How to Find a Ductless Mini Split Installer?

January 8, 2009 by Shawn Mack  
Filed under Featured, Savings Guide

“Many of the contractors that install mini split air conditioners will be able to do both the electrical and HVAC portions.”

So you have made the decision to purchase a mini split air conditioner, and now it is time to figure out how to install the equipment. There is some basic information that you will need to know before you flop open the five pounds of yellow pages. First thing you should do is have a good idea of where you want to mount the evaporator or indoor portion of the ductless mini split.

Wall mounted air conditioners attach to a bracket about 10” below the ceiling. This high installation lets the air flow downward in the room. All the wiring and lines will run out the back of the unit so find a place that has enough room to hold the minimum dimensions of the evaporator.

Find a nice flat area near the exterior of the building to house the outdoor condenser.
A cement slab is ideal for a mini split air conditioner or purchase a plastic pad approximately 24” x 36” to place on a level surface.

Let’s keep it legal and make sure we pull the appropriate permits. Mini split air conditioners are hard wired into your fuse box, so you will need an Electrical Permit along with a HVAC Permit. Electrical permits on average are $40.00 and HVAC permits are approximately $75.00. Contact your local city hall for more information. Many times the installer you find will pull the permit for you, but to be safe I always pull them myself.

Time to make the call to find your friendly local contractor to do the dirty work. I no longer receive the yellow pages which is a shame because it worked as a great booster chair for my daughter! The best way I have found is to go online and search the yellow pages. I use www.yellowbook.com but there are many directories to choose from online.

Type in “Air Conditioner Contractors” into the Product / Service box and your city and state into the Location field. Most likely you won’t find anything that resembles the terms ductless air conditioner or wall mounted mini split air conditioner, but trust me 80% of all residential contractors have installed a mini split air conditioner.

I like to use the “mom and pop” companies because it seems I receive better pricing from smaller companies; Jay’s Heating and Cooling and such. If you have already picked out the brand and style of wall mounted air conditioner, you will have to supply the contractor with some basic information before they come to your home.

5 things to know before contacting a contractor:

1. Brand: They usually like to know the brand of the equipment but it doesn’t really matter because 99% of the equipment is installed the same way.
2. Size: Speak in btu. (British Thermal Units) to help them understand how large the unit will be. Example: 12,000 btu. or 1 ton.
3. Power Requirement: Does your unit require a 110 volt line or 220 volt line. Make sure to read the specifications beforehand or have them handy.
4. Type of Refrigerant: Does the unit use R22 or R410A refrigerant? They will need to know this to have extra refrigerant on hand when charging your system.
5. Length of the Run: Have a general idea of how far the indoor evaporator will be from the outdoor condenser. The farther away the two units are, the more expensive it will be to install, because of longer refrigerant line-sets and added refrigerant.

Many of the contractors that install mini split air conditioners will be able to do both the electrical and HVAC portions. Make sure to have a spot available for a dual pole circuit breaker in your electrical box. I ran into this problem when I was installing my own ductless air conditioner.

Check the breaker size in the specifications of your mini split air conditioner to find out the amp size needed to run the equipment. Most single mini split systems use a 15 or 20 amp circuit breaker. Make sure that the new air conditioner runs on its own circuit breaker.

I hope this information gets you on the right path to work with a qualified HVAC installer, and you can enjoy your ductless mini split system as much as I do. If you have any additions or comments feel free to share them in the Savings Forum.

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