Installing a ductless mini-split does not require any ductwork at all. The process is fairly straightforward, and it’s relatively easy to set up compared to other types of HVAC systems. Unless you’re a pro, mini-split installation still requires an experienced technician to perform.
When you familiarize yourself with the steps involved in a ductless mini-split installation, it offers several benefits, such as:
- Helps you ask your HVAC technician the right questions
- Gives you an idea of how to prepare your house beforehand
- Shows you an overview of the inner workings of this type of AC
If you haven’t bought a mini-split HVAC unit yet, your knowledge of its installation can help you decide if this type of system is what you want for your home.
Things to Consider Before a Ductless Mini-Split Installation
Before requesting ductless mini-split installation, you need to decide on a few things to make the installation smooth and precisely the way you want.
Type of Ductless AC Units
All ductless mini-splits have an outdoor unit. Thus, the indoor unit or “head” is what distinguishes one from the other. The three types of ductless air conditioners are:
- Wall units: Usually installed on the top part of a wall, these are the most common units you’d find in most homes because it’s the most inexpensive.
- Floor units: Installation is very similar to wall units except that the head’s location is near the lower portion of the wall. Homeowners choose this type of ductless unit if they have low ceilings or high windows.
- Ceiling cassettes: These units cover more area because of wider airflow but are less intrusive. This unit is the most expensive of the three due to its superior features and added labor for installation.
Electrical and Drainage
After picking the type of AC mini-split you want, it’s time to identify specific installation criteria. These will affect the laying down of the electrical circuit and drainage line.
The three most essential items you need to consider are:
- Where to install the indoor head
- Where to place the outdoor unit
- Relationship of both locations to your home’s electrical infrastructure
For the third item, you can have a licensed electrician inspect your home infrastructure to ensure that the installation follows the state’s building code.
During an expert technician’s assessment, he will:
- Inspect your home for possible optimal unit placements.
- Ask for your preferences on where to place the indoor and outdoor units.
- If he’s with a licensed electrician, he’ll coordinate with the electrician about optimal wiring installations.
- The technician will give you several options and the associated costs to implement them.
Ductless air conditioners create condensation as they convert vapor into liquid. Condensate drainage is vital to prevent water droplets that can harm your ceiling, wall, and floor from forming in the head unit.
For ceiling cassettes and wall units, the condensate drainage can use gravity to lead the liquid outside. However, floor units almost always require a condensate pump to flush the water out.
Ductless Mini-Split Installation Process
While these steps are for a wall unit, they also apply to other AC types except for the specific head installation.
On the day before installation, your HVAC contractor will call you for confirmation. During the actual installation, their team of technicians will perform the following tasks as soon as they arrive:
- The lead HVAC technician will confirm your job order and ensure that it’s exactly what you want.
- They’ll lay drop cloths on every area affected by the installation process. It will help ensure that your home remains clean during the installation.
- Unless a licensed electrician already set up the electrical circuit, they’ll have him lay down the wiring needed for your ductless mini at this point.
Depending on the number of units they need to install in your home, the process can take four to eight hours per air conditioner.
Your AC head and the outdoor unit need to be in place before being hooked up together. Here are the steps your technicians will take:
- They’ll drill a two-and-a-half-inch hole on the wall where you want your indoor unit installed. This hole is where the line set will go through to connect to your outdoor unit.
- Outside the same wall, they’ll install a bracket to keep the line set in place so that it doesn’t dangle.
- The technicians will position the outdoor unit on a plastic pad beneath the hole where the line set will travel down.
- They’ll make sure that the line set can connect from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit.
- The electrician will prepare the wiring that connects to the outdoor unit.
The plastic pad that secures the outdoor unit is crucial because of the following reasons:
- It protects the outdoor unit from vibration and reduces noise.
- It prevents rain runoff and snow buildups.
If you find the line set an eyesore for your walls, you can always request line set protection. However, not all HVAC companies do this by default. Make sure to ask for line set protection if you find that it’s not included in your package. It will give you the following benefits:
- Protects and hides the line set
- Allows painting over to match your home’s color
- Increases the AC’s life span
- Avoids unnecessary repairs
After performing all the preparatory tasks, they’ll start connecting the two units and the electrical wiring. Here are the steps your technicians will perform:
- Flare the connections using special flaring tools.
- Connect the lines to the outdoor unit using torque wrenches.
- Flush the refrigerant line three times to remove imperfections.
- Connect the refrigerant line.
After the installation, the lead technician will walk you through the proper way of operating your newly installed ductless mini-split. Some of the things you’ll learn are:
- Remote control operation
- App functionality for specific AC models
- Thermostat setting
Take this opportunity to ask your technician for other tips on how to keep your AC running smoothly.
Trust the Professionals for Your Ductless Mini-Split Installation
You’re less likely to encounter any issues using your new ductless air conditioner if your HVAC contractor followed these installation steps.
Contact us if you want to ensure the proper installation of your ductless mini-split air conditioner.