Ductless A/C Units

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Old 07-17-13, 01:42 PM
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Ductless A/C Units

Hi folks, I live in NH in my folks old farmhouse (both gone now). Although I spent quite a bit of money insulating it, it gets hot in there in the summer. Can you offer up your opinions (pros and cons) on the ductless A/C units where it's basically a DIY'er install? I do not want a window unit due to back problems and having difficulty lifting things. I'm leaning toward purchasing a 14,000 BTU unit for the common space. All I want to do is lower the temp to some where around 75 degrees from the 90 degrees it gets in there. Thanks in advance for your help. Roger
 
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Old 07-17-13, 01:46 PM
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Are you talking about a free standing unit that vents out the window? If so make sure you get a unit that vents both supply and return for the condenser so you don't use room air as make up. They tend to not be very efficient.

If your looking at a Mini Split System, they are not DIY. They do offer great performance and are very high in efficiency.
 
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Old 07-17-13, 04:12 PM
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I'm looking at the mini split system like the one in the link below. At the very bottom of the page it shows the readers digest version of installation. No doubt (if I order one) it'll have a more detailed installation instruction included. Other than the electrical not being DIY, what else would I have to hire out help for?

AC-World&reg

Again, thanks for taking the answer to my questions. Roger
 
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Old 07-17-13, 04:52 PM
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Roger - have done a lot of research on this myself and there are two basic problems that keep me from installing one myself - charging the system (all the units ship without refrigerant) and warranty. All of the reputable mfrs have a pretty solid lock on voiding warranty if not installed by a certified hvac installer. Electrical actually would be ok (at least where I live) because you're only going from an existing panel. Best strategy to keep it on the cheap is if you know someone with the proper hvac licensing and can buy it for you, you do most of the work, let him/her charge the system and that way you keep warranty. And yes, it does seem that there's some hefty margin in the ductless dealers, and here in WI they don't seem all that interested.
 
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Old 07-17-13, 05:47 PM
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dnspade - The unit I referenced states that the unit is pre-charged with the R410A refrigerant. After the evaporator is hung inside and the condenser is anchored in place outside, I simply make the interior and exterior connections using their system, open the valves to release the refrigerant and they claim I'm ready to enjoy a cooler room(s). Well, other the electrical installation.

We in NH are allowed to do our own electrical installation as long as I pull a permit and have it inspected by a pro who reports the findings to the code enforcement officer. I'll need to get clarification whether I need a 20A GFCI breaker at the disconnect or the service panel or both locations. What's great about the system is that it's 120V so all that needs to be run is 12/2 with ground. Roger
 
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Old 07-17-13, 06:46 PM
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You still have to evacuate the line-set of air before open the valve and let the freon flow. Also, the units have only a set amount of freon that they can be pre-charged with, some may need to be added and this can only done by a licensed tech.
Lastly, Mini split manufactures will only warranty them if they are installed by a licensed tech.

The electrical will likely be no problem to do. You should not need a GFCI breaker, but they might be 240 volt, which would still only need 12/2 for 20 amp. No neutral is required.

I just wired up a two head mini split for a friend of mine. His quote was about $5k
 
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Old 07-18-13, 07:05 AM
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I have read about the type of installation Roger is referring to. The lines are evacuated & sealed & the unit is pre-charged. When the connection is made the lines are pierced by the fittings included. It's a clever idea to make the installation DIY but to me the downside is the fixed length of the lines. Mini-splits aren't usually installed in locations where a coil of excess ref. lines can be easily hidden.
 
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Old 07-18-13, 10:00 AM
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guy48065 - Thanks for the brief description of how it goes together. The site is lacking in that respect and I'm confident I can install it without too much difficulty. I plan on hiding the condenser behind a structure surrounded by lattice. It'll be in full view of people driving into my driveway so I'll want the final installation to look good and I figure behind a structure with lattice will provide the esthetics I'm looking for as well as a way to access it for service. But, I haven't yet decided whether I'll be purchasing one. Decisions, decisions, etc...

Roger
 
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Old 07-18-13, 12:30 PM
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Before you order you will want to verify that the lines are evacuated from the manufacturer. Those types of lines were used long long ago but I have not heard or seen them anytime recently.
 
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Old 07-18-13, 06:30 PM
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Roger, Think twice before installing lattice around the condensing unit. These units need to "breathe" freely, or your efficiency goes WAY down.
Andy
 
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Old 07-19-13, 12:24 PM
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Andrew - Obviously, I never gave that a thought. What would you recommend that is pleasing to the eye plus offer some protection?


hvactechfw - I'll heed your advice and call the company to see if the lines are indeed charged.

Thanks for the heads-up on these subjects. I appreciate it. You probably saved me from making a mistake by spending a hunk of change by assuming too much.

Thanks, Roger
 
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Old 07-19-13, 12:35 PM
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The instructions for the unit will state how close an obstruction may be to the unit. For mine it is (if I remember correctly) a minimum of four inches on the back side and a minimum of twelve inches on the front side. I think it is also four inches on the side opposite the connections and either six or twelve inches on the side with the connections. At any rate, you also need to provide sufficient room for servicing.
 
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Old 07-20-13, 02:15 PM
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Hi Roger,
I don't have many good suggestions for a partition, sorry. The only one I can think of would be to fashion some sort of widely-spaced louvers out of wood, with the recommended clearances still being observed. Personally, I don't mind seeing the units, but I know many people would rather not.
 
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Old 07-20-13, 02:40 PM
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The only split systems now allowed to come with screw on connections & pre-charged lines are those for use in mobile homes. The mini-splits do not qualify. They all have flare connections & the lines are not pre-charged or evacuated.
 
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Old 07-21-13, 05:21 PM
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Thats a big problem with the internet in general--what you look at is rarely dated or attributed. The info I read may have been old...when did the rules change?
 
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Old 07-21-13, 06:26 PM
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It has been several years since quick connects have been allowed on residential equipment. Why they are still legal on moblie homes is beyond me.
Many years ago, the installation instructions for mini-splits said to make the connections then open the service valve 1/4 turn & vent refrigerant for something like 3 seconds. Naturally that was when venting refrigerant was legal. Get caught doing it now & it could cost you up to $10k, not to mention possible jail time.
 
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Old 07-21-13, 07:04 PM
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I use to get a kick out of the suction lines on the old Williamsons with there spoon steel and the liquid lines wrapped 8 times before the unit.
 
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Old 07-21-13, 07:12 PM
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Sorry that should of been spun steel.
 
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Old 07-22-13, 06:07 PM
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Guyold,
Was it the Williamsons that came with a sping wrapped around the suction line just ahead of the fitting?
 
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Old 07-22-13, 08:09 PM
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Grady, yes I think so. The whole thing looked like black rubber hose with like bx wrapped inside.Not good for scrap and could leak.
 
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Old 07-23-13, 08:02 AM
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Before I dish out bucks for this unit, I have sent the company an email asking exactly what comes pre-charged with the R410A refrigerant. When I hear back from them, I'll post their response. Roger
 
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