Mitsubishi Ductless and Trane Air Conditioning Announce Joint Venture

mitsubishi mini split and trane air conditioningEarlier this week, Mitsubishi Electric, manufacturer of USA’s best-selling ductless mini split air conditioners and heat pumps, and Ingersoll-Rand, mother company of popular air conditioning brands like Trane and American Standard announced a joint venture.

Frankly I’m surprised it has taken so long for the major HVAC equipment manufacturers to join the rest of the world, where ductless mini splits are more common than conventional central air conditioning units.

My company, Magic Touch Mechanical based in Mesa, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona – and for out-of-staters; yes…near Scottsdale) installed our first ductless ac unit over twenty years ago. Since then, we have installed hundreds of these units all over the Valley of the Sun. If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know our claim to fame is the fact that we take great pride in leading the pack in emerging technologies, and love the complicated high-tech projects our competitors steer clear of. Nothing gives me more pleasure than our competitors employees recommending Magic Touch for these types of jobs!

Carrier and Goodman AC Go Ductless Too

The Mitsubishi/Trane joint-venture is not the first of its kind to take place recently. Similar joint ventures were announced by other major air conditioner manufacturers and ductless manufacturers in the last few months and years as well. Carrier Air Conditioning and Midea Ductless, as well as Goodman and Daikin Ductless, have also joined forces in an effort to dominate the rapidly growing market and consumer demand for ductless air conditioning units in the U.S.

Anyone who follows my posts has probably seen the dozens of articles I’ve written over the years about why ductless AC & heating systems are a “better mousetrap” than traditional systems that require air ducts to move conditioned air.

Having worked in the HVAC Industry for the last thirty years, I can’t help myself but notice ductwork, controls, and air conditioner models everywhere I go (and snob-ily critique the quality of the installation)!

So, the first time I visited Europe, besides all the beautiful architecture, unique shops, fantastic restaurants, and people driving on the wrong side of the road, I noticed one other thing – ductless mini-splits everywhere!

Mini Split AC & Heating Dominate Europe and Asia

One reason Europe, Asia, and the Middle-East utilize this technology is obvious – many of the buildings are hundreds of years old and were built long before central air conditioners even existed. There is another reason however; many of these places have much stricter energy savings policies and some pay much more for their energy than we do in the states. Most are also far ahead of us with regards to renewable energy and high-efficiency technologies too. Need proof? Look at the names of the major manufacturers of ductless equipment; Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, Daikin, Samsung, Panasonic, Sanyo, and Midea to name a few – they don’t sound like they were made in Texas do they!

In fact, major American manufacturers like Trane, Carrier, Lennox, Goodman and American Standard, have long been “white-labeling” the ductless manufacturers’ equipment and selling it under their own brand name – rather than try to catch-up and manufacture their own.

These joint ventures mark the start of a new era in the HVAC industry in North America. Much like the 70’s marked the end of gas-guzzling, high emission emitting cars and trucks, these joint ventures mark the beginning of the end of ducted air conditioners in homes and commercial buildings.

In fact, for the last twenty-years, every year Magic Touch Mechanical installs more of this equipment than we did the year prior. Last year, we installed twice as many as we did the year prior! Years ago, we sold them only after explaining to our clients what they even where, whereas now we have people who already know all about them and are scheduling a consultation mainly to get an estimate because they’ve already made the decision to purchase one.

For Magic Touch Mechanical, these joint ventures are both good and bad

The good is; it backs up what we’ve been saying for years, and as an established market-leader in Arizona, people already know we are well versed in planning, installing, and servicing ductless mini splits. As we are also known for our “whole-home approach” to home efficiency and comfort, and are one of the leading home energy auditing and energy efficiency home improvement contractors in the Phoenix market, we expect even more rapid growth for our own company in the next few years.

The bad is, we will quickly see companies coming out of the woodwork claiming to be “experts” in ductless equipment. If and when these new experts start making mistakes in the design and installation of this equipment, some people will get the impression the equipment is not all it’s cracked up to be. We already repair dozens of systems a year that were poorly installed – typically from people that purchased cheap units online coming out of China and Mexico.

We saw this happen when SRP and APS started sponsoring energy audit programs and offering rebates through programs like Duct Test & Repair and Home Performance with Energy Star. A few years prior, I could count on one hand the number of companies in the Mesa – Phoenix area besides Magic Touch that were conducting home energy audits prior to improving things like insulation, air conditioners, solar shade screens, etc. then post-testing to verify and quantify the improvements. After the utilities started participating with rebate programs, we saw at least a hundred companies’ start-up claiming to be “home energy experts”. I actually met with the owner of one of these companies that told me he previously owned a car stereo business – six months later he was a home energy auditor.

I don’t bring this up because I’m concerned about the competition, we already turn down work on a daily basis because we are almost always busy. Phoenix is now the 5th largest city in the country, and several other cities we serve are in the top 25 – there’s plenty to go around.

Homework Required When Hiring Ductless Mini Split Installer

I bring it up to encourage homeowners and building managers (in Phoenix or wherever you may be in the US or abroad) to do your due diligence before hiring a company to install a ductless mini split system for you. Find out how long they’ve been doing this work. Ask for job photos of completed work. Search the company’s website and see how much of it is dedicated to ductless technology – is it commonplace for them, or is an afterthought mentioned in one paragraph on an air conditioning page. Are they a recommended dealer for one of the major manufacturers’? For example – Magic Touch Mechanical is a Certified Diamond Contractor for Mitsubishi, which means we’ve been factory trained, as well as sell and install a significant amount of their equipment.

What Does Trane / Mitsubishi Joint Venture Mean To You?

At the end of the day, these joint ventures are a good thing for consumers in the U.S.

Ductless equipment is more efficient, quieter, lasts longer, and is generally more reliable than central air conditioners and heat systems. The list of benefits this equipment brings to the table is as long as my arm, and I can go on record saying I’ve never heard one of our clients show the slightest sign of buyer’s remorse after purchasing one – can you say you’ve never had a complaint about the air conditioner in your home or office?

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