This article has been updated as of January 2018.
Readers, please note that the original article referred to the original line of inverter mini-splits manufactured by Fujitsu. Over the years, many of you have echoed these comments regarding premature system failure and inadequate manufacturer’s support leading to extremely expensive repairs and replacements.
Subsequently, Fujitsu has gone through at least two generation updates to this line of products. They have also updated their warranty policies, indicating a greater confidence in their products.
I have also been told by several installers that the new Fujitsu units are considered tops in the field.
Given these changes, I change my rating of Fujitsu to “Neutral.” I cannot personally recommend them because I have no first hand experience with them recently. However, I do not wish for people to be discouraged from installing their new units.
If you have first hand experience with the new line of Fujitsu mini-split heat pumps, please contribute to the discussion.
(original posting from 2014 follows)
Sadly, I can no longer recommend Fujitsu due to their unacceptable support and warranty policies.
Poor product durability eliminates all cost savings gained from efficiency
A home’s heating system is a capital expenditure. That is, it’s considered a long term investment in your home. Typically, you figure that it will last 15-20 years with some cost for maintenance. And generally, that’s conservative. How many of you still have heating systems in your homes from the 1970’s or 80’s? In general, these systems are very durable. Unfortunately, with the Fujitsu mini-split heat pump, this has not been the case.
I originally purchased a model 12-RLS in June of 2009. The system worked great and I was very happy with its efficiency and performance so I gave it a glowing review.
In November of 2011, our neighborhood experience a huge power surge that blew out all three of my Fujitsu units. This is not Fujitsu’s fault as the surge killed electronics in a broad area. I mention it because the units were totally replaced just two years ago.
Recently, in November of 2013, one of my units stopped heating. I thought it was due to the cold, humid weather we were having and waited to see how it would behave in subsequent weeks.
On December 10th of 2013, I concluded that the system was truly malfunctioning and scheduled a service call. My local installer came out, acknowledged that it wasn’t working, and left.
On January 2nd of 2014, another technician came to diagnose the system. During their visit, they found that the evaporator coils were leaking and one of the temperature sensors was malfunctioning. The prognosis was not good – this would require replacing the entire indoor unit. But since the unit was only two years old, I figured that replacement would be covered by the factory.
On January 28th of 2014, after two months with a non-functional heat pump in my living room, the owner of the company that installed the system contacted me, quite upset. He noted that Fujitsu had been mistaken. The model 12RLS was an old model that only had a two year warranty and my warranty had just expired. Not only that, but they no longer make replacement parts for that model (remember, this was the latest and greatest in 2009) so I would have to purchase an entirely new system. This would cost me about $4,000 with installation, removal of the old system etc. Frankly, this is insane.
The warranty statement on the unit does in fact say that it covers parts for only 2 years. Since my unit failed a few weeks after the two year period, they legally did not have to cover it. But had I known that they wouldn’t even have parts to repair the unit that I expected to own for 15+ years, I never would have purchased the Fujitsu 12RLS in the first place.
Any reputable manufacturer would stand behind their product better than this. If I, who has some of the top search results for my positive reviews of the Fujitsu 12RLS , can’t get them to stand by their warranty that expired just days before the unit failed, then an ordinary consumer has no chance of getting support from them. I have to say, I am utterly disappointed by Fujitsu.
So now I have to basically throw away a several thousand dollar heat pump. I will save this old unit for parts in case the others fail.
This fiasco by the numbers
Years owned: 4.25
Original installed cost: $3,560
Cost per year of operation: $837.65
Total energy use: 10,575kWh
Approximate electric cost:$1586. Cost per year: $373
Based on these numbers, I would have been better off buying a much less expensive system that was reliable but inefficient. So what’s the point of buying the high efficiency Fujitsu system?