Fujitsu General America’s high-efficiency mini-splits
During this edition of CareyBrosPros, you’ll find out:
- How room by room heating and cooling has improved
- Why zoned heating and cooling is better for your pocketbook and your family
- How Fujitsu’s units are more than double the federal mandate of efficiency
Guest: Dennis Stinson – Fujitsu General America
3 Points for Success – from Dennis Stinson
- Make a good product
- Train your team really well
- Partner with outstanding distribution partners
Magic Mike [00:00:01] Welcome to CareyBrosPros, the podcast for construction pros by construction pros, so you’ll get the job done right the first time. Now here are James and Morris Carey.
James [00:00:16] Hi, it’s James Carey. It is great to have you with us on another edition of CareyBrosPros.
Morris [00:00:23] And I’m Morris. Yes, we are professional contractors and James and I are brothers.
Morris [00:00:30] And now that we’re all spending more time indoors due to covid-19, you know, working from home and distance learning, homeowners are thinking a lot about upgrading the outdated energy eating heating systems. Right, James?
James [00:00:45] Oh, boy.
Morris [00:00:46] That’s good news today because we’re talking about a company that has great products for making a full house energy efficient.
James [00:00:55] And that’s why we’ve invited an old friend, Dennis Stinson. He is with Fujitsu General America. He’s vice president of sales. Dennis, welcome to CareyBrosPros.
Dennis [00:01:08] Well, it’s always a pleasure to be back with my friends. Thank you for having us on board. And what a great topic to talk about. Very topical with everybody being home and being cooped up and thinking a lot about their comfort system. So thanks for thinking of us inviting us on the show.
James [00:01:22] Well, you know, I think there are a lot of things going on, Dennis, with regard to covid and being at home. I think that, first of all, people are finding that they can work well at home and that it makes good sense and improves efficiency.
Morris [00:01:36] You know, and working at home makes you sensitive to all of the machines that control the comfort in that space.
James [00:01:45] And I think that there’s an increased need for comfort, because if you’ve added computers or other peripherals and electronics, they can create a lot of heat where you need to cool down, or in some cases, you may be in a cold part of the country and used to having an office that’s heated in a large commercial building where your feet get kind of cold at home.
Morris [00:02:11] I need an air conditioner in my office and a heater in the rest of the house.
Dennis [00:02:15] That’s right.
James [00:02:16] So, Dennis,.
Dennis [00:02:17] Absolutely.
James [00:02:18] I know that Fujitsu General America has lots of solutions that can address these. And we’d like for you to take some time today to share some of these solutions with our pro audience.
Dennis [00:02:33] Well, thank you. Thanks for that opportunity. And I think you’re exactly right on. What’s happening in the marketplace is that people are spending more time at home and maybe repurposing some space in their home for a home office or for a workspace or for a study area for the kids to be able to do it. And maybe the home wasn’t originally laid out to do that. Or now that they’re spending more time in it, it’s not necessarily as comfortable as they want to be. And you’ve both tapped on to an important thing that there are times when there are different needs and temperature in one space or another. And with the Fujitsu product, we really are zone heating right out of the box so that if we have a need for some cooling down stairs or a different temperature downstairs, it can be set differently by the individual room or the individual space. And we don’t get all those thermostat wars that you might have happen from time to time.
James [00:03:26] So are we talking about specifically ductless mini split?
Dennis [00:03:33] Yeah. So interestingly enough, we call ourselves Douglas, but we’re not necessarily truly Douglas. So today we offer a variety of different type of products to distribute the heating and cooling into a home. Of course, we start with an outdoor unit and that’s a condensing unit and that’s where the compressor is. And that’s piped individually to indoor units. The most popular is the high wall mounted unit. But we also have a ceiling set. It’s a two by two grid. We also have floor consoles that would remind you that some degrees of a size and shape of a radiator that we use on the East Coast. And then we also have ducted units. So we have a variety of different ducted units, both in size and capacity. So if we need to pick up a couple of rooms where maybe it’s not practical to hang a wall mount in a master bathroom and in a walk in closet, maybe we use a ducted room and unit and pick up both of those smaller spaces and put them on the same thermostat. So, yeah, we call ourselves ductless, but we’re really a variety of different products today.
James [00:04:35] Dennis, you mentioned ducted. If you do opt for a ducted system, are the ducts smaller than average? Yeah. So one would find with a traditional Forestier unit as an example.
Dennis [00:04:48] Yeah, great question. So we typically think of a ducted system also commonly referred to as central system. So a central heating and air conditioning system and everything has its place. The world, but when we look at a central system, we typically look at ductwork running from the second floor down through a wall, down into a basement. So we have a single system doing the entire home controlled by a single thermostat. And that’s fine, except that you may want to have different comfort in each room and you do lose some efficiency through the duct work, which more have a conversation about that. So what happens is with our units as we put them at the point of view. So whether it’s a warm out unit or a ceiling, a set or a floor console or even a ducted unit, typically a ducted units are going to have very short ductwork or very short supply to a very short return to it. So we’re really in the area of distribution and not running trackwork down to the basement, preserving efficiency and then also giving us that zoning capability so we can have different temperatures in different rooms.
James [00:05:50] Well, I have to come clean because Brother Morris designed recently a master suite addition to an existing residence that already has a master suite. But there are some health issues. And so the addition is accessible and they’re preparing for down the road so that the existing master suite could be used for either a relative or a caregiver. And one of the things that they wanted was complete independence in that master suite with both heating and cooling. And so, yes, we installed one of your ducted mini split’s and the report from the homeowner six months after the project’s completion, where they have had the opportunity to use both heating and cooling, is that they made the right decision. They liked the independence and they liked the idea of not having to heat and cool the balance of their entire home when they now spend the majority of their time in their master suite.
Dennis [00:07:01] Yeah, that’s a great benefit. And we see that time and time again that when we own a house, not only do we get different temperatures in a room and an example would be, is that, you know, if I like to sleep at 68 and one of my kids like to sleep at 62, somebody doesn’t have a blanket or somebody is not sweating. We just set the thermostat at different temperatures and everybody gets their ideal temperature, if you will. The other side of it is, is exactly what you’re talking about, that why heat and cool an entire house when you’re really using much smaller than that space. So, you know, if you’re downstairs watching TV at nighttime and then go up to the master bedroom and the kids are off to school or whatever it may be, there’s no need to keep the entire house at the same temperature. This way you can adjust it. You know, fellas, if you don’t mind talking a little bit about the efficiency side of it, I mean, our equipment is extremely high, efficient. We can run as high as thirty three SEER
James [00:07:56] Holy smokes. I didn’t even know three SEER. I remember I remember when we were twelve SEER.
Dennis [00:08:06] That was an upgrade.
James [00:08:08] Yeah. Right.
Dennis [00:08:08] So yeah. So it’s crazy. And I, you know, it’s funny when I mention that every now and then I forget how strong that is. But yeah thirty three SEER. Unbelievable when you think that most air conditioning system, the federal mandate is to be either thirteen SEER in the north or fourteen SEER in the south. So we were more than twice. So what we’re mandated to be. So it’s incredibly efficient, but we get there because we use inverter technology and to get a little geeky on what we do is we take AC voltage, convert it to DC and pulse it into our metering devices in our compressors. And what that really means is we really squeeze the efficiency out of the electrical using components of our system. So we create a tremendously efficiently we modulate up and down like cruise control on a car and we kind of hover right there at the comfort level. On top of zoning, the average consumer can look at energy savings from 30 to 50 percent. That really is quite a piece of equipment to provide home comfort.
James [00:09:08] Hey, Dennis, are all of your units electric?
Dennis [00:09:12] Yeah, so we are solar heat pumps. All of our product is heat pumps. We don’t make straight air conditioning anymore. It really doesn’t make sense. So all of our products are straight heat pumps. But let me take the curse off of that a little bit. You know, I’m old enough and I’m old enough to admit it, but I’m old enough that back in the 80s, when I built my first house, I put a heat pump in my house and I wanted to do it because it was green and I wanted to do it because I was living out in the country and I really only had electricity and I didn’t know a lot about it. And I installed a heat pump. And then I quickly learned the concept of backup resistant electric that once it got cold outside, the supplemental heat kicked on and it cost a small fortune to heat my home. Heat pumps have come a long, long way. So now when I take a look at something simple like my nine thousand BTU wall-mounted unit, that minus 15 degrees, I get over 13 or 11000 BTUs, a heat out of that unit. So in my product, I can heat down the minus 15 degrees, typically over nameplate performance. So these are our fathers old mobiles anymore.
Morris [00:10:16] The other I think I love the analogy.
James [00:10:17] I like the analogy. And I remember the so we built 48 condos in 1981 and those were all heat pumps because there was no gas available for that particular parcel or the installation of gas would have been cost prohibitive for the development. I can’t remember what it was, but we did all heat pumps and I remember the old I lived in one of them and I remember when supplemental heat kicked on. And boy, I’ll tell you, you could see the meter spin, but you’re right.
Dennis [00:10:49] Oh, yeah.
James [00:10:49] You’re right. Efficiency has changed. And I think the other new kid on the block is solar technology, which has become widely available. And folks are harnessing that energy to fuel their electric heating.
Morris [00:11:07] So the bottom line here, Dennis, is that eventually there will be no gas that electric operated. Everything will be the case. And you will be one of many stars where now you’re one star over many. You really have a great twist on heating. And I’m doing three, four apartments converted to three. And I’m using your products. I’m designing your products into all of them.
James [00:11:36] You know, I just came to mind and and that is that there is a project that Morris is in the middle of designing. And here’s an example. These are empty nesters. They live in an existing two story home. They want to plan not to go up and down stairs at their age. And thus they have asked us to create an addition, which is about 800 square feet plus or minus that will consist of a brand new master suite downstairs, a computer room downstairs. And I think the expansion, the existing family or something like that. The point is that there is a section of the home where they’re going to spend most of their time, the kitchen, the family room, the office and the and the bedroom. Yeah. And it sounds to me like that is an example of a make sense project for the kind of system that Fujitsu General America offers.
Morris [00:12:40] Yes.
James [00:12:40] Yes, Dennis.
Dennis [00:12:41] Yeah, absolutely. That’s a perfect installation. And we can even make that more perfect, if you will, because not only do we make single zones, we make multi zones. So I think if I was looking at that approximately eight hundred square feet, I’d probably be taking a look at sticking some type of evaporator in their bedroom area and then maybe some type evaporator. And there are other areas. So not only did we surpass that eight hundred square feet out of the entire property, but we’ve also sparsed it down to eight or more hours a day. They’re going to spend in the bedroom and we can condition that slightly different than where they’re going to spend their other time. So we could even sparse that down with a minimal additional cost to be able to do that.
James [00:13:22] And their existing Forced air unit, their central unit, could stay in place for the rest of the home should they elect to utilize it when they need to?
Dennis [00:13:31] Absolutely. Just set the temperature a little lower and and be done. Yes.
James [00:13:36] One and done. All right. I’m dying to know, has Fujitsu’s General America harnessed any of the artificial intelligence or Aleksa or Siri or any of that?
Dennis [00:13:48] Oh, my goodness. Yes. So gone are the days when you actually have to get up off the couch and change the thermostat. So we’ve we do a variety of different things. All of our products ship with remote controls, and that gives us the ability to, you know, up, down, on, off, and then certainly all types of setback features. And that’s a standard on the equipment anymore. Then we also have the capability of tying it into a wi fi. So if you want to tie it into your home wi fi system and download our app, you can change the temperature of your home system from anywhere in the world as long as your wi fi is on at your house. So you can do that to be nice to your spouse because they can change the temperature.
Morris [00:14:30] I love that.
Dennis [00:14:31] We also have the capability to tie into a third party thermostat. So if you have settled on a ring base or a nest based or some other type of central base and appreciate but don’t necessarily want yet another app on your phone, we can tie into that and have that control our system. And then if you want to sit on your couch and yell out to your Alexa to turn up or turn down, we’re also completely compatible with the two voice activated platforms as well. We’ve come a long way with it and we’re certainly up to the times and we work every day and all those platforms.
Morris [00:15:05] I love it, Dennis. As you know, we ask all our CareyBrosPros guests for three points of success. What would you like our fellow pros to take home from your visit?
Dennis [00:15:16] Well, what I would tell you and thank you for asking, what I would tell you is, is that we just we take a lot of pride in our product and bringing it to market. So we believe that we have a very good product and we believe that we support it very, very well. Almost half of my staff town is in the support side of our business. So whether that’s tech support or engineering application, we truly believe the sale starts once our contractors partner with us and that is supporting them all the way through. We can make the best equipment in the world and I think we do. But every now and then, you’re going to need some help. So we pride ourselves in the support on the back side.
Dennis [00:15:54] The other thing that we do better than I think most in the industry is we train. We know that HVAC contractors are like MacGyver, that really if you give them a sequence of operation, they are just outstanding. Our equipment is not difficult, but it’s different so that if we get the opportunity to show how it all works, I’ll sequence of operation. Then our equipment runs flawlessly and our partners have got the peace of mind that they understand that apply it correctly and conservative and fix it if it needs it.
Dennis [00:16:23] And then really our last secret to success is, is that we’ve been very fortunate, blessed really to be partnered with some of the best distributors in the industry. They make a commitment to not only equipment, to parts, but also the coaching up their people to provide technical service agents and really provide outstanding service to our HVAC contractors out there. So I think we make a good product. I think we train really well and we’re really fortunate to be partnered with just some outstanding distribution partners that take us to market.
James [00:16:53] Never, ever at a loss for words and gentlemen who can articulate and share information in a very comprehensive but user-friendly way. He is Dennis Stinson, the company Fujitsu General America. You may learn more about their offerings by visiting their website. It is Fujitsu General dot com.
Morris [00:17:21] And remember, if you’re looking for information on any of our other guests, as well as other podcasts, videos or articles, just check out our Web site at CareyBrosPros dot com.
Magic Mike [00:17:33] OK, everybody, hold on to your hard hats. It’s time for a quick tip from the Carey brothers.
James [00:17:41] We like to say that there are three initial steps that will help make a successful project for both the consumer and the contractor. The first step is planning. Step two is planning and step three is, well, you guessed it, planning. It’s far easier, considerably less expensive and much less stressful to relocate a wall at an electrical outlet or change the size of a window on paper than it is after the plans have been completed and work has commenced. Putting an eraser to paper is always preferable to whipping out a hammer and a pry bar. More often than not, the planning and design phase should take as long or longer than the actual construction process. The customer, the design professional and the contractor should work as a team to come up with an overall solution that will best meet the client’s needs and budget. Doing so will make both the design and construction phases a far more positive experience. Changes, whether optional extras or those necessary due to poor planning, can cause costly delays, foul up a job schedule and create tension between contractor and client. In remodeling, there are always unpredictable and unforeseen circumstances which require swift and decisive action to keep a job on track. Until designers and contractors have X-ray vision, this will always be the case. However, these hiccups are far more tolerable when they aren’t magnified by chaos, which results from poor planning. Planning doesn’t guarantee perfection, but in our experience, it goes a long way in having a happy customer and a better bottom line.
Magic Mike [00:19:33] Well, that’s our broadcast for today. Thanks for listening to this edition of CareyBrosPros, the podcast for Construction Professionals by Construction Professionals. Want more check out CareyBrosPros Dotcom. You’ll find articles and videos to help make your business success.