With so many heating and cooling options for your home to choose from, how do you know what to look for? One thing that will always prevail is shopping for well-trusted name brands. Brands like Pioneer have been around long enough to establish trust, reliability, and peace of mind.
In this article we provide you with Pioneer mini split reviews and comparisons so you can get the assistance you need to make an informed decision. Read on, because by the end of this article you will know which Pioneer mini split system is best for your needs and where to go to make your purchase.
Why Choose Pioneer?
Pioneer, and parent company Parker Davis, has produced high-quality HVAC equipment for over two decades. What started as a sole manufacturing plant in the United States has grown to a worldwide corporation with headquarters and distribution centers across the globe.
If you want a name brand that stands behind their work, their products, and their employees, you have found it. Recently, Pioneer works to produce durable, reliable home climate control systems and mini-split ACs that exceed SEER and testing conditions.
If your mini split says Pioneer on the front, you know you have a quality system that reduces your energy consumption, saving you money and frustration.
5 Considerations for Buying a Pioneer Mini Split System
Before you head out and buy any old mini split system, there are several things to consider. Let’s take a look at those considerations now.
Pioneer has been producing mini split AC systems for almost 30 years now. With that kind of time under their belt, they have no doubt learned a thing or two. The reliability of their machines is noted all over the reviews, accommodations, and installations.
Even when things do go wrong, the company is right there to offer assistance, send you a replacement part, or do whatever else it takes to get your comfort zone back to normal. If you want reliable, Pioneer is among the best.
Heating and Cooling Capabilities
When you are buying a mini split system, you need to get the right size for your space. If you buy a system that is too small, it will continuously run, raising your power bills and never lowering your air temperature.
Likewise, buying a unit that is too large will put a strain on the power draw and actually cost you more to operate even though it runs for shorter periods. The square footage of your space determines the right size BTU system. Pioneer has several different BTU capacities and will cool or heat a wide variety of spaces, regardless of their size.
The cost to operate a mini split system comes down to how long it runs, the watts it draws to cool or heat, and how much you pay per kilowatt-hour. The national average is 12 cents per kWh.
Pioneer has high SEER units that have lower power draws, on average, than a lot of other companies. With a Pioneer mini split AC installed in your home, your cost could be as low as $1 per day to run your air conditioner for 8 hours.
Compare that to the $20+ per day for a conventional central AC (13 SEER, 2-ton unit), and you can see how quickly your annual savings will add up.
Repair Parts, Costs & Warranty
Not only is Pioneer a reliable company, but they genuinely want to help you out. If you ever experience a problem with your mini split system, you can call them 24 hours a day. Their headquarters are always staffed and ready to answer your questions.
If you need a part and your system is in warranty, they will ship it out the next day. If you are out of warranty, they will offer you the chance to purchase directly from them and ship it out as soon as it is processed.
Their warranties are average for the industry, with 1-year parts and 5-year compressor coverage on most models. You shouldn’t accept anything less than this.
Value for Money
Their systems are priced competitively for the market and demand. You will find that the larger the system or, the more cooling zones you require, the price goes up in steady increments. Unlike some companies that will have a low cost on their smaller system only to triple the amount (or more) for their popular models, Pioneer is equal across the board.
Pioneer Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner Review
The Pioneer wall mounted mini split systems come in a wide variety of BTU classes, ratings, and SEER values. Depending on your specific needs, you will easily find a model that suits you.
With BTUs ranging from 9000 to 36000, you can cool a small bedroom or a large garage. Investing in a multi-zone system means you can cool (or heat) multiple spaces at the same time. However, Pioneer’s biggest feature is its automatic operation. Everything from timers to settings and even wireless programming are remembered, switched, and controlled through the onboard computer system.
Whether you are looking to maintain the perfect sleeping climate with a sleep timer, or you want to program a day of various temperatures to match the unpredictable weather, Pioneer has what you need. That’s not all they are good at, though.
Energy Efficiency/SEER Rating
Across the board, Pioneer averages a 17.5 SEER rating. Their smaller systems fall to 16 SEER, which is still efficient but getting close to the low-end of what is expected. Their larger models, though, can push 19 SEER, which is an above-average rating for efficiency and economy in a mini split system.
With an average of 17.5 SEER, you can expect to pay less than one dollar per day to operate the system, which means an average of 600% savings (6 times the average) compared to a traditional 2-ton Central AC unit.
All of the Pioneer compressors are rotary compressors and run on inverter technology. However, there are two types of inverters used by the company. Inverter+ was the first stage model that lowered power consumption over a standard inverter compressor.
The latest models use inverter++, which further reduces power consumption while maintaining output and performance over the life of the compressor. Either model will help to reduce your energy consumption, though the inverter++ models are a bit more cost-effective.
Condenser Fan Options
The Pioneer lines all use Welling fans that run on an incredible 20-watt output (58w for 30,000 and 36,000 BTU models). Not only do Welling fans produce virtually no noise, but they are also efficient with airflow, moving up to 300 CFM.
The larger models like the 36,000 BTU range will produce an incredible 853 CFM while maintaining a nominal 54 dB noise level.
Pioneer has one of the most efficient heating systems in the industry. With an HSPF rating between 9 and 9.8, the heaters will be as efficient as they are fast. You won’t ever wait for hot air to blow through the air handler. As soon as the heat pump is turned on, hot air is flowing through the vents.
In most cases (except when the ambient temperature is below 14 degrees (F) ), you can have the system off and still get heat the second that air starts moving. While instant heat isn’t a Pioneer exclusive, they do make the most of the technology, and it is standard in all of their systems.
Pioneer is about middle of the road when it comes to noise levels. They aren’t whisper-quiet compared to brands like Mitsubishi, but they aren’t loud, either. In most cases, the interior unit will produce less noise than you do talking to yourself in an empty and quiet room. The average decibel rating for the WYS line is 45dBA.
Compared to Mitsubishi, who averages under 30 dB, it is a big difference. However, when you are having a conversation, watching TV, or talking across the room, you won’t notice the system is on or running.
DIY installation is possible. However, this will void the warranty. It is always recommended that you have a professional HVAC technician perform the installation. Depending on where you live, installation costs can be as low as a couple of hundred dollars.
The industry average, though, for a single zone system is about $500 installed. Compare that to the warranty conditions, and it is a smart move to pay for a professional install of your new mini-split system.
Price & Warranty
The pricing for the Pioneer WYS line is slightly lower than the industry average. With prices as low as $700, you can easily budget for the mini split upgrade. There are a few brands that offer mini slit systems for less, though you will find that those cost savings are added elsewhere, such as your monthly energy bill.
Pioneer also has the industry-standard warranty period. For the 1-year the entire system is covered, including parts (and in some areas labor). Following the first 12-months is an additional 4-year warranty that covers the sealed components and compressor.
Should anything go wrong during this time, a simple phone call to Parker Davis is all that is needed to get you back on track to a cool and comfortable home.
How Does a Pioneer Mini Split Work?
In essence, a mini split AC is just like a central air conditioner you find in many residential homes.
There is a condenser unit installed outdoors that houses the heat pump and compressor.
Refrigerant is run through copper lines to the interior unit, which has the vents, louvers, and controls built-in.
Unlike a central AC system, most mini split ACs are ductless.
Instead of having a lot of ductwork running through your floors, ceilings, or attic space, a mini split doesn’t use them.
Instead, all of the air is cooled at the interior air handler and pushed directly into the room.
When in heat mode, the heat pump will run backward, pulling the cold air out of your home, leaving warm air to circulate.
Pros & Cons of Pioneer Air Conditioners
As with any company, system, or product, there are advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most prominent pros and cons of the Pioneer mini split AC systems.
- While DIY is not recommended for warranty reasons, the Pioneer systems are easy for anyone with working refrigerant line knowledge to install.
- BTU measurements may be a little low, which is a good thing. The smaller BTU systems cool just as efficiently as the larger ones, which can save you money on medium-sized spaces where you are between sizes.
- Customer service is outstanding, going above and beyond to make sure your investment is worthwhile and enjoyable.
- Instant heat and cold (depending on the setting) from the moment the system turns on. You won’t have to wait to get warm air in the winter like you do with a conventional Central AC.
- Replacement parts and warranty services are expedited due to the number of distribution centers owned by the company. If you need a part, you won’t have to wait long for it to arrive.
- Interior fans can become caked in debris and dust build-up. These parts are near impossible to get clean, and the build-up may result in fan noise, raising the dB of the unit.
- In some reports and installations, the drain line ends can come loose. When installing double check that the drain lines are secure and flush so, they don’t leak.
- Extension line kits don’t come with multi-zone systems and must be purchased separately.
- With SEER ratings between 16 and 20, they are efficient machines, but not the most efficient in their class.
Pioneer Vs. Other AC Brands
Pioneer has been at the climate control game for a while, and they have some stiff competition. While they are more reliable and durable than brands like Mr. Cool and Gree, others give Pioneer a run for their money.
Pioneer has excellent customer service, and that alone will go a long way for a lot of buyers. However, compared to Mitsubishi, they are simply outclassed. In a surprising turn of events, the relative new-comer to the game, Senville, is Pioneer’s biggest worry at the moment.
Senville is a US-based startup that has produced incredible mini split systems since 2005. They have a better SEER average than Pioneer and, as a smaller company, still manage to compete on the customer service level with Pioneer.
Pioneer does have the experience and the name behind them, though, and for now, still outsell the smaller company. How both handle the events in the next few years, though, will be a big sign of things to come for both brands.
Ducted Vs. Ductless Mini Splits
Ductless mini split ACs have been the gold standard for efficiency and energy conservation since their release. However, ducted mini split systems are gaining in popularity. Especially with the elimination of R-22 refrigerant, homeowners are looking for newer, more economical solutions.
The Ducted mini split is a hybrid of a mini split system and a central AC. They offer an average of up to 19 SEER for energy efficiency, and can easily replace the central AC found in most homes. Installers can place a ducted split system into the existing ductwork of the home, saving time and money for the homeowner.
While they aren’t as efficient as a ductless mini-split system, they do offer a huge advantage over a central heating and air system and better aesthetics over a ductless mini split.
If you are looking to replace a central AC system, a ducted mini split will increase your energy efficiency and cost less to install using your current ductwork. If this is a new install or you don’t have ductwork already in place, a ductless system will end up costing you less and saving you more in the long run.
How to Install a Pioneer Mini Split AC
If you browse the Pioneer mini split service manual, you will find that DIY installation is quite possible. While we can’t recommend it due to the effort and time it takes, homeowners are foregoing their warranties to save money on installation costs.
Before you perform a Pioneer mini split installation, you will need to have the right tools and equipment. This will be everything from general contractor tools to HVAC technician specialty tools. You also need to keep in mind that if you require refrigerant, you must hold an EPA license to purchase, fill or recover from an HVAC system.
Installation steps can be found in the owner’s manual, which are written as a guide for your HVAC tech. The first step is to mount and secure the interior unit. This will be mounted directly on the wall in the room you choose to heat and cool. Drain lines and refrigerant lines will run through the wall to the exterior of your home, so cutting drywall, brick, or wall studs is needed.
The mini split systems come charged with refrigerant already. Once everything is connected and secure (including drain lines and shutoff valves, you can open the lines, and the refrigerant will flow from the air handler to the heat pump and compressor. After everything is tested for leaks, you can turn the system on and begin exploring your new air conditioner and set up.
You may also choose to purchase the Pioneer mini split remote; instructions are included. The remote or even mobile app controls are a part of a kit that comes with certain models. If your model doesn’t include the kit, you can purchase them separately as needed.
Troubleshooting Guide: Understanding Pioneer Error Codes
As with anything electrical or mechanical, things will go wrong eventually. Pioneer mini split systems are no exception. With refrigerant, piping, electricity, and moving parts, something will wear out, go bad or break.
One of the most common issues is the Pioneer mini split not cooling. There are several potential causes for this issue, and most are easily fixed. First, you need to make sure the system is on. While this sounds obvious, the settings and timers can shut the system off when you think it is on.
Next, you will want to check the fan speed and mode settings to make sure they are set to cool and are on a high enough speed to push the air. If they are, you can then move on to troubleshooting. Cleaning or replacing the filter is the most likely cause of a Pioneer mini split not cooling. The other most common reason is that the system is low on refrigerant, which can also point to a leak in the refrigerant lines.
There are other common issues as well, such as mist, steam, water vapor, and the system freezing up. Most of these issues, though, are self-healing, caused by ambient temperature changes, or the system going through a defrost mode. All of which will be fixed as the system cycles.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What is multi zone cooling?
Multi zone cooling is when a mini split system uses an air handler in more than one room. The systems all connect to the same heat pump/compressor, but run separately from there. Each unit can be linked to control the entire home climate or run individually based on needs or room occupancy.
Can I access my Pioneer mini split manual online?
Yes, through the Pioneer parent company site (Parker Davis), you can download manuals, tech sheets, brochures, and diagnostics manuals. All of these can be found on their product manuals page.
How can I contact Pioneer mini split tech support for problems relating to my AC?
The best option of contacting Parker Davis/Pioneer is to call their toll free support number at 1-(800)-675-7410. For other inquiries, questions, or concerns, you can also fill out the contact information sheet to have them contact you via phone or email. This form can be found on the Parker Davis contact page.
How much will it cost to have an HVAC contractor install a Pioneer mini split AC?
According to Home Advisor, ductless mini split systems will average about $3350 to install. This cost will fluctuate depending on the type of install, extra materials needed, your region or location, and how many zones are being installed. The national average spans between $1500 and $8000. Note that these prices include the price of the system. Average labor only costs are about $500.
Where do I find the best HVAC contractor in my area?
You can go through a service provider service such as Angie’s List for locating a reliable and trustworthy contractor. These services are free to use and come with resources, background checks, and customer reviews to help you find the best match.
Where can I buy Pioneer mini split parts and units?
The best place to find Pioneer mini split systems, parts, and units is through Amazon. You can purchase directly through Parker Davis; however, they don’t offer any discounts on systems. They also stop carrying models to keep track of the latest versions. For the best savings, in-stock options, and the most service parts, Amazon will have what you are looking for.
Pioneer mini split air conditioner and heat pump systems are designed for almost everyone. There is a model that will fit your budget and room size, regardless of your needs. For anyone looking for a simple to install system that offers good efficiency and low power draw, the Pioneer systems are for you.
If you find it hard to decide which model to choose, we recommend saving money, time, and frustrations by going with the Pioneer WYS012-17. It will support a room size up to 500 square feet with a 19.5 SEER rating and 12,000 BTUs of cooling power.