Why I can no longer recommend Fujitsu mini-split heat pumps

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?


315 thoughts on “Why I can no longer recommend Fujitsu mini-split heat pumps

  1. I found it amazing reading through these comments so I would like share my experience with the mini split. These mini split are amazing efficient and quiet compare to the window, through wall, and central AC.
    The manufacturer provide technical support for installer, not end-user; thus, you will not get support when you call them. This is the same for any(if not most) mini split manufacture. I remember from training session, the Fujitsu does not warranty any unit bought via online.
    As for the part, many of the part should be ready available in the authorized distributor, assuming the installer bought the unit from the authorized dealer.
    Just like any equipment, the unit is only as good when its installed properly. I found that many of the problems in the field is caused by bad installation and the problem just show up over time. Most of the unit leak refrigerant is because either the flaring connection indoor or outdoor is not properly align at the time when they tight them. In the central AC, the copper lineset it brazed together at the joist so they don’t leak. Unlike Central AC, the mini split does not have a dryer installed to filter out moisture and dirty from the lineset so if the end of the copper lineset is not sealed during the installation or storage, dirty can get into the pipe and may cause the compressor to wear out prematurely.
    As for the standby power draw, part of the power draw is to keep the unit circuit running so that when you press the remote, the unit turned on. Any electronic will have standby power loss more or less. This is the same problem for every mini split manufacture. I found that none-inverter type of mini split has little or no standby power loss compare to the one with inverter technology.
    As for the cost of installation, I found these unit are outrageously expensive as described by folks in here. Does it cost that much to install? not really. Most of the installer/HVAC/plumber contractor are very greedy out there (i know the HVAC folks are not going to like this comment; I am sure they need to justify their expense, car, insurance ….. ); this is one of the reasons why the mini split is not widely seen in this country. Another reason is the stupid procedure and hassle dealing with the building department/town to get these unit installed. These unit have become a lot of affordable in NYC in the last 5 years; you see these unit show up everywhere. A simple installation project for a mini split for two technician should take no more than 3-4 hours including running the power wire. The price varied from installer. You can be sure that you can find a reputable installer to get a top of the line 12RLS3 installed at your place for less than $2000 in NYC at residential home; I know these installers not going to offer great customer service but they will sure warranty your unit operate properly for the first year; anything break after that, it will be pay service. In all honestly, if the unit work flawless in the first year, the unit will likely function flawlessly. Btw, I found out that the installation of the mini split is free (many get paid by manufacturer) in some countries oversea; you only paid for the AC unit.
    Interestingly, I got into know the mini split about 7 years ago. My friend and I bought couple mini split and we hired an guy who work for HVAC company to install them. Just couple days after the installation, the nightmare started. These unit will stop running properly due to refrigerant leak. water splil out from the indoor unit due to incorrect drain placement. I had to beg and wait for the guy to come back to fix it. They were never fixed after couple attempted. That’s the time when I really start learning, researching and fixing them myself. I have 3 cheap brand mini split installed at my parents’ house and running for 7 year without any issue and I have 4 installed in my own house for few years. I did some part-time job in the last two summers and I have installed about 15 units. So far, none of them have problem.
    I have been to Fujitsu onsite training. In all honesty, you do not learn much from those training session. These all came from experience and reading the technical and troubleshoot material from Fujitsu contractor portal. You have to admit that troubleshooting mini split problem is not as easy as the central AC; there are less electronic components and part in residential Central AC. My advise is that if you constantly having to pay for expensive repair, just get the unit replaced. The whole unit cost less than part that your installer want to charge you.

  2. We had a 12rls and bought it new in 2010. Worked great until last June when it stopped cooling. Called the service tech and they determined the r410 was low. He added a pound and suspected it was a slow leak.

    Unit worked well for a few months then winter came. Unit just didn’t perform as it usually did. I would turn the temp up and the fan wouldn’t increase and warm the space up. I called the tech out again and they said everything checked out.

    A month and a half later noticed poor heating. I raised the temp and set to hi fan speed and nothing. Just a low fan speed with subpar heating. Unit then started flashing an error code. Tech came out again and determined it was completely out or r410 and noticed oil on the wall head coil and leaking line set. So they recharged it and said to repair the unit parts and labor would cost $3,000. Including the previous repairs I would be in for what I paid for it new.

    I’m buying a Mitsubishi as I should have in the beginning.

    • Just to be clear – did they pinpoint the leak as a hole in the coil or lineset and not at a fitting? I had exactly the same problem and diagnosis with my relatively new Mitsubishi. They even saw (what they thought were) oil stains but they couldn’t pinpoint a leak location.
      After I made a lot of complaints, they sent out their top technician who determined that the installation had gone wrong and the problem was at a fitting. Since these units are under such high pressure, that appears to be a common failure point. So if they didn’t definitively find the leak, you may want to get a second opinion. If it turns out that the problem IS at a fitting, then they should reimburse you for the earlier service calls since the problem was due to their improper installation.

    • A leak 7 years later is due to formicary corrosion, organic compounds in your home, and no matter what brand you installed it would have deteriorated the copper. There is much written online. Look it up. All brands are susceptible to it equally. It is not a Fujitsu problem as much as you seemingly wish it to be !

      • Certainly possible. For those unfamiliar with this, here’s a descriptive link: http://www.americancoolingandheating.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/What-Causes-Formicary-Corrosion.pdf

        If this is indeed the problem, they should be able to locate a specific leak point. If any troubleshooter cannot find the leak, and tries to “prove” it by pointing to stains on the fins, do not trust this diagnosis. I’ve had this multiple times and ultimately they found an incorrect installation/bad fitting was the problem.

      • Not sure about the formicary corrosion. My forced air a/c unit is much older and no problems. Our house was built in the 30’s and not considered tight.

        The they did determine a leak and heavy corrosion on the fitting on the outside line set. (Note, this tech is not the company who installed it originally).

        85% of the inside coil is covered with oil. Also we have noticed a loud creak/groaning noise from the wall unit when the system demands more heating. New sound to us in the last month.

  3. Hi. I got the most amazing insight from reading this thread. I have an ASU12RLS2 that was installed in 2014. It worked well for the first two months, but then an odor started; it was sort of floral, sort of vinegar-y, and definitely chemical smelling. The installer came to look and said there were no leaks. Recently, someone came and we took the thing apart and cleaned it thoroughly. Now the fins (??) don’t close properly, but that’s not even the problem that bothers me the most (although it might once I solve the odor problem.)
    The insight was Ted’s comment that leaks from the evaporator coils leave small oil spots on the fins. There were plenty of small brownish stains that almost looked like mouse pee. Is that leaking coolant?
    The smell really bothers me and has caused some neurological damage. As a result, I haven’t been able to rent out the house or stay in it myself.
    The guys who came to clean it tested it and they said it was fine. It does heat and cool, but it has this awful odor.
    Any advice?

    • That sounds more like a mold problem. The oil stains are colorless and broad rather than looking like spots, though they can attract dust.
      Mold can certainly lead to severe reactions in some people. Given your symptoms, I’d strongly recommend that you get mold and indoor air tests by a professional.

      • There might be mold; it does look like there was a leak about a foot above the inside unit where the wall meets the ceiling. However, the mold would be… where? inside the wall, on the old insulation? There are no black streaks or moist spots on the wall. The odor is also sort of sweet, and I think Puron (?) or whatever coolant Fujitsu uses might smell that way. Lastly, when the thing is turned off the odor goes away after about a day and then comes back when the thing is turned back on.

      • If there was enough of a leak to smell, then the system would not work for long.
        The reason why you smell only when the system is on is probably because it’s Distributing the air and blowing it around. But that’s just a theory. If you suspect a leak in your wall, you should have a contractor come out and open up the wall and check into it.

    • I also have Fujitsu -15RSL3 for 2 yrs now. It works flawlessly and no smells.
      However, during the first summer I was sloppy about keeping doors and windows closed.
      Thus we noticed a buildup of humidity in the house and investigated the cause.
      The cause is allowing warm moist air from the outside to enter the much cooler environment inside the house. The warm moist air cools off and the relative humidity climbs incrementally.
      We sealed off doors and windows and almost immediately humidity vanished and the interior actually dehumidified relative to the outdoors. My guess is that if you have no leaks in the coils, and your drain is clear, and your filters have been cleaned regularly, then you likely have a mold problem. And yes…mold can be very dangerous to your health. Mold will not only build up in your AC, it will grow almost anywhere that moisture is allowed to build up over time. In a way, it would have been easier to fix a coolant leak, than to cleanse a house of a mold infestation.
      I wish you well and hope it’s a small fixable problem.

  4. I had 2 Fujitsu ASU12RLS installed 4 years ago. One unit has had zero issues and one unit has been a nightmare from the beginning. I originally got little to no air flow when on heat mode. The installer came back out, said it was due to a leak, fixed the leak, and added freon. The unit would kick on for 30 minutes or so, then go back to no airflow. The installer would come back out and the results were the same. Usually by then spring was here and I would switch to ac mode and the system worked great, so I would put off calling the service technician back until winter. I have repeated this process for the last 4 years.
    This winter the heat mode won’t even turn on and I’ve gotten 2 different error codes. This time I called a company in my area that the Fujitsu website lists as an “elite contractor.” The technician comes out and does a diagnostic test. Comes back as a bad compressor. The technician tells me that this is only the 2nd bad compressor he has seen in his 12 years of servicing these. He calls Fujitsu since my compressor is still under warranty and Fujitsu says they will not honor the warranty until the control board is replaced which will cost me $800 parts and labor (not under warranty). They also said that if it is indeed the compressor the control board would have to be replaced regardless (which I’m skeptical of). If the control board doesn’t fix the issue, then the compressor will be replaced for an additional $1100 labor. So I’m Looking at spending $2000 to fix a bad compressor that is covered under warranty. I suggested we just replace the entire outdoor unit only to find this model is retired and purchasing the new model would require me to purchase both the indoor and outdoor unit and all the lines/fittings.
    The service technician ordered the control board 3 weeks ago and it still hasn’t been received. Fujitsu said the part was in stock at their New Jersey facility so shipping should have only taken 3-4 days tops, yet they can’t give us any tracking information or anything outside of saying it was shipped. When I attempt to call Fujitsu they won’t even talk to me. So like you, I question if these parts are even available and finding a part number online is impossible.
    This is my first experience with mini splits and while I love the concept, I will never purchase another Fujitsu brand. It’s just not worth the time, money, or aggravation.

    • Argh! That sounds exactly like my experience. A warranty is completely useless if they charge more for labor than it would cost to replace the entire unit. It’s so frustrating. Why buy high-end products when they pull this type of garbage on the consumers?
      I switched to Mitsubishi after giving up on my one defective Fujitsu unit and it too developed problems but those appear to have been installer related (leaky connection). But they too gave me the same story when they thought it needed repairs – They said it will cost $1200 to pump out the refrigerant and replace the bad Schraeder valve!!!
      When they work, they’re wonderful, but when they fail, the consumer is totally screwed.

      • And the circus continues…. The technician came back out yesterday with the new control board, switched it out and it sounded like rocks being thrown around for 10 seconds before completely shutting down again. For a 2nd time confirms its a bad compressor.
        Now here’s where it get comical. He calls Fujitsu and they agree to cover the compressor, however he will have to replace the control board yet again (3rd time)! Tells me this time around the board will be covered at no cost. At this point I am so furious of whole situation, not to mention the fact that I won’t have a working unit for half of the winter. Why would Fujitsu require these technicians to take all this training to become an “elite” dealer, yet not take their word for it when they diagnose an issue? This is as low as it gets from a customer experience standpoint.
        So the technician now tells me it might be worth replacing the entire system (indoor and outdoor) instead of spending $1100 labor on the compressor as he found out the existing lines could be used with a new system. I would get a good price because all the “heavy lifting” (lines, gutter, etc) were already in place and installing a new unit would take 1/3rd of the time as replacing the compressor. I agree to have the sales guy call me with a quote and he quotes me $4,300! I’m all for everyone making money, but this quote seems high for a system that retails for $2000.
        At this point I’m taking it on the chin either way and I would highly recommend to anyone thinking about purchasing a Fujitsu to do your research on the product and the warranty process.
        More updates to come….

      • Maybe you can get a leftover outdoor unit from a distributor and have it installed. That $4300 is definitely price gouging.
        These business practices are unconscionable. We need to bring wider attention to this and hold the manufacturers and their installer’s feet to the fire.

  5. I too am a very unhappy customer. The company that installed my system has been to my house 10 times to repair it. Because it remains broken my electric bill is stupid. The company reimbursed me for my elec. bills for 3 mo. for a grand total of 300.00. My bills have been running 400.00 plus a mo since winter got here in November. They also have let me sit in a very cold house for a week at a time ( I live in North Idaho) and never mentioned those 10 times they came to my house that they had not really disconnected my secondary source of heat . I bought a pellet stove and tried to get the company to help pay for it and all the sudden, oh your old heating system works. We will not help pay for the pellet stove. The installers and fujitsu suck. I will tell anyone that wants to know it is not worth it. The malfunction and cost of electricity is not worth it.

  6. I have two Fujitsu AOU9RLSH2H units, wall mounted on brackets, outside. The only issue I’ve had is the unit which feeds the upstairs bedroom causes vibrations that transfer to the downstairs window adjacent to the outdoor unit. Just removed it from the wall mount bracket and found NOT one of the 3 lag screws was into a stud!
    So we put a section of rubber padding behind the wall mount horizontal bracket and then located studs at both ends of the bracket and refastened the unit. We took the added precaution to put padding behind the vertical legs of the bracket. STILL vibrates the window’s internal spring mechanism badly enough to make it near impossible to sleep in the downstairs bedroom.
    Going to try padding on the bracket arms that extend out under the unit to see if it might dampen the vibrations enought to call it a day.
    Then I hope to, if needed, place a mini-split stsnd under the outdoor unit causing the issues, and isolate the entire thing from any wall attachment with the exception of the wall line set. And yes we’ve looked at, and added additional padding to the slim-duct to attempt to kill the vibration/noise. No success there either.
    So, does anyone know where to get a plastic pad to put under a mini-split ground located stand? I know they make them for generators, but does one exist for mini-splits? I don’t want to have to pour a mini-slab to keep frost from heaving the stand and possibly causing a line-set leak.
    Any help appreciated.
    BTW, have a 3 ton Daikin unit installed in my kitchen this past summer, almost $7,000 after install, etc., and it would not run for more than 2 hours without throwing a code and shutting down. Didn’t matter if it was in cooling or heating mode it just would not stay running. Took nearly 4 months and countless calls to the installer, the Daikin zone rep, and the supply house to finally get the original installer to come and replace a 3 thermocouple (probe) sensor which was defective from the factory. Oh yeah, the smartass at Daikin HQ who answered the phone insisted it could not be a defective part from the factory and that even though the unit was virtually brand new labor would NOT be included to repair the unit. I eventually hung up on that idiot.
    The repair cost nothing, parts or labor, but I still have not been able to get the Daikin installer to help me with the Fujitsu noise/rattle issue. I don’t know what it is with plumber/HVAC guys these days, but in our area it is virtually impossible to get them to do anything but take the money and run. Install a new unit? Here the same or next day. Repair/diagnose, or just return a call for service – forget about it!
    I would have bought another Fujitsu unit, instead of the Daikin, but the only supply house in the area stopped carrying them/selling the brand.
    Out for now….

    • That’s really unfortunate. It seems that none of the manufacturers are immune from bad installers and that the arrogance of the manufacturers hurts their ability to provide proper support.

      I’ve found the mini-splits to be very low vibration in the refrigerant lines and the internal units themselves to be virtually silent except for air noise. However, I have had these types of issues with the compressors, acoustically coupling with the walls at their resonant frequency and no amount of padding the unit or lines helped.

      Just to make sure we all understand – it’s your outdoor unit which is wall mounted and is transferring vibrations into the wall studs and window?

      Plastic pads for mini-splits are definitely available – they installed them under my units. I’ve bought lots of stuff from SupplyHouse.com. They’re fast, reliable and no-nonsense when I’ve had to return stuff. Here’s a link to a pad. That’s definitely the solution if your wall mount is vibrating your walls – get it away from the house – very difficult to isolate powerful vibrations from compressors.

      Cheers and Happy New Year!

    • I installed my own Fujitzu RSL-15 a few yrs ago and I have had zero issues. I followed their installation manual to a tee. I bought a large concrete sidewalk pad and two cinder blocks.
      I drilled bolt holes in the blocks and secured the outside unit using lead inserts.
      I used crusher dust gravel under the sidewalk pad. Use plenty of gravel…this is the key for a vibration free foundation. I also thought of a wall mount scenario, but am relieved I didn’t.
      I have both Fujitzu 15 and Mitsubishi 24 recent models. Both elicit slight vibrations when the compressors are engaged. The Mits is slightly quieter, but the Fuji is so much better at heating.
      We have a hydronic gas boiler, which we rarely use now except in the area where the Mits is installed. I paid approx $1800 + parts for my Fuji. If it doesn’t break down, it will have paid for itself very soon.
      I feel for you as regards your HVAC experiences. Since retirement, I have done most of my household jobs myself. Youtube and other internet resources have changed my life. I knew absolutely nothing about mini-splits before venturing into my HVAC experience. I do not recommend this as a DIY project as there are a number of dangerous potentials with HVAC.
      However, if your HVAC service guy is suspect, I would recommend doing your own research so that you can find a good service company by asking the right questions. An informed customer will ultimately get the best service. Happy New Year.

  7. I cannot recommend Fujitsu either . 5 years ago we bought Model# AOU24RLXFW Model# ASU24RLF split system 24000 BTU heating & cooling . last year we noticed dark particles coming out of the indoor unit . I contacted fujitsu general but they were useless. Basically they told me to take the unit apart & clean it .They never stated which unit to clean , Indoor or Outdoor . They never gave a reference guide on how to . Since I couldn’t find any info about this problem online I had to trouble shoot. I cleaned the coils on both units . I cleaned the outside unit inside & out to no avail . After inspecting the indoor unit closer I noticed a build up of dirt on the blower wheel & grid in front of it . After watching you tube videos it seems most ductless indoor brands need the blower wheel cleaned . I’ve searched for videos & manuals online showing how to open / remove & clean blower wheel on the fujitsu brand . NO LUCK . Other brands , certain models of mistubishi have instruction videos displaying how easy it is to open & pull out blower wheel .I found 1 PDF ( Fujitsu Large Wall Mounted
    Disassembly instruction ) but it leaves out important details like having to disconnect certain wiring , when separating the coil from the drain pan you need to disconnect wiring coming from the outdoor unit and the drain hose will likely detach in the process . If this is the only way to access the blow wheel then this brand is flawed . The owners manual doesn’t say anything about cleaning the blower wheel or how to access it . It only mentioned cleaning the filters . all I want to do is take out blower wheel & clean it . But I cannot find a simple how to solution . Never buying fujitsu again

    • The fan blower build up and costly cleaning is an issue that I never saw documented before buying my ductless units back in 2010 and 2011. 7 indoor and 5 outdoor. I’ve had good luck using compressor and compressed air to do a 90-95% cleaning job on the blower wheel without disassembling. It takes maybe 15 minutes. The crud does fly off and need cleaned up from surrounding area and blown out of unit. Disassembly to take out the blower wheel could take an hour or more. Be careful not to overrev the fan with compressed air. Use of drop cloths helps. Indoor coil and condensate pan still needs cleaned.

    • Al, did you take any picture or video of how you manage to open the indoor unit to clean all the parts? If you did, please share.

  8. Hi,can any body tell me what kind of products do i have to use to maintenance my units. They are very dirty. I need to wash coil. Please .

    • I just used a damp cloth to clean the plastic parts.

      I’ve heard of people spraying a 1% bleach solution on the coils but I didn’t try that. I’d say do that at your own risk!

      Make sure your drain line is clean draining to the outside. One of mine was getting a little backed up and I cut it shorter to make sure everything drained with gravity.

  9. You were told nonsense, Fujitsu still makes parts for that unit.
    I have installed these units for 7 years and have never had a problem securing any part, including very odd parts that usually never go bad.

    • That’s great to hear Dennis. If one of our readers who is having problems getting parts gets there installer to contact you do you think you could get them a line on some of these parts? It would be a great service and would help Fujitsu’s reputation if installers worked together to solve these thorny problems.

    I can not stress this enough. The service and support from Fujitsu is impossible, actually insultingly stupid. They won’t even give a part number for your contractor to order a part. My units leak water in the house, Fujitsu won’t help in just giving a part number and I have a big expense repairing a brand new textured wall done with drywall. *ssholes!!!!!!!

    • Sam – just came back from Japan and we left a ASU-9RLS running to keep the house dry. Grrr…. drip drip drip while we were gone. Not too much damage but certainly couldn’t leave it like that.

      When originally installed on a different unit we had leaking in the wall. The drain line wasn’t hooked up properly and, inside the wall, I went and made the connection properly to the back of the unit. That was 2010 so I only remember doing it but not the particulars. I wish I had taken pictures.

      In any case, with the 2016 issue, I went outside, cut the drain line a little shorter (it ran horizontal about 18″ on the ground) to make sure there wasn’t a hydro-lok, and then I blew a little air UP the line and then took a Wet-Dry vac and sucked all the water out of the drain line. Some people reporting insects going up the line and causing a blockage, dirt building up, etc. I don’t know what, if anything, was in the line, but after doing that I cleaned the end, put it to my mouth and blew. There was no resistance so it was clean.

      On the inside I cleaned all the filters and vacuumed as much dust as possible. It’s been dry since last week so we still have to see if it’ll drip again. If it does I’ll see what we need to do, perhaps create a bit more tilt in the mounting towards the drain hole on the right (it is currently).

      I have read spraying a 1% bleach solution on the cooling fins to keep things clean. I haven’t tried that yet. It looked pretty clean inside the 9RLS.

      This is the seventh season with this unit and it has never been a problem until this year. Unlike so many here we’ve had pretty good luck with our three units.

    • I believe that you will find the same with all of the other manufacturers. I am a service tech and I install Fujitsu because my supplier sells them. My supplier supports their contractor customers, not the end user. The system is set up to go through these channels, like it or not. As a service tech, I am often frustrated with the lack of information available, and as this equipment is becoming more and more high tech, there is less and let commonality concerning controls and functions in the equipment. When service information is made to be more proprietary, there is less “common knowledge” concerning the repair of the equipment.
      In my experience concerning mini-split systems, service information is scarce with all brands, and even I am reliant on access through the supply chain.
      The online brands should be considered throwaway brands for this very reason and others.
      Part of the problem is that contractors are often lazy, stupid, or both, and nobody wants to pay for the hours that can be spent getting service information just to find out that you need to replace the equipment anyway, so the contractor just jumps to replacement.

  11. We had a fijutsu mini split installed in 2013 and have yet to get either cold ot hot air from it. We,ve had 4 repairmen come to determine the problem but no one can fix it. The last person charged us $2500.00 with the guarantee it would be fixed. No luck, and he refused to come back and stated that we should get rid of the unit and buy a Mitsubici. In all we have paid over $ 9,000.00 on this . We feel that since we are seniors we have been taken for a ride.

      • There is no way you can get any mini-split unit installed for under 2k.
        I hope this isn’t a scam site? Readers be ware!

      • i paided $17,000 for two out door units with three mini splits each had no problems till now with one unit not working now trying to find someone to fix it is crazy they are less than two years old

      • No help from the installer? there should still be some warranty. You want to initiate a paper trail immediately so you can get the date of malfunction on record. Then call the manufacturer to get the name of some local service organizations who are factory certified.

    • That’s crazy and it does sound like you’ve been taken advantage of. If it hasn’t worked since it was installed, that’s clearly a breach of the agreement of sale and the original installer should be reported to the BBB. I would also track down your regional sales office for Fujitsu and explain your story and note the organizations that sold you your system and tried to fix it. It’s even worth a small claims court case. Somebody should be held accountable!

    • That is TERRIBLE ! Its a shame people take advantage of our senior or any customers . you should report them to consumer protection and BBB .

  12. Wow, what fascinating posts! I got two 9RLS and one 12RLS in early 2010 and aside from some leaks in the wall (which I fixed… bad hookup of the drainage line) I guess I’ve had good luck with the installs and the units.

    My biggest complaints are the phantom loads which I didn’t realize were sucking up a HUGE amount of electricity. Sadly, I left the breakers on all year round until 2014 or 2015 when I realized what was going on and wasted about 6000 kW/h of electricity! Good grief.

    At the same time as we installed the ductless we also got solar panels and a new meter. Since switching off the ductless in the cooler months we have gone from solar producing about 65% of our electricity to 95%.

    The Fujitsu 9RLS and 12RLS units cool nicely and quietly, but waste a ton of power in standby. Those folks saying only 10 or 12 watts must have something different going on because my units, in hot or cold weather, use about 60 watts EACH in standby which holds true both at the meter and at the panel with meters.

    Conclusion: When not using these units, the breakers switch off and power consumption drops drastically.

    I wish there were a way to reduce the parasitic load without having to constantly turn the breaker on/off, but at this point the units are 6 years old. Not sure how long they’ll last after reading all of these posts.

    Sadly, my installer got injured on the job, addicted to pain meds and passed away a few weeks ago. He did the whole install for free for, ironically, keeping his younger sibling on the straight and narrow. Rest in peace, Johnny.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Sounds like an upright fellow.
      Regarding the parasitic loss – I’ve heard of this before but haven’t experienced this with any of my units. That’s very odd. Some HVAC people read this who have familiarity with these units. Perhaps they have seen this and can provide some suggestions.
      Personally, I’d contact Fujitsu directly, explain the problem and note that your installer recently passed and see if they can provide some insight.

      • wow.. 6000HWK is a lot of energy that almost more than my past heating season and I live in NYC. I have eight units in my house all 9-15RLS. I didn’t notice the parasitic loss either. Please keep us posted if you found out what cause it.

      • I have an 15RSL3 which I installed myself in April /15. It has demonstrated absolutely no parasitic power draw at all! I also have an efficient Hydrotherm boiler which I rarely use in winter because the RSL3 works so well. We live in the Pacific Northwest (very mild winters) so this may not apply to easterners. The electrical hookup on these units is very precise. It is very possible some installers are making mistakes that cause this e draw. I also have installed a Mitsubishi FH unit for my neighbor and he is not happy that my RSL3 is more efficient in the winter than his:( Both manufacturers are world leaders in mini split technology. I would be reluctant to take the word of blue collar advice to these organizations. As a retiree from medicine, my only advice is get a second opinion before jumping to conclusions.

      • Thanks – I contacted Fujitsu when I realized this (about two years ago?) and they gave me the runaround. No one wants to speak with you if you’re not the installer.

        Supposedly there’s a way to address it somehow. I’ve just dealt with shutting off the three breakers in cool weather since we don’t use the units to heat in winter. We switched to Nat Gas and it’s cheap enough to heat in winter without the ductless. We have cast iron radiators that keep the home comfortable.

        It adds up… each unit consuming 2 kW/h per day (6K) times about 300 days per year we don’t need a/c times several years… Once I discovered this parasitic load and we keep the breakers off when not using the Fujitsus. Our solar before turning off the breakers was leaving us with an energy shortfall of about 2000 kilowatts per year to now only a couple of hundred.

        I think it’s something you’d have to look for to notice it. You need a power meter and to look for the loads each breaker is using.

        As others have pointed out: It may be better to go with a single outdoor unit (which by now are probably more efficient with less parasitic load) than a bunch of individual splits and their losses. For now I hope these three units keep running a few more years problem-free and then I can got with a whole new setup.

        Thanks for the kind words about Johnny and your advice.

      • I definitely see standby power draw. In the summer, it’s about 10W-12W per unit. In the winter it is much higher – I don’t recall exactly, but I was to say at least 50W. I know my “low temp” unit has a resistance heater inside the compressor, which adds significant draw.
        I turn my breakers off when I’m not using them, as well.

      • The other thing to be careful of when measuring is to be sure you’re looking at true RMS power. If the power factor is bad, a simple amperage measurement will be misleading. I’ve got mine measured with a Brultech power meter which does account for power factor, and comes in at 10W as I mentioned: http://imgur.com/a/YnQFB

      • Ok, last one; from a GBA Discussion at http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/community/forum/energy-efficiency-and-durability/27925/disappointing-phantom-load-272-seer-fujitsu-9

        Fujitsu’s “Service Instructions” manual for the RLS2 series says the following:

        “When the outdoor heat exchanger temperature is lower than 41°F(5°C) and the all operation has been stopped for 30 minutes, power is applied to the compressor and the compressor is heated. (By heating the compressor, warm air is quickly discharged when operation is started.) When operation was started, and when the outdoor heat exchanger temperature rises to 44.6°F(7°C) or greater, preheating is ended.”

      • I think I may have deleted my response before clicking send.

        To fix the leak I had to find the source of the water, which was an improperly connected drain line. That was on the installer, however he did the job for free so I cannot complain! The rest of the system(s) have functioned fine for 6 years.

        I had to cut the (soggy) sheetrock, make the connection (I think I needed an adapter from HD or similar – just a barbed connection, probably a 1/2″ or 5/”8″ clear tubing line, I can’t remember) and then re-sheetrock, sand, spackle, prime and paint. Not easy but totally doable with patience.

        As for the parasitic load: I have older units (9RLS and 12RLS) and at this point we’re used to just hitting the breaker when not using them. A bit inconvenient but not terrible.

    • I am an HVAC service tech. What you need to do is specifically track down where the load is in the unit. Many compressors have crankcase heaters to keep liquid refrigerant from migrating into the oil of the compressor. If the oil is logged with refrigerant, it can cause the oil to be pumped out when started, causing damage to the compressor. I don’t know if this principle applies to the magnetic drive compressors in the higher SEER DC inverter equipment. They are neither scroll nor reciprocating. If you have a 60 watt load you will need an amp meter that can accurately track down .5amps at 120v, or .25amps at 240v. All electronics draw power when powered up, but .5 amps seems high just for standby mode. Although, if it is an inverter model, and the DC power module is powered in standby, then it may simple bleed a little bit to ground through the capacitors and rectifier. I would think that the power to these components would be of when there is no call for cooling or heating. When these compressors fail, the whole unit is typically replaced, so there is very little familiarity of them in the field by HVAC guys. The compressors are often hard enough to access that nobody just “checks them out”. Every motor has windings, and I would expect that the DC one has one winding with two wires. A crankcase heater could be internal or external. Many of these compressors are externally insulated, so you would have to remove the insulation to find an external heater. If it is internal, most likely there would be extra wires where the motor winding wires go in, but it could be two wires going through the compressor body somewhere else. You can check your outdoor unit wiring schematic for a “CCH”, or “crankcase heater” to see if it has one.
      If this is the cause of the power drain, it is often a necessary one, because refrigerant migrates to the coldest place in the system, which is the compressor in cold weather. You may find out that it is a necessary evil in your case. If you find it and disconnect it, you simply run the risk of causing compressor damage.
      Good luck.

      • Amazing, thanks for taking the time to respond.

        Agree on all accounts.
        We have gotten good service out of our units. If we made more electricity via solar PV (we’re just below parity) then maybe we’d keep our mini-splits on for heat in winter. It’s a thought – maybe upgrade our panels and then keep the mini-splits on during the winter, or at least the colder months. But by the time we upgraded our solar panels our mini-splits (already pushing seven years) will probably worth replacing to just a single outdoor unit with five indoor units around the house, killing the parasitic load issue on the one hand, getting new units on the other, and evening out the cooling (heating) for the winter. We have cast iron which is nice heat in the winter so it’d just be a nice backup. With solar PV, and some battery backups we could be practically off the grid and self-sufficient in a few years.

        Anyhow, thanks for responding, you’re right on target.

  13. Not sure why they said the parts are no longer avalible. Fujitsu in N.J. still has most of the parts avalible for the 12RLS. Sounds like the tech just didn’t want to deal with it. In my experience all mini split mfg have some problems. Most times it is the tech that doesn’t want the headache replacing a coil that is not even that difficult to replace.

  14. WOW…. Wish I had know this before I bought mine. I have 2 Fujitsus on my house 12k and 36k with 4 heads wall mounted. I have been having Freon issues with the 36k. Two times Freon had to be added. I bought this product because of the high seer ratings. But have been disappointed in there quality of work.

    • The newer units have much better warranties so both Fujitsu and Mitsubishi do not cover labor which often cause as much as replacing the entire unit. With leaks in refrigerant you should have them check the connections with a proper refrigerant leak detector. I just had my Mitsubishi unit serviced for the same problem and after three visits they finally determined it was just the coupling from the line set. However before that they told me that I need over $1,000 of repairs! Fortunately the good Tech was able to find the real problem. But they were even going to charge me $1,000 for that repair even though it was probably the installers fault in the first place. So beware, all manufacturers have issues and sometimes it’s hard to determine if it’s the installer or the unit itself.

      • I would agree that installation issues likely cause most of the potential problems w mini-splits.
        I have installed both MUZ and RLS3 units for myself and I like both manufacturers equally.
        After nearly 2 yrs I can say both work flawlessly. Must say that the RLS3 is a more sophisticated technology, and the internals are built like a swiss watch compared to the MUZ. Without the proper tools (which are expensive) and lack of tech training, the potential for damaging these delicate machines is high. I took the time to educate myself (retired from medicine) and bought the latest instruments for the job. I hired a qualified HVAC tech to pressurize and startup both units. No problems since startup. Infact, I will be installing another unit for the bedroom wing and have decided on the RLS3. If I had read this blog before buying, I would likely not have bought the Fujitsu unit. That would have been unfortunate.

  15. I bought my 24000 btu Fujitsu split unit in 2012. Last year it failed, no cold air came out of the unit when turned on. A certified repairman came and he could not find any leaks, so he added freon gas and it worked for that summer. I paid $350 for this fix. This year, the same thing happened. I called the same repairman and he wanted $125 to stop by to check and if freon is needed he will add freon. I decided to get in touch with the person who first installed the Fujitsu unit for me, he came and added freon to the unit. It is working fine for now. I have to pay him $100. Total I have spent 450 for these two visits and am wondering if I will have to do this every year. Both of these repairmen did not said that any part was broken. My brother owned the same Fujitsu model and he also experienced the same issues. According to my brother, the 24000 btu Fujitsu split unit has many problems and this leak of freon is at the top of the complaint list. I have a 5 year warranty and it will expires next year. So far no repairman has said that the unit should be fixed by Fujitsu. They did not find any leaks and yet I have to add freon twice in 2 years. Any suggestions on what to do next?

    • Do you know how they tried to find the leaks? From what I’m seeing, leaks develop on the indoor coils and are shown by oil stains on the fins. Leaks are also common at refrigerant line connections.
      Find someone with a refrigerant leak detector. If they just use soap water, they’re never going to find it.
      Call Fujitsu and have them recommend a local representative to help.
      Good luck with this.

    • You have to recover system freon and then pressurize with about 600lb nitrogen. you will then hear the leak. good luck with Fujitsu on warrantee make sure to get a case number and the persons name who you talk to, they will do everything in there power not to honor your warrantee.

    • I have 2 Fujitsu units that I bought in 2010 or 2012 for our new addition.
      One of the units we have upstairs is seemingly always having the same problem you spoke of. In fact I called my repair guy just moments before this to have the unit recharged again this year… as I did last year.
      Our other unit is downstairs in my in-laws bedroom and they almost never use any cooling, thus any loss in the cooling function would go unoticed by them.

    • i have been installing mini-split units for 25 years, i have found if freon is needed to be added after a install has been running for a while, there is a leak in the lineset/indoor wall unit coil, or outdoor heat pump/ac unit, i would recommend that u have die added and then u can find the leak

  16. I am having the same issue with my less than two year old Fujitsu mini split, the cost of labor repairing the unit is approaching the entire unit cost. I have a call into Fujitsu manager still waiting to hear. First the controller board went out now it needs the coil, the hours of use is very low since it is in a part time house. Will update….

    • Frank, So sorry to hear about your issues with Fujitsu. I have had many issues with my mini-splits as well
      and I hope you get help from them…I did not get anywhere at all. What you can do is send e-mails to the 3 top people at Fujitsu and complain to them: Joe Hart is the head of Fujitsu in Fairfield, NJ….jhart@fujitsugeneral.com, Victor Gomez, he is Director of Service, vgomez@fujitsugeneral.com and Karol Tomaszewski, Service Manager, ktomaszewski@fujitsugeneral.com. If you get nowhere with them, put in a Consumer Complaint with the Attorney General of New Jersey….go to their website and click on consumer complaint and fill out the page and send it. The Attorney General’s office did advise me that if there were more complaints they would reopen my case and others that were registered with their office. Good luck!

    • Update on my situation, my unit had a leak on the inside unit coil. Fujitsu offered a new coil but I refused since the labor to install made this not cost effective. After insisting they sent entire new unit which was cheaper to install. Now my two year warranty is up and I hope it lasts. If it fails again I will purchase a Mitsubishi.

      • I’m going through exactly the same thing right now. $1000 to repair the coil even though I can buy an entire indoor head for less than that. That’s with the new Mitsubishi unit. Alas.

      • try calling around to authorized dealers. If they don’t have one, ask for their distributor. There’s got to be some spares around.

  17. So what to do? I hate to muddy up the discussion by introducing another brand, but my LG mini-split was diagnosed with a leak in the indoor coil after two seasons of cooling. Looks like the coil is covered under warranty, but labor is not. Since this is a labor intensive repair, the cost of the fix will approach the original purchase cost of the indoor unit. Any sane person knows this just isn’t right, but it seems to be the way the game is played. How does one ultimately find a quality product that’s highly efficient and solidly backed by the manufacturer? I’m at a loss.

    • That’s unfortunate. I’d try contacting the regional sales organization for LG and pleading your case given the newness of the situation. Not very likely to get satisfaction, but worth a try.

      Barring that, I’d get a Mitsubishi. They’re rock solid, with a long track record and broad dealer network. That’s what I did for my replacement.

    • Mike, So sorry that you are having a problem with your LG unit’s indoor coil. I am assuming that all these coils are manufactured in the same factory since all these mini-splits look the same, I was hoping that Fujitsu was the only mini-splits that were defective. As of this date, I own 4 Fujitsu mini-splits, I have replaced an entire outdoor unit, another outdoor unit needed a new compressor and 3 indoor coils. The grand total parts & labor is $5115.50……

    • Mike, as a contractor myself who has installed many split ductless systems have to agree with your frustration, but I also know that most if not all manufacturers are similar in that they have these long or longer “part” warranties, the labor is covered by the licensed installing contractor for a 1 year period from the date of install with limitations such as power outages, brownouts etc. that could void not just the part warranty but also the labor warranty based on the fact that it is not normal wear and tear. Now I have purchased items such as washer and dryer, fridge, tv’s etc. and I do pay for and extended labor warranty (which can be done on most anything now a days) because of the potential that I feel that type of product might have to fail (usually electronic component failure).
      Now as a contractor I have had those similar situations (not many) where something is just out of warranty and honestly most I have worked with the customer to offer a good discount on labor to fix it. I didn’t have to but they are GOOD customers not by the money they spend but by the type of people they are (meaning they didn’t call up screaming and yelling and threatening to sue).
      None of us ever want to have problems but if we do it is important to be working with a contractor that will HELP or WORK WITH YOU if an issue should arise with your new system. I know that any contractor could just say whatever they need to to get you to purchase, I know I’ve been there.
      Now to the important info: no matter the brand your first step is to contact the installing contractor and ask what they can do to help (realize if the job was a low bid with almost no profit it is less likely), if they are not willing to do anything then you may be able to contact a representative from the manufacturer and see if they will assist, but this is not likely because they usually deal only with the licensed contractor. The supplier only works with the contractor and will do nothing for the homeowner.
      In the future consider purchasing an extended labor warranty on a system if the pricing seems reasonable – kinda like an insurance policy. I can tell you being in the business for more than 30 years there is someone for every brand that will tell you that it (whatever they sell) is the best brand out there – sad but true. Not sure any of this helps, but good luck.

      • mate I install these in new Zealand fujitsu, mitsi electric do 6yr parts n labour warranties most other brands do 5yrs

    • If you bought it with a credit card you may be in luck.
      I purchased a dishwasher with my American Express card and after the dishwasher warranty had just expired my dishwasher needed a costly repair. In my case American Express added another year to the manufacturer’s warranty and covered PARTS and LABOR!! I just needed to fill out some simple papers afterwords asking for reimbursement and it was all taken care of . Hope that helps.

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