When installing an AC, it is not always the case that you need a duct network snaking through your walls. You can avoid this. Gleaning from the name itself, a ductless air conditioner refers to a system that disposes the need for ducts. Ductless air conditioner installation can involve as many as five AC units in different rooms, which are then connected to a single outdoor component. The units do a back and forth transport of air using refrigerant tubes and wiring.
Ductless air conditioning systems or mini-splits, as they are known, are a structurally less interfering alternative to central air. If you have ever thought of installing one, then you must have wondered, how does ductless air conditioner installation work? We answer this question and more in the following sections.
How Ductless Air Conditioning Installation Works in Boca Raton, FL
While mini-splits may have manufacturer-specific qualities, it is important to know that they still follow a general rule for installation. Thus, below is a guide on ductless air installation:
The Indoor Component
Step 1: To fit the interior half of your AC, the first thing to do is to cut a hole in the wall. This hole will help you link the pipes to the outdoor unit. Ensure your favored spot is guarded against direct sunshine and other heat-producing elements. Also, keep the unit clear (at least 1 meter) of devices that emit electronic signals. These include your TV, telephone, and radio. They can subsequently interfere with the running of your AC.
In addition, avoid paths where leaking gas and oil may take. The wall selected for mounting must also be strong enough to hold the unit. While considering location, choose a spot from which your unit can work effectively. Mini-splits can be controlled remotely, so you have a wider array of installation spots.
Finally, mount your unit at 7 feet above the floor. It should be clear of close objects by at least 15 cm. This will allow air to circulate easily.
Step 2: This is the part where you attach the mounting plate. Place it against the chosen wall, using a level to ensure straightness on vertical and horizontal ends. Afterwards, indicate the location of the screw holes with a pencil. Detach the plate and drill holes into the corresponding places you indicated.
It is now time to secure it. Reposition the plate on the wall so that it matches each hole. Follow this by inserting plastic anchors in the holes. Attach the plate with tapping screws.
Step 3: Here, you are creating a hole through which the pipes can connect to the outside wall. The process requires a drill or a keyhole saw to reach completion. With either of these, you can make a 3-inch cut in the wall, being careful to ensure it slopes downward. This makes condensate flow a lot easier. Confirm that the particular part of the wall does not contain other wires or pipes.
Step 4: Before proceeding, compare the diagram that came with the unit with the wiring under the front panel. To do this, lift the cover on the front, and verify. The wires should be correctly joined to the terminals.
Step 5: Now, you can run the wires through the walls to link them to the unit. In doing this, fasten all the component wiring and pipes together with electrical tape. Keep the drain line beneath the others to ensure water flow. Run these through the wall and match each one to the spot indicated in the manual.
For a smooth delivery, limit the level to which the cables are curved. Also, ensure that the drain line transfers water to the right location. The package of wires is well insulated, so there's no need for extras.
Step 6: Attachment. To fix the indoor unit to the wall, all you need to do is align the connections properly. The female ports are on the back while the male is on the wall. Ensure that these rhyme and press firmly to get it in position. We advise that you get a friend to help with this.
Lean the unit a bit backwards to ensure that water travels down the drain line.
The Outdoor Component (Condenser)
Step 1: To ensure that your unit works at its best, position it in a fairly sheltered area. This is one without dust, heat, or heavy traffic. Locate the hole you made while fitting the interior unit and keep the condenser within 15 meters. This way, it will be easy to attach the outbound pipes and cables.
As you did indoors, situate your condenser in a spot that is at least 30 cm clear on all sides. Also, keep interfering elements like radio and Tv antennas at least 3 meters from the component.
Step 2: This part involves protecting your condenser. An ideal way to do this is to get a concrete pad to place it on. The condenser, with continuing use, may move around on the bare ground. It will also be prone to weather elements like snow and rain. You can buy a concrete pad at a store that deals in home improvement.
Step 3: You will also need to control vibration. You can do this by setting the outdoor unit on rubber cushions. Fasten the unit to these with bolts.
Step 4: Similar to what you did with the indoor unit, confirm that the wiring and diagram match. Open the cover and make this comparison. If all are positive, fasten the cover back.
Step 5: Now, connect the outbound cables to the outdoor unit. Use flare nuts to attach these and secure the indoor power cable to the condenser as well. Finally, link to a prepared outlet for power supply.
To round off the project, these are the steps to follow:
Step 1: This involves drawing air from the refrigerant circuit using a vacuum pump hose. Unscrew the caps from the 2 and 3-way valves, then connect the hose to the service port. Turn on the vacuum till it hits 10 mm Hg. Close the low-pressure knob and turn the vacuum off.
Before disconnecting the vacuum, run a test to check the valves for leaks. Then, reattach the caps.
Step 2: In this part, you fasten the connecting pipes with clamps. This keeps them from moving around during use. You can find the clamps within the package as well as a guide to fix them properly.
Step 3: Close the connecting hole using polyurethane foam. Leaving this spot unsealed will attract pests and hot air into your space. Make sure the foam is dry before you turn the AC on.
Step 4: Finally, turn on the unit from the indoor component. It should take a couple of minutes to feel its work in your home. If there are any problems, double-check with your installation manual.
Can I Do Ductless Air Conditioner Installation Myself?
While we have answered the question: how is ductless air conditioning installed, it is important to say who can install one. Ductless air installation does not demand many technicalities, but it can be important to hire a professional.
Some manufacturers stipulate this as a part of their warranty, and should anything go wrong; it will void the warranty. State laws may also require you to hire qualified professionals in certain installations. Essentially, you should evaluate all ends to safeguard your equipment.
Advantages of Ductless Air Conditioner Installation Over Other ACs
Learning how ductless air conditioning installation works must be followed by its likely benefits. So we weigh its pros and cons below:
The first and most popularly cited benefit of a ductless AC is its conciseness. An installation of this nature demands a single hole as opposed to multiple in central air. This prevents the need for major structural works in your house before installation.
Secondly, ductless air installation is a great way to save energy. More than 30% of energy is lost to duct networks in central air. Many ACs of this kind also come with remotes, making it possible to adjust to individual room needs.
Security-wise, they are safer to use as there are fewer holes for intruders to exploit. This is contrary to what is found in window AC systems.
Moreover, there is a lot more flexibility attached to ductless air installation than others. Models can be mounted dynamically on the wall or the ceiling. They can also be set to fit into each room's atmosphere or design.
Disadvantages of Ductless Air Conditioning
A major disadvantage of ductless air conditioners is their price tags. Installing one can cost you between $2,000 to nearly $15,000, depending on capacity and your home size. This is far more than you have to pay for central air or window units. Changing your ducted system to a ductless one can easily cost you two to three times the price of a ducted one.
Furthermore, ductless air conditioning installation may not always earn you the aesthetics you desire. For example, interior units often come in white and may not fuse with your preferred indoor look.
Ductless air installation can also attract a maintenance burden. To keep the units running at an optimum, you need to clean the filters every month. This is necessary as they cannot withstand debris for long. Collecting these for a while can cause you to spend more on maintenance and weaken the AC.
How to Maintain Your Ductless Air Conditioner
Another vital part of understanding how ductless air conditioning installation is learning its maintenance ropes. Here, we discuss these.
Condenser coils: Asides the cleaning/changing your air filters, condenser coils are a part that needs the same flavor. Over time, dirt or mold may accumulate on the coils, and it is important to clean them. To start, shut down the system and let it cool. Afterwards, wipe the coil with a clean cloth.
Surroundings: Even with a clean interior, you may still find your units prone to constant failures. This may be due to the easy entry of dirt. As such, cleaning the area around your exterior unit is a key part of maintenance.
Pipes: The pipes can also be gagged with dust. This prevents the system from circulating air as it should. Thus, it is essential to clean the pipes periodically, paying attention to any leaks along the line.
Weather: Ductless systems can become vulnerable during cold seasons. When ice or snow collects on it, it can damage the outdoor unit easily. It is therefore important to regularly clear any ice on the system.
Space: Finally, another factor that can hinder your system's efficiency is space. If furniture or other objects are clustered around your ductless AC, it becomes less efficient. It can also require more maintenance to function. As such, keeping the area clear by a few feet will help achieve energy efficiency and a comfortable home.
Schedule a Session With Erica's Plumbing Today in Boca Raton, FL!
This article has looked at how ductless air conditioning installation pros and cons, and tips on maintaining your ductless AC. Yet, as much as you must have the needed skills to maintain your AC, hiring experts may be your best bet to avoid any complication. You can schedule an appointment with us today for your ductless air con installation.
Erica's Plumbing, Air Conditioning and Restoration is a team that can rapidly respond to your needs. Contact our trained personnel for a free evaluation.