DALLAS, TX — Mitsubishi Electric, Advanced Products Division, is trying to get the attention of the contractor. Are you listening?

Even though this division was established 16 years ago by parent company Mitsubishi Electric Corp. to market its Mr. Slim® split-ductless heating and air conditioning systems, the Advanced Product Division “reintroduced” its ductless technology at the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating (IAHR) Expo here.

William Rau, vice president and general manager, Advanced Products Division, made no bones about who his division is trying to reach with its new line of vertical-discharge condensing units, which are priced up to 25% lower than current units.

“The ductless technology represents tremendous growth opportunities for the independent hvac contractor who is looking for a way to grow his business in today’s ‘dot.com’ society,” said Rau. “Plus, ductless technology gives specifying engineers the design flexibility to confidently spec a proven and efficient product.”

Translation: Contractors can make money selling this “unique” product — even though the technology has been around for more than 50 years.

Still a secret

Up to 15 million units are sold annually worldwide, but ductless is still something of a secret in North America, which still loves its ductwork. That’s why Mitsubishi “relaunched” the product.

It added 30 new straight-cooling and heat pumps systems to its Mr. Slim line with the new condensing units, which the company said operate at up to 12 SEER. Its new “P” Series models are available in wall-mount, ceiling-suspended, and ceiling-cassette configurations. Btuh capacities range from 18,000 to 42,000.

“Our contractor-partners wanted new products to help them meet applications requiring higher SEERs at competitive prices,” said Rau.

“We have taken aggressive steps to meet our customers’ needs. By building a factory in Thailand to produce the ‘M’ Series residential wall-mounted systems, available in 9,000 to 17,000 Btuh, we reduced costs about 20% compared to 1993.

“Additionally, we designed a condensing unit that brings the cost of our larger Btuh systems for commercial use in line with the residential series.”

Translation for contractors: Try it. You, and your customers, will like it. With its efficiency and quieter performance, Mitsubishi said ductless technology could be offered as a preferred alternative to window units, ptac systems, and conventional ductwork add-ons.

Typical applications include schools and universities, nursing homes, basements, sunrooms, hotels and motels, restaurants and bars, and “virtually anywhere a window unit is used,” said Rau.

Attention, contractors

Mitsubishi is definitely trying to attract more contractor customers via its creative print ad campaign. Pictured in its new ad is a graveyard. Worded on the tombstone, located in the forefront, is the statement: “Ductless as you knew it.”

As stated in the ad, Mitsubishi believes with its more affordable product, “Specifying ductless installations could be how you turn cost-prohibitive projects into a source of growth for your business.”

“We want to work with the contractor,” said Rau. “We believe once they see the product, they can sell it.”

Because only 3% of consumers in the United States are aware of ductless technology, Mitsubishi knew it had to do something, even though it says it holds a 45% share of the North American ductless air conditioning and heat pump market. In order to reach the public, it is first trying to get the attention of the contractor.

To help the contractor gain more knowledge regarding split-ductless, it offers training and inside support.

In the eyes of Mitsubishi, installation is fast and easy; only a small opening is required in the wall or ceiling to run the refrigerant piping. The system is comprised of two units: a slim-line, or traditional-style, outdoor condenser and a sleek indoor air handler.

The condenser supplies coolant to the air handler through refrigerant lines. In general, they are designed to fit into spaces that could not otherwise have been efficiently cooled or heated.

Unique features include the wired and wireless remote options.

“Facility managers can link up to 50 units into a single remote that can set individual zone temperatures and even indicate which specific unit needs service,” said Rau.

According to Rau, Mr. Slim systems also offer remote or wired control for 24-hr time settings, self-diagnostics, temperature adjustments, fan speeds, and vane and louver controls.

“In comparison to most ducted air conditioning add-on projects, Mr. Slim is a cost-efficient option for small to large residential and commercial applications,” said Rau. “With extremely quiet, efficient operation, consumers have access to the widest range of split-type ductless products — more than 70 systems.”

Are you listening, contractors?