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Innova Heat Pump System

anukeen_sprout | Posted in Mechanicals on

I’ve done a search and was surprised to find nothing on GBA about the Innova 2.0 packaged terminal heat pump.

– It’s an Italian brand apparently popular in Vancouver, B.C., and newly available in the U.S..

– Has highest-quality components from Mitsubishi .
– And I’ve been told they cost about $2600 plus a couple hours of simple installation.
Here’s a link to an (Italian) brochure; jump to pg 14 for specs:
https://img.edilportale.com/catalogs/2-0-Catalogue-2017-it-en-INNOVA-328715-catb51a9f0.pdf

So, I’m building an 800 sq ft rental unit downstairs from my house (in San Francisco area). There will be one great room, plus two small bedrooms an a bathroom. I will be insulating and air sealing to the standards I’ve learned on this website. I’ve received three quotes for Mitsubishi ducted and ductless mini-split systems… and all floated right around $15,000. This is for new construction, walls all open.

At that price, I am strongly considering the Innova (or even three of them if I have to), which I can install myself by coring two holes in an exterior wall.

I know there is a lot of controversy about PTHP, so I’d like to put this out to the community. What cons do you see?

Thank you!
Anukeen

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Replies

  1. anukeen_sprout | | #1

    Another spec sheet

  2. Expert Member
    Peter Yost | | #2

    I have asked around a bit but did not find much. Two things that one expert HVAC engineer shared with me:

    1) their unit is rated to -12 C that's only 10.4 F but just fine for your mild climate
    2) their unit is 50 hertz not 60 hertz that we have here in the US.

    Peter

    1. Expert Member
      Dana Dorsett | | #4

      >"2) their unit is 50 hertz not 60 hertz that we have here in the US."

      According to the trifold short-sheet image Anukeen put up in response #1 it's 60Hz.

      The ~ 3.75:1 turn down ratio is a nice feature, as is the very low 41dbA sound levels at maximum speed.

  3. Jon_R | | #3

    I like the low outdoor visual impact. And it's probably good from a thermal and air sealing standpoint. If it converts everything to DC, then 50 vs 60 Hz won't matter (but ask them). Noise might be an issue.

    Here is another one for consideration.

    https://www.hotspotenergy.com/hotel-air-conditioner/

  4. anukeen_sprout | | #5

    Hi all,

    I'll track my progress, in case anyone else is interested. I contacted Innova USA, and got this response:

    "Thank you for inquiring about our 2.0 air conditioner. While the 2.0 is currently not yet available in the USA, we are excited that in the next few months the 2.0 will be available.

    For your convenience, you can view and download a copy of our planned brochure for the US market by clicking here. You can also see the instruction manual by clicking here. Please keep in mind that it is not final, and some specifications may change.

    The estimated retail price will be $2,500 for the horizontal model and $2,900 for the vertical model. If you are interested in receiving a special introductory offer, please complete this form and we will send you a coupon as soon as the 2.0 will be available for sale in the US."

    (I'd like to share, but I can't attach the manual and catalog because of GBA's 3MB limit...)

    1. cody_fischer | | #6

      Anukeen -

      Did you go with the Innova product? Curious what the coupon discount was and what your experience has been.

      Cody

  5. anukeen_sprout | | #7

    Hi Cody,
    I ended up going with a traditional split system from Fujitsu. I searched and searched for people who had experience with this product, but was not successful. I didn't want to be the bleeding edge in this expensive aspect of the home.
    Who knows, maybe a lot has changes in the last year plus. Might be worth revisiting if you're interested.
    Good luck

  6. IWR | | #8

    Same company has an interesting looking new product ... https://ephoca.com/vhp-2-0/ ... heat pump HRV more akin to a CERV or Minotair, but prettier and smaller

  7. aunsafe2015 | | #9

    The unit listed in the OP is apparently being marketed in the US as the Ephoca HPAC 2.0. "Ephoca" is apparently the US subsidiary of Innova. https://ephoca.com/hpac-2-0/

    I reached out to them via their webpage and was told that the HPAC 2.0 is currently shipping in the US for a cost of $2,995 including shipping.

    Anybody have any more commentary on this unit?

    I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination. A couple of thoughts, though:

    At $2,995 it's not drastically cheaper than, e.g., a professionally installed Fujitsu or Mitsubishi ductless. But you have no sizing flexibility, not as much low temperature heat output, and not as much efficiency (COP and SEER numbers are both pretty low compared to the most efficient ductless mini splits).

    On the other hand, you get what appears to be pretty simple DIY installation. The system is not split so you don't have to worry about flares failing or brazing. So I would think (hope?) that refrigerant leaks would be more or less a non issue with these units.

    I suppose if these units turn out to be highly reliable, then perhaps a person choosing between a ductless mini split and one of these might be making a reasonable choice to choose the HPAC 2.0. But I personally think it would have been a much more exciting product if the savings was greater relative to ductless mini splits. (that said, I would still consider replacing my ductless mini split with one whenever my mini split eventually needs to be replaced.)

    1. irene3 | | #10

      It sounds relatively cheap to me - our system was nearly $15K installed - and if it does all that air filtration and so forth as well, that's almost too good to be true.

      1. aunsafe2015 | | #11

        15K for a single ductless mini split? Wow. In my region they are (or at least, were a couple years ago) more in the $4k to $5k range.

        1. irene3 | | #12

          It's a whole-house ducted Mitsubishi system (replaced a forced-air furnace, reusing old ducts). I think before tax it was $13,500 or something (including installation, can't remember what the units alone cost).

  8. kieran973 | | #13

    Did anyone here ever install one of these things?

    One thing I don’t understand is how they can operate at 27 decibels when the entire unit and its compressor are inside the living space. Yes, there are some six inch holes in the wall behind it, but the whole unit looks to be indoors. So 27 db?

    1. aunsafe2015 | | #14

      I didn't but I would love to hear some real world feedback about them. Would also love to see a temperature logger showing how steadily they maintain a setpoint.

  9. anukeen_sprout | | #15

    I'll be watching this thread for some brave person to make the leap. Any other advances in Packaged Terminal Heat Pumps GBA should know about?

  10. user-6765831 | | #16

    When I reached out by phone and email to this company I have been getting no reply. If anyone has a contact let me know.

    1. ozar | | #17

      I got passed to their distributor, Norman S. Wright, which ghosted me once I said I was only after a single unit. I guess they don't do retail.

      It's a shame; this is the only solution I've found that combines cooling, heat, and ventilation in so little space (I need to condition just 64 sq. ft.).

  11. Nich | | #18

    Found a Study on this innova 2.0 unit and some of their other products on a building in Vancouver British Columbia Canada. It goes into quite the details regarding the unit and the options they explored. I have attached the PDF to this comment hopefully this helps people find information on these units and how they work.

  12. aunsafe2015 | | #19

    Anybody interested in the unit because discussed in this thread should also check out https://www.gradientcomfort.com/. I'd love to hear some real work reviews of the Gradient unit too.

    1. Nich | | #20

      just finished the innova 2.0 install in my apartment and i have to say i'm happy with it so far but its only been half a day since it was installed. Costs on the unit installed are double what is written in that PDF study i found which was shocking! i'm happy to no longer need to put anything in a window or carry things or find a place to store anything further.. $2000 for that gradient comfort is quite expensive. Most places i've lived in dont have vertically opening windows so that has not been a good solution for me in any of the homes i've lived in.

      power consumption on this unit has been a big improvement over the portable air conditioners. for comparison purposes to my old portable air unit i set them to the lowest temperatures i could on the innova and on the portable machine I measured the watt usage with a Kill-a-watt device.

      The portable unit, a Noma from Canadian tire, 9500 btu reated unit. it was drawing 975w and producing air that was at 56.3f measured with a ThermaPen instant read thermometer left in the airstream for 5+ minutes until the temperature leveled off and remained consistent. Outdoor air temperature was 78f during the tests.

      The innova 2.0 unit at 100% fan speed and set to the coldest temperature it could drew at max 760w and produced cold air at 51.4f measured with a ThermaPen instant read thermometer left in the airstream for 5+ minutes until the temperature leveled off and remained consistent. Outdoor air temperature was 78f during the tests.

      these test's do not take into consideration noise generated by these units which the innova is significantly quieter than my old portable AC unit (My ac unit is on the way higher noise than most portable AC units you can get today so it was not worth comparing it.)

      so in that direct comparison at full load the innova is already way more efferent at cooling even when running at 100% speed. the portable AC unit would need to run at full speed in order to keep up when temps are 78f outside. When you take into consideration that you will not need to always run this machine at 100% full speed and the cost savings goes up considerably more.

      Another advantage for the innova 2.0 unit is that its air intake is at the top of the unit and that is flush with the windowsill it is installed under. I have blackout blinds that are set at the proper length to allow the air coming out of the unit to flow freely through the exhaust port and make the innova 2.0 suck all the super heated air from the direct sunlight i get in the afternoon until sunset. this doesn't allow the heated air to superheat the room i am in as its processing this extremely hot air through the cooling coils. This also brings up a negative though as the onboard temperature sensor believes the room is 77f when its actually 72F in the room which is below the targeted 73f i want the room kept at. would be nice if there was an external temp sensor option so you can place a temperature probe in a more accurate place.

      1. Nich | | #21

        One thing of note is the remote (picture attached of front and back) its super basic and uses a very uncommon battery size here in Canada.. CR2030.. wish it would have used a CR2032 those are super common.

        It would also be nice if there was some place to store the remote on the unit itself.

        1. Chris_in_NC | | #23

          A CR2032 is only 0.2mm thicker than a CR2030, which is likely not an issue. If it is, it's probably small enough to be solved by shaving down the raised ribs shown in the picture on the battery cover.

          Actually your picture shows a CR2430, not a CR2030. Those should be easier to find, although still not as much as the super-common 2032 obviously.

          The install manuals mention the battery as a CR2025, curiously.

        2. aunsafe2015 | | #24

          Can you comment on how steady it maintains the temperature of the room it is in? For example, say you set the a/c unit to a setpoint of 74 degrees. If you used a temperature logger, would it stay within +/- 1 degree of 74? +/- 2? Etc. Thanks.

          1. Nich | | #26

            HI, it is completely capable of maintaining the exact temperature of the room in most scenarios. the unit is mounted below my master bedroom window which faces west which means it gets the evening sun. Because of this i close all the blinds and have blackout blinds that allow the air to flow out of the AC unit and make the unit take all the hot air off the window space between the blackout blinds and the window itself. the Temperature probe the unit uses is in the air intake at the top of the unit, it reads the air temperature that i have trapped between the blackout blinds and the window. this makes the unit think my room is way hotter than it actually is and i have to adjust for that temperature delta of that air gap to the rest of the room for it to hit the temperature i want. If i didn't trap that hot air and force the unit to read that and left the room open I have no doubt that the unit would hold the temperature without any issues. I find it way more efficient to do what i am doing to stop all that hot air from the direct sunlight from heating up the room.

        3. Deleted | | #31

          Deleted

      2. HLCarey | | #29

        Hi Nich,
        Now that you've had your system operating through a winter ... can you give a update? :) Did it heat as well as it cooled? Any issues? I've seen hints at possible condensation on windows being an issue but I think that "may" be from improper installation. I am looking into installing several of these in a new seniors building on Van.Isle. So any pros/cons, raves/issues are helpful. Also, does a budget price of ~$5000 installed sound feasible in 2024?

        1. Deleted | | #32

          Deleted

  13. Robert Opaluch | | #22

    I mentioned these Innova Epoca units twice in the past on GBA, they seem to be very slow about offering units for sale in North America. The old brochure I had showed a variety of models, including the smallest that you could plug into the wall receptacle like a window AC unit. (No electrician or electrical permit for wiring in the wall to the breaker box necessary.) But you have to cut two 6" or 8" holes in an exterior wall to install, so not movable. The smaller units BTU capacity are sized more appropriately for a small room like a bedroom (vs. a mini split head which is oversized), and the aesthetics are WAY better than the typical AC unit blocking the view of a window, or a typical mini split head on the wall. From the old brochure they appear to be used in hotel renovations, rather than targeting retail sales or single family homes.

    1. Nich | | #25

      Yea they are still relatively unknown in North America. Canada does now have distributors in all provinces now and they're starting to be easier to find. I was able to find 3 companies that are doing innova 2.0 12hp model installs in British Columbia Canada now. But as stated the unit costs for install have skyrocketed from what they once were in 2017.

  14. ClimaDesignTech | | #27

    Clima Design Technologies is the supplier of Innova products and based in Port Coquitlam. Details for the Innova products can be requested from [email protected] or [email protected]. or call 604 474 0167.

    Trethewey Avenue Supportive Housing Complex, Okanagan College Student Housing Kelowna, BC Housing projects are some of the projects that we supplied our units.

  15. CDinSF | | #28

    Does anyone know if you use the Ephoca unit with built in ERV if there are issues with the CMC code requirement for the exhaust to be 10 ft. from forced air inlet? Is this not a requirement in other countries?

    1. HLCarey | | #30

      I don't think the in/out for the heatpump count as "exhaust". It's outdoor air that only flows through the unit and there are no products of combustion or washroom or kitchen etc that would compromise the fresh air intake. Also... it's such a tiny amount of fresh air, I'm not really seeing the benefit of the built in ERV. Its not "enough" to meet ventilation requirements for the space. And it's not continuous (reversing to re-charge the core)

      If I'm wrong... please let me know :)

  16. QuickCool | | #33

    Hi everyone. My name is Andrey and I am the owner of Quick Cool Heating and Air Conditioning. We supply and install those machines for Vancouver BC, Canada. You can find some useful information here: https://quickcool.ca/services/air-conditioner-2-0/
    Feel free to send us a message if you have any questions. Thanks.

    1. pnw_guy | | #34

      Andrey, has your company installed enough of these units to have a decent sample size for assessing things like reliance and performance? Are customers generally happy with them? Do you have many callbacks?

      Also, have you ever opened one up to see how well the "condenser" portion is isolated and air-sealed from the evaporation portion? In a wildfire-smoke prone region, like you are in, I imagine you and your customers might be concerned about the two 6" exterior wall holes letting in smoke and noise. Just curious what your experience has been with that.

      1. QuickCool | | #37

        Hello PNW,
        We have installed 50-70 of those units during the years and I can say that it is a decent machine: very slick-looking, quite and powerful (considering the capacity of 8,000BTU it does the job extremely well).
        Yes, it is that kind of an appliance (gadget) which you would fall in love with. In terms of the callbacks, I can't say that we don't have them, but it's manageable.
        "have you ever opened one up to see how well the "condenser" portion is isolated and air-sealed from the evaporation portion?" Many times. Yes, the condenser compartment (the one that has exposure to outside by means of 2x6" holes) is completely sealed and there is no interaction in between indoor and outdoor air whatsoever.
        My personal opinion on the Innova units, I believe that it's the best option currently available on the market.
        Here you can find some pictures of the previous projects: https://www.facebook.com/quickcool.ca

        1. pnw_guy | | #40

          One more question if you are still checking this thread. How good a job do these units do at maintaining a room temperature that is reasonably close to the setpoint? I use SensorPush temperature sensors to monitor room temperatures. If I set the Innova to say, 73 degrees F, would I expect that the room temperature will stay, for example, in the 72-74 degree range? Or will the unit be expected to fluctuate more wildly, say, between 70-76 with a 73 degree setpoint?

          I know it can't be perfect since the unit is sensing the temperature at the unit itself, rather than at some remote point in the room, but being able to maintain a room temperature at least reasonably close to the setpoint is pretty important to me.

          1. QuickCool | | #41

            Hm, we have not ever provided such a test. But I can tell that fluctuation depends on the size of a room: the smaller the area the closer the room temperature to the setpoint value.

  17. jameshowison | | #35

    Is this the unit discussed in the Positive Energy podcast about a PHIUS rated small multi-family building. I'm pretty sure they said "two large core holes in the walls".

    https://positiveenergy.pro/building-science-podcast/2023/8/16/nbch4swd7v9cm1sff0a85ay3qysgep

    I think I also heard about these on a "Fully Charged" episode about heat pump refits of apartments buildings (which, to be fair, was in Canada).

    https://youtu.be/cUgn35ggMiM?si=NAF05Tzt0p7PNC9l&t=2564

  18. pnw_guy | | #36

    I have found a distributor in the PNW that will sell direct to homeowners. Cost for the 115v, non-ERV version is $3999+tax. If anybody wants the info let me know.

    I got sound infiltration information from Ephoca. The OITC of a wall with the unit installed is only about 1 less than the OITC of the same wall without the unit installed (29 vs. 28 in their test). That seems reasonable.

    The only thing stopping me from trying one out is uncertainty about wildfire smoke infiltration. The unit requires two 6" holes in an exterior wall. It will be pretty easy to make sure the 6" holes are sealed up well enough. And theoretically the condenser portion of the unit that receives and exhausts the outdoor air using those 6" holes should be completely air sealed from the evaporator coil section such that none of that outdoor air actually escapes the cabinet of the unit and gets into the house. But theory isn't always the same as practice...

    1. QuickCool | | #38

      USD 3999?

      1. pnw_guy | | #39

        Yep. That's for the unit only (not installation).

  19. LeadEphocaTechnicianUSA | | #42

    Hello, I found this posting and noticed a lot of discussions about Ephoca equipment.
    I am their lead technician here in the USA. Here to answer any questions concerns help with installations recommendations on equipment sales and whatever else.

    Any mini split / VRF systems with outdoor units, lineset, communication wires was first manufactured in the 80s (think Ronald Reagan and Marilyn Monroe era) and are a thing of the past, obsolete and outdated. Don’t waste your money on outdated equipment Don't be left with outdated technology and equipment
    Invest in a Ephoca system today.
    Residential and commercial installations, sales and troubleshooting help.
    Live customer support
    Leading edge technology
    Sold in 36 countries
    Great option for large properties,hotels,home built prior to AC and heating
    We can provide installations
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    Message with any questions
    Experience Comfort

    1. pnw_guy | | #43

      Hello,

      I have a few questions:

      1) My ~200 sq ft bedroom has a heating and cooling load of only about 2000 btu/hr. So the Ephoca would be short-cycling at it's minimum output of about 3000 btu/hr. If I have the Ephoca thermostat set to say, 68 degrees F during heating season, what sort of temperature swings should I expect from the Ephoca? +/- 1 degree of the setpoint, i.e., unit turns on at 67 and off at 69 when setpoint is 68? +/- 2 degrees? Something else?

      One Ephoca employee told me that it was +/- 3 degrees (i.e., with setpoint of 68, unit would turn on at 65 and turn off at 71). Is that correct?

      2) How well air sealed is the evaporator portion from the condenser portion? I live in a wildfire prone area and am concerned about unintended infiltration of outdoor air.

      3) How much noise infiltration do you get into the indoors from the two 6" exterior holes that are required for unit installation?

      Thanks.

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