Robb Home

Robb Home

"Michelle has a lot more control now over the temperature in different areas of her house. There are multiple controllers on the main floor, for example; she used to have just one."

Project Location: Sandy Springs, Georgia
Completion Date: October 2015

CHALLENGE
Achieving comfortable, affordable zoning in a home where some rooms are used much more frequently than others

SOLUTION
A Diamond Comfort System® from Mitsubishi Electric

RESULT
Comfort for everyone in the home, a high level of zoning and flexible control

Michelle Robb was faced with high utility bills and minimal thermal comfort in her Sandy Springs, Georgia, home. Like all homeowners, she wanted her family to feel comfortable throughout the year but not pay dearly for it. Unlike all homeowners, though, her position as Director of Product Planning for Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US meant she was already familiar with the technology that could solve her problems: a Diamond Comfort System® from Mitsubishi Electric.

Built in 1993, Robb’s 3,300-square-foot home had two cooling and heating systems. “Downstairs, I had a 20-year-old forced-air heating system and a 3-ton cooling with central air-handling unit. Upstairs, I had an additional 10-year-old forced-air furnace. My utility bills were very costly. They ran $500 a month in the summer, and the comfort level was miserable – freezing downstairs and 83 degrees upstairs. And the sound of these systems starting up was very loud and clunky.” This was what HVAC contractor Dewey Neese, owner, Neese- Jones Heating and Air Conditioning, Alpharetta, Georgia, called “a typical home and a typical experience.”

When Robb and Neese thought about what the project’s heating and cooling needs were, zoning topped the list. Robb said, “There are two of us in the home: my 84-year-old mom and me. I’m not home much, so we were conditioning an entire home when only one person was there during the day. I think about something like the living room / dining room – we use it maybe four times a year for family gatherings or dinner parties, but otherwise don’t need to condition it. So zoning was the way to go.”

Robb also knew she wanted to replace the old ductwork. “First, the age. Second, it was nasty dirty, and I have allergies. Third, the installation was not optimal; it leaked! I really needed good airflow, which was the primary reason my home was uncomfortable. I looked at going back to a traditional gas heat system because it would have been less expensive, but that would not have addressed all my issues. I knew that if I was going to replace the ductwork and add a zone damper system, I should look at a true zoning system.”

For both Robb and Neese, Mitsubishi Electric’s Diamond Comfort System came to mind. This whole-home solution is comprised of indoor units connected to a Hyper-Heating INVERTER® (H2i®) multi-zone outdoor unit. Neese said, “With Mitsubishi Electric’s INVERTER technology, you can do a lot of things with zoning that you can’t do with conventional systems. And hyper- heat provides heat at much lower outside temperatures than conventional systems.” He believes so much in Mitsubishi Electric’s technology that he has it in his own home, and has worked with it professionally for over 15 years. “Mitsubishi Electric has been a very reliable product for us and our customers love it. We rarely have service issues and if we do, the product has a great warranty.”

For Robb, the Diamond Comfort System came to mind because of her first-hand involvement with the system at work. But in our own homes, we look beyond what we’re familiar with and seek out what we truly want and feel will solve the problem. In this case, the two overlapped. Robb said, “I like. Mitsubishi Electric’s stability in the market. They’ve been here the longest at more than 30 years. They have good customer service, good training for contractors and – especially important – they offered a wide range of products that fit my home. A multi-position unit would work when nothing else would. Most of the time, we live in the den/kitchen area. There wasn’t a wall location that lent itself to a wall-mounted unit. And I’d done major renovations to the ceiling, so no space could accommodate a lay-in. Multi-position was it!”

Finding products that fit was also about having a variety of controls options. Robb liked that the indoor units could be operated via different interfaces. For her own spaces, she wanted the contemporary feel of using a cell phone app. She said, “I didn’t want anything on the walls – aesthetically – so Mitsubishi Electric’s kumo cloud™ [programmable controller] app was great. But my mom needed to control her area not through an app. Obviously I want my mom to be comfortable, which meant giving her her own controls. So she now has her own zone with her own wall-mounted controller.”

In the time since an installation that Robb described as “phenomenal, with no disruption,” Robb and her mother have been enjoying the five new zones they’d so badly needed. “We’re definitely setting different temperatures. No one is upstairs now, for example, so it’s offset by four or five degrees. But when I get home, I know I’ll get really nice, warm air coming out of the system when I want it.”

Robb also likes the discreetness of the system. “It’s very quiet; you don’t hear anything. I’m in a small neighborhood – 10 homes. My neighbor is on his patio a lot and says he doesn’t hear my system now. But the previous one sounded like a freight train!”

All this for money saved. Robb said, “I’m getting a $1,300 rebate from my utility company for changing from gas to a heat pump. And $100 each for the wall controllers.” Neese expects Robb to see a significant utility bill reduction, as well: “Based on going from her old system to this new one, Michelle can expect to see a 40 to 50 percent reduction in her cooling and heating bill. That’s not bad!”

Project Team

  • HVAC Contractor: Neese-Jones Heating and Air Conditioning, Alpharetta, Georgia

Mitsubishi Electric Equipment Installed

  • (2) MXZ M-Series Outdoor Units
  • (4) MVZ Multi-position Ducted Indoor Units
  • (1) SEZ Horizontal-ducted Indoor Unit