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What became of the 18,000 BTU, 25.3 SEER, HSPF 13.4 Fujitsu mini-splits?

Jeff Cooper | Posted in Mechanicals on

Roughly five years ago, Fujistu was making a 15RLS3 1.5 Ton Single Zone Ductless Mini Split System with the following specs:

    Heating BTU: 18,000 BTU 
    1.5 Ton
    25.3 SEER 
    Cooling EER: 13.9
    HSPF: 13.4
    1.5 Ton Cooling Capacity 
It had low ambient heating and sold for just over $1700 shipped.

Now, the highest-performing 18,000 BTU single-zone Fujitsu ductless I can find on their site or any retail sites has the following specs:

SEER 20.0
EER 13.3
HSPF 10.4

Where I live, in central AZ, we have 3214 heating-degree days and 1801 cooling-degree days, so the decrease in HSPF from 13.4 to 10.4 seems particularly unfortunate.

Normally technology like this improves over time.  Has the way the SEER and HSPF are tested changed since five years ago, or if not, what accounts for the apparent drop in performance?

Does Fujistu still make the best ductless mini-splits, as the large majority of comments in the forums here seem to indicate, or has someone overtaken them?  The GE AS18URD, for example, looks better in terms of its SEER 23 and HSPF 12, but I understand there’s a lot more to consider than these two specs, and a couple of posts here a year + ago indicated GE units perform badly at low temperatures.

FWIW, I’ll be installing the system myself or getting help just on the tasks that require special equipment like a vacuum pump.

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  1. Jonny_H | | #1

    In the Fujitsu catalog here: on page 21 I see:

    Rated 18k BTU/h heating (and rated 124% at -5F and 109% of that at -15F)
    25.3 SEER
    13.9 EER
    13.3 HSPF

    About $2160 on the internets

    The key, and maybe why you missed it, is that it isn't sold as an 18k BTU/h unit -- it's sold as a 15k unit, just the heating performance is better than cooling performance.

    EDIT: And when I say "available", I mean "I hope you're able to wait a few months because Fujitsu is having supply chain issues and is out of stock on a bunch of stuff"

  2. Jeff Cooper | | #2

    Thank you very much, Jonny, for taking the time to answer what probably seemed like an incredibly stupid question. The "1.5 Ton Cooling Capacity" I copied from its specs five years ago is what threw me off, pretty much as you expected. I finally found the spec sheet I saved five years ago, which shows 15K BTU cooling, just like the one you cited. The higher cooling capacity I copied was from a retailer who had it wrong.

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