Saving Money on Mini Split Installations

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

“If you have any technical ability and some extra time, you can complete most of the installation of the mini split air conditioner yourself.”

Air conditioning installations can be expensive, but there are a few things you can do to help save money. First, I would make sure you shop around for a brand of ductless mini split air conditioner that fits your budget. When shopping always contact the seller to make sure adequate technical support is available for the product being sold.

There are many different brands of mini split air conditioners. Make sure warranties are available for the air conditioner you purchase. Most warranties should be approximately five years on the compressor and one year for parts and labor. If you are purchasing a wall mounted mini split online make sure the seller uses trucking companies for delivery.

Companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL are well known for their destructive habits delivering heavy and awkward sized equipment. Truck-line companies deliver everything on pallets and you must be home at arrival to inspect the equipment. If you have a residential address shipping companies will require a lift gate to lower the pallet to the ground. Lift gate service is usually an additional fee approximately $30.00. Finding a commercial address will save you that additional expense.

It is always good to open the boxes at the time of delivery to make sure nothing is damaged. If products are damaged, the truck line will take responsibility for returns. If you wait three weeks to open your mini split boxes, they could have been damaged during shipment with no recourse.

If you have any technical ability and some extra time, you can complete most of the installation of the mini split air conditioner yourself. Many people choose to let the professional HVAC installer handle the whole job, but most of the mini split installation cost is labor intensive.

First thing I would do is to locate a place you would like to hang the indoor evaporator. The installation manual will be supplied with the equipment. Evaporators should be hung approximately 10” from the ceiling.

Next, I would remove all of the equipment from its packaging and check that everything was shipped properly and nothing is missing. There is nothing worse than having the installer show up and a main component is missing for the installation. More time, more money.

Follow the directions to properly mount the metal bracket that holds the indoor evaporator. You will need to drill a hole through the wall to fit the refrigerant line set, wiring and condensation tube. Usually, it will take a 3” hole, but check with the installation instructions. Make sure you are not drilling through a stud or other electrical wiring, or you may make a shocking discovery!

Find a hard flat surface outside to place the condenser. Try to keep the outdoor condenser near the position where you will install the indoor evaporator. The longer the distance between the two will add refrigerant, line set and wiring costs.

A concrete slab or plastic air conditioner pad is ideal for the condenser. Make sure the area is level and place the condenser on the chosen area. If you have the wiring and refrigerant line set you can run them through the wall.

Fill the hole you made for the line set and wiring with some socks or insulation until final charging takes place.

The outdoor condenser will need power so make sure an electrical disconnect is located next to the condenser.

At this point I would call your certified HVAC installer to come vacuum the line sets and charge your mini split air conditioner to the proper pressures.

When the HVAC installer finishes charging the system you can fill the 3” hole around the line set and wiring with silicone to prevent moisture within the wall.

By completing these few easy steps you can save yourself hundreds of dollars in basic labor costs. I hope this article can save you money on your mini split installation. Your comments and installation stories are always welcome.

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20 Responses to “Saving Money on Mini Split Installations”
  1. Mark Juchems Says:

    Good article. So would it be good to run a 3″ pvc pipe up through the wall to put all the connections in? I am thinking of the future when it needs to be replaced.

  2. John Says:

    Great article. We own and I can’t tell you how much we get asked this question. The truth is you can save yourself so much money by doing most of the work yourself and then calling a certified tech to come in and finish off the specialized stuff. Pay $100-$150 for the service call.

    If you are not construction savvy you can always hire a handyman off of CL or Angie’s list (range is $150-$300) to do most of the work. Then call in a certified technician to do the rest. There you go. You just got an install for $300-$500 total. Just make sure they understand how to wire electric:)

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