Mini Split AC – A Perfect Installation Spot
The decision to get a mini split AC might be one of the best you’ve taken for a long time. You might be wondering about the question, ‘Does a mini split have to be on an exterior wall?’ or ‘Is it hard to install without expert help?’ Well, these and other concerns will be addressed below, so that you’ll hopefully be able to be more informed about getting one installed in your home.
1. What is it?
A “Split System” is essentially an air conditioning and heating system which consists of two main components; an outdoor and an indoor unit. The two units work in tandem so that in its cool mode the indoor unit absorbs heat, the outdoor unit rejecting this same heat. They function as just one system, constantly circulating vapor and refrigerant liquid via connected, dehydrated copper refrigerant lines, known as the ‘Line Set’.
2. Why bother?
Just like a regular window AC unit with an output of 9,000 BTUs per hour, a ‘split-system’ AC can fit snugly into a room, even a windowless room, allowing you to engage in ‘zoning’. They also serve as heaters, not just coolers, so can be used the whole year-round. If you’re an eco-conscious person they’re completely electric, producing zero emissions. Unlike traditional ‘on-off’ switches, mini split ACs are DC inverter-driven which means they can constantly adjust to changing demand, a bit like your accelerator altering the power output in your vehicle. Due to their modest size, they can be situated away from areas that you want to keep quiet, while if your HVAC system is in an inaccessible place, mini-split ACs are nimble and versatile enough to be added.
3. How do they work?
Unlike regular heats pumps, mini split ACs provide hot and cool air, not needing to be connected through ductwork, instead of being wired up to an external heat pump condenser through lines of refrigerant. Inside are air handlers; outside heat pumps. This effectively means that you can install one anywhere you want, or even install many different air handlers throughout your home, so long as the refrigerant wiring is safely and properly wired up to the outside. Depending on where you live and how big your household is, you might opt to have one in every bedroom or even every room in the house.
4. Where to install?
The ductless mini-split system is a tale of two components; the indoor and the outdoor. The indoor part of it would comprise air handlers; the outdoor part of the heat pump condenser. In terms of the indoor components, you can install them literally anywhere; a bedroom, living room, kitchen, or somewhere in which ductwork is too tricky and cumbersome to put in place. The only requirement is that it is affixed to a wall is directly next to the outside wall, ie. it needs to be able to be wired up to the outdoor component via wiring, so can’t be placed in an interior wall from which this cannot happen. You also need to leave at least 2 inches of space over the unit, in order for all the wiring to be successfully accomplished.
In terms of the outdoor parts, a more shadowy area is best, so that the heat pump condenser is not being pounded by the sun’s penetrating rays. It ought not to be placed in close proximity to leaves or another shrubbery which could compromise the effectiveness of its airflow. You can also consider mounting brackets (stand-off ones) to get the installation done, ensuring you leave 5 or more inches of space between unit and wall and 20 or more inches over it.
There are many tasks that are perfect for DIY, but this might not be one of them. It would be worth your while getting help towards the end of the process. You may be able to do all the initial drilling and mounting of the units, teasing the refrigerant pipe through the hole from the inside out, attaching the relevant wiring and tubing from the outside in. However, in order to finish the job properly, it behooves you to request the services of well-established heating and AC provider; they will ensure that all the connections have been fixed safely, the refrigerant and nitrogen all at the correct levels.
A licensed electrician should be called in to deal with the breaker panel and the 120 or 220-volt line which runs from it to the disconnect switch. That extra expertise will also give you peace of mind; the last thing you want to be doing in the extreme coldness of winter or the extreme heat of summer is to be outside, fiddling about with faulty connections and leaking nitrogen. Once it is all up and running, you’ll certainly enjoy its benefits.