The MrCool Universal heat pumps should be considered if you want to DIY a standard split system. 2 ton to 5 ton complete systems are available for $4,400 to $6,100. Efficiency range is 18 to 20 SEER, average to high for standard heat pump split systems.
If you hire a HVAC professional to install your system, expect to pay another $1,200 to $2,000 for labor, less than the cost to install a standard split system heat pump that requires that the lines are charged.
Is this really a DIY system?
MrCool does not say it is a do it yourself heat pump system. And the literature and videos show pros installing them.
But they have refrigerant lines that:
- Come fully charged
- Do not need vacuuming
- Do not require a pressure gauge
- Simply need to be connected using no special tools
Does that sound like a DIY heat pump to you? It does to us.
However, again, you might wish to have a pro install yours. The pre-charged lines reduce installation time and cost by about 25% to 33%.
What is the MrCool Universal System?
This is a split system heat pump. The condensing unit is installed outside, and the air handler with its coil is installed indoors.
Precharged refrigerant lines connect the units, and the compressor in the condensing unit cycles the refrigerant around – moving heat from indoors to outside when air conditioning and the opposite when in heating mode.
The air handler connects to the supply and return ductwork in your home. Its blower fan pulls untreated air into the system and pushes treated – air, which is heated or cooled – through the ducts to the rooms and zones of your house.
Note: You’ll often see the brand spelled Mr Cool, but the correct name is one word, MrCool.
MrCool Universal Heat Pump Sizes and Specifications
Here is an overview of what your equipment options are.
Condensing Units – the Outdoor Unit
There are 2 MrCool Universal heat pump condensing units:
MDUO18024/36 is a 2 ton or 3 ton condensing unit, or 24,000 BTU / 36,000 BTU
MDUO18048/060 is a 4 ton or 5 ton condensing unit, or 48,000 or 60,000 BTU
The units come ready to provide the higher capacity, 36,000 BTU for the 2-3 ton unit and 60,000 BTU for the 4-5 ton unit. The installer, whether you or a technician, simply needs to flip a dip switch if you need the lower capacity.
Why bother? Because you don’t want an oversized system. It will run inefficiently and won’t dehumidify well in summer. Plus, it will cycle up and down more, putting stress on the equipment and shortening longevity. Bad idea.
Air Handlers – the Indoor Unit
There are two air handlers, a 2-3 ton unit and a 4-5 ton model that can be set up to be compatible with the right condensing unit for your home’s needs.
Upflow/Horizontal and Downflow air handlers are available for your installation requirements.
Gas furnace optional: MrCool makes a compatible gas furnace for homeowners who want the reliability of gas heat in the coldest stretches of winter.
The linesets are “100% accurately precharged” with R410A refrigerant, the standard refrigerant for split systems.
Lineset lengths are 15’, 25’, 35’ and 50’.
These are kink-resistant, “Quick Connect” lines that do not need to be vacuumed at installation. MrCool claims that the precharged, “No-Vac ®” lines save 7 installation steps. We’re not sure how they came up with that number, but it’s certainly true that the lineset will cut installation time significantly.
Installation tip: If standard lines are not long enough, you or your installer can use the MrCool coupler with any line lengths to give you the additional line you need. For example, if you need a 70’ run, you can combine a 50’ and 25’, only needing to coil 5’ of it.
Today’s variable capacity (explained below) heat pumps range in SEER from 18 to 26. HSPF ranges from 9.5 to 13, with an average or 10 HSPF.
These units offer SEER ratings of 18 to 20. SEER and EER are for cooling; HSPF is for heating efficiency.
- MDUO18024 – Up to 20 SEER, 12.5 EER and 10.5 HSPF.
- MDUO18036 – Up to 20 SEER, 12.5 EER and 10.5 HSPF
- MDUO18048 – Up to 18 SEER, 11 EER and 10 HSPF
- MDUO180260 – Up to 18 SEER, 11 EER and 10.5 HSPF
These are Energy Star certified heat pumps.
Here are key features to compare with other brands you might be considering.
This really is what sets MrCool Universal heat pumps apart from Trane, Carrier, Goodman, Lennox, etc.
No other brand currently makes a split heat pump system you can install yourself.
Heating and Cooling Ranges
The heat pumps have the capacity to provide 100% heating down to -5F for the 2/3-ton model and 14F for the 4/5-ton model.
You’ll get 100% cooling capacity up to 115F outside if you need the 2-3 ton version. The larger 4-5 ton model will give you 100% cooling capacity to 109F.
If, for some reason, you want to cool a zone in winter – like a commercial setting or computer room – the units can provide AC when outdoor temperature is as low as 5F.
An inverter compressor is common in ductless mini split systems. MrCool is one of the first brands to use this technology in a standard split system.
These compressors are unique in that they run at varying speeds, not in distinct stages. MrCool says they, “moderate operating loads,” another way of saying it.
Capacity is anywhere from about 40% to 100%. The compressor will run at the lowest possible capacity required to keep your home as cool or warm as your thermostat setting. The benefits are higher efficiency, better indoor climate control and quieter operation.
Install Anywhere for Upflow, Downflow or Horizontal
Like any standard split system, air handler and MrCool furnaces come in configuration options to fit your current or planned ductless design.
If your home relies more on air conditioning than heat, an attic installation and downflow or horizontal airflow air handler makes sense, since cool air sinks, and warm air rises.
The opposite physics are true if your home needs more heating than AC. Installation of the air handler or furnace in the basement, crawlspace or first floor is ideal.
This chart shows your configuration options and the MrCool Universal heat pump cost for it. These are equipment prices. Installation cost is $1,200 to $2,000 or possibly up to $2,600 depending on what components you choose for your system.
Prices vary a little by seller, so shop around for your best price.
|Condensing Unit and Air Handler|
|2-3 Ton||$3,300 – $3,900|
|4-5 Ton||$4,100 – $4,500|
|Condensing Unit and Furnace|
|2-3 Ton||$4,000 – $4,550|
|4-5 Ton||$4,650 – $5,400|
|Indoor Evaporator Coil|
|2-3 Ton||$850 – $935|
|4-5 Ton||$1,025 – $1,100|
|Linesets||$290 – $425|
|Condensing Unit Only|
|2-3 Ton||$2,000 – $2,400|
|4-5 Ton||$2,300 – $2,600|
|Electric Heat Kit for Air Handler|
|5kW – 15kW||$140 – $275|
Pros and Cons
There are advantages and a few disadvantages to a MrCool Universal heat pump system.
- Good quality
- Average to high efficiency for a variable capacity system
- 10-year warranty is average for the industry
- Potential DIY
- Good customer support from MrCool
- Potential DIY errors, loss of refrigerant
- MrCool Universal heat pumps have only been available for a few years, so they don’t have the track record of quality split systems from top brands
What is the warranty?
10 years on all parts.
Can the condensing unit be installed with other brand air handlers and furnaces?
Yes. As the name implies, the MrCool Universal condensing units can be installed with most other air handler or furnace brands. So, if your outdoor unit fails, but the indoor unit is newer and in good condition, you can simply buy a MrCool condensing unit.
How noisy are they?
The noise level range is 55 decibels to 58 decibels. While not the quietest variable capacity heat pumps available, they are much quieter than the single stage and two stage split system which have a noise level ranging from 65 to 76.
Can I use my current thermostat?
Probably. MrCool says its units are compatible with “any” third party thermostats.
Is it really DIY?
MrCool doesn’t say a definite “yes,” but some of the sellers do. And the lines are quick-connect, meaning that when you open the valve with an Allen wrench and connect the line, the refrigerant starts flowing. No vacuum needed. These are hallmarks of a DIY system, but again, pros can do it too.