work great in small office spaces as well.
What’s the r-value of the walls and ceiling in the garage space? Have an insulated garage door? Any plans to track the efficiency of the unit (maybe the sub-panel is on a separate meter)?
Great contributions to the discussion Jeff. We insulated the walls and roof with closed cell spray foam gaining about R-18 but keep in mind that foam works better than batts because it creates a more complete envelope. We plan on purchasing insulated garage doors soon. Any recommendations? We had planned on tracking the sub panel separate for the simple reason that Fred and Kim shouldn’t be paying the utility bill for the OPC workshop. Unfortunately, the separate meter was pricey enough that we decided to forego it and just compute average difference.
If the current door isn’t in bad shape perhaps a post on insulating the current door could be helpful. Instead of getting one of those Expanded Polystyrene kits from the big box you could fashion your own with foil-faced polyisocyanurate and canned foam. Add some vinyl stops (with seal flap) and a new bottom seal and you would have a pretty good door for not much money.
I have a R-12 door from Overhead Door but I think that it was pretty pricey. It was a freebie though when my wife and I were on DIY Network’s Sweat Equity.
I am really considering a mini-split to install it in my bedroom , but i want to know how would they find a place to install the outdoor unit??,,Thanks for this article and these great photos.
It can be installed almost anywhere that there is sufficient clearance for airflow and electricity. They can even be mounted on steel brackets hanging off the exterior wall.
Oh I have to show this to my hubby for our future shed/garage. I was just wondering how we’re going to heat and cool it since I’ll be using it for my business too. Thanks!
I appreciate how on this blog you are willing to revise an old article with more updated information. Knowing that you had a bad experience with customer service saved me from ever using them. Thanks for the article, and the update.
Great article. I installed the same unit in 2010 (it’s been discontinued and upgraded by Pridiom since) and it’s been great in my 2000 sq ft beach house. I installed the pad, cut the wall and ran the electric but I left the actual install to professionals who know what they’re doing and to preserve the warrenty. Last year the heat sensors went out and I had a bad communication experience with Pridiom similar to yours, although I did finally get the parts and easily replaced them without much information to go by. This winter the fan motor is having problems and I had to go back to Pridiom for a replacement. I must say that this time was completely different. They’ve changed some personnel and they are very fast to respond and answer questions. I’m posting this because their new effort deserves to be acknowledged. This is a good unit, especially considering the price, and now I feel more confident that I can keep it operational.
DONT BUY IT!!!! Nothing but trouble and this company does not stand behind there product! If you have alot of moble cell phones in your area it may cause this system to malfunction…but of course they dont tell you that before you buy!! They will not allow you to return it even when this unit continues to malfunction!
This is JUNK!