To ensure compliance with your manufacturer’s warranty, it’s best to hire a professional heating and cooling contractor to install your system. Make sure they can answer these critical questions.
Ductless mini split systems are gaining momentum in the United States because of their superior efficiency, area-specific cooling and heating ability, and relatively easy installation.
Still, mini split manufacturers strongly recommend hiring a professional heating and cooling contractor to install their systems. Doing it yourself not only voids manufacturer warranties from companies like Gree and Mitsubishi, but subpar performance due to a bad installation could reduce your unit’s efficiency by as much as 50 percent. In a bid to save money up front, in other words, some do-it-yourselfers could cheat themselves out of the very long-term savings they seek. Professional installation also ensures that your ductless mini split system meets local electrical and plumbing codes.
If you’ve decided to go with a professional installation, now you need to find someone who knows what they are doing. Below are three questions homeowners should ask their professional HVAC contractor leading up to a mini split installation:
- Where is the best place for the indoor air handler? While the manufacturer will supply specifications to your professional installer, confirm that they have selected a wall that is structurally capable of supporting the unit’s weight. The more solid the wall, the less sound caused by vibration. Choose a wall that doesn’t get direct sunlight if possible. The solar load may impact the unit’s ability to accurately control the room’s temperature.
- Where’s the best place for the outside unit? While condenser units are manufactured to withstand exposure to the elements, they still need to be secured. If they will be placed on the ground, ask your installer whether they will be using a concrete pad with anchor bolts or a less expensive condenser pad and why. Units can also be secured to a wall-mounted bracket; these are ideal for installations at apartments or condos, and also great for areas that might get a lot of snowfall.
Each manufacturer will have specific requirements and recommendations, but you have to give some pre-planning thought to the placement of the outside unit for optimum airflow, inspection, and service. Is the area where you plan to locate the outside unit prone to standing water? It may be wise to elevate the condenser or mount it on a wall; if that’s the case, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s warranty requirements.
- Will the line set be secure? Your ductless mini split system requires an electrical supply for both the inside and outside components. It also utilizes a piping component called the line set, which connects the inside and outside units. Your system doesn’t need ductwork, but the line set is crucial.
Consider the line set to be like your spine and nervous system. In the case of your ductless mini split system, this component is responsible – via copper tubing – for moving the refrigerant in either a gas or liquid state between the indoor and outdoor units. It generally requires just a single hole through the exterior wall to connect the outdoor units to the interior air handler unit.
Ductless mini splits offer many advantages over a central air conditioning system, including easier installation. You may consider doing it yourself and it’s certainly doable – but a professional installation by a licensed contractor who has experience with these systems will maintain the warranty and ensure it’s set up correctly.