Mini split installation


Marcus Hand
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I live in NE Florida and summers in the shop are beyond hot. We have a 3 car garage and my wife uses one of the bays. Over the winter I built a dividing wall between my shop and her bay. I insulated the wall. My plan was to get a mini split installed before summer. I didn't realize that it is near impossible to find a company around here that will install one. Every company I call has blown me off. The one company that did say they would come out and give me an estimate, never showed up. 


I'm now leaning toward just installing it myself. I'm comfortable doing most of the installation, including the electrical part, but the evacuation of the unit is what I'm concerned about. I've read through the instructions for the unit I am looking at and I think I understand how to do the evacuation. 


Anyone installed their own? Or have any advice on finding someone to install it? I've tried calling companies, putting an ad on Craigslist, etc. 

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Marcus what system did you buy?  I'm considering one in the future. Let me know how it works out. 

P.s.  Any luck finding your sketch up file for outdoor table?  Every time I look at the pics I like it more. 

Regards

Mike T

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Most companies only want to install what they sell and stay busy enough without taking on outside jobs.  I got a Mitsubishi split system that just came in.  I talked to a commercial HVAC guy that works on my systems at work.  He said to install myself and call him and he will come out on the side and do his thang.  

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On 5/12/2017 at 3:50 PM, Mike T said:

Marcus what system did you buy?  I'm considering one in the future. Let me know how it works out. 

P.s.  Any luck finding your sketch up file for outdoor table?  Every time I look at the pics I like it more. 

Regards

Mike T

Hey Mike,

I didn't buy one yet.. was wanting to make sure I could find someone to install first. 

I still can't find that dang sketchup file :( .

 

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On 5/14/2017 at 10:16 AM, Ibboykin said:

Most companies only want to install what they sell and stay busy enough without taking on outside jobs.  I got a Mitsubishi split system that just came in.  I talked to a commercial HVAC guy that works on my systems at work.  He said to install myself and call him and he will come out on the side and do his thang.  

I'd be ok with buying the unit from the installer. That is the path I've been trying to take. I just can't get anyone to even call back or come out for an estimate. I'm not sure why, but seems like the HVAC companies have little interest in installing these things. It surprises me because I'd happily pay for the unit and $1000 for the install. From what I've read about my particular setup, it sounds like it would take one person 4-5 hrs to do an install. I wish I had a job where I could just pass up that kind of money. 

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17 hours ago, adambaum said:

Have you tried going thru Costco? I just had a Lennox mini split installed using the Costco AC provider.  

Interesting. I'd have never thought to look at them - but after checking out their websites, apparently both Costco and BJs have a home improvement section.  No doubt they just outsource the work to local contractors.  Home Depot and Lowes (and I imagine most home center places) probably do the same. 

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I just had LG Premier units installed in my shop and casita. We have had larger models in the house for a couple of years. Very quiet and surprisingly efficient. We went through a contractor that's done lots of other work for us.

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I installed my own about 2 years ago, a single head 12000 BTU unit. It's pretty easy, except for the last steps of evacuating and charging the lines, and being sure that it's right. There was a guy in my area who installed them from time to time as part of his day job, and would charge a couple hundred bucks to show up and perform that last part of the install. He had this set up as a side business though, and would even do the full install if you wanted.

The rest of it isn't bad at all, it's mostly just careful layout and measuring. I wouldn't have wanted to tackle the refrigerant myself. Another guy at work borrowed a vacuum pump and did it all himself, but I wouldn't want my first one to be the install on my own house without guidance. The other thing to consider is that the slim duct for running the lines can be hard to get your hands on if you don't know an installer - and they get MUCH lower pricing on it than you would.

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19 hours ago, adambaum said:

Have you tried going thru Costco? I just had a Lennox mini split installed using the Costco AC provider.  

Do you have links or pricing for your unit, Adam?  How much space are you conditioning?  How well does it work?

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Need to start doing the research on putting one of these in my three car garage shop too. Summer is almost here and it's gonna start getting hot again. I have read around the net that quite a few people have had trouble finding companies or "guys" that will come out just to finish the install (evacuating and charging the lines). They all want to sell you the whole package and overprice the heck out of it. Ill have to do some calling around in my area and see if I cant find one that'll finish the install for me before I buy one.

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39 minutes ago, ben_r_ said:

Need to start doing the research on putting one of these in my three car garage shop too. Summer is almost here and it's gonna start getting hot again. I have read around the net that quite a few people have had trouble finding companies or "guys" that will come out just to finish the install (evacuating and charging the lines). They all want to sell you the whole package and overprice the heck out of it. Ill have to do some calling around in my area and see if I cant find one that'll finish the install for me before I buy one.

I've read through a few installation manuals and the big unknown to me is definitely the refrigerant process. My understanding is: Many of the units come with (or you can buy) the pre-charged line set. I believe these come flared, so that as long as you buy the right length, you won't have to flare them yourself. Creating a proper flare looks like it is probably the most challenging part of the whole process, but may be unnecessary for a lot of installs. Once you have everything connected, you hookup the vacuum pump and do the evacuation. That part actually looks straight-forward and I've read some say it is actually an easier part of the install. 

I think where things get tricky and you probably have to get an HVAC expert involved is when you have to add refrigerant. That looks like something you definitely would not want to do yourself, but in most cases it does not seem like you would have to ever add refrigerant. 

 

 

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I pulled the trigger on a Pioneer 18000 today. It has gotten good reviews and is significantly less than going with a Mitsubishi. The Mr. Slim is twice as much and doesn't come with the line set (another ~300). 

I'm going to continue trying to find an HVAC installer for the refrigerant part, but if I get to the end and I'm ready to evacuate, I'll probably just buy a vacuum pump and gauge set and give it a go. 

It feels like a bit of a gamble, but I'm willing to give it a try for some relief this summer. 

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10 minutes ago, Marcus Hand said:

I pulled the trigger on a Pioneer 18000 today. It has gotten good reviews and is significantly less than going with a Mitsubishi. The Mr. Slim is twice as much and doesn't come with the line set (another ~300). 

I'm going to continue trying to find an HVAC installer for the refrigerant part, but if I get to the end and I'm ready to evacuate, I'll probably just buy a vacuum pump and gauge set and give it a go. 

It feels like a bit of a gamble, but I'm willing to give it a try for some relief this summer. 

I understand completely. Keep us posted on how this plays out for you! I know many are and will be considering these units for their shops.

Also, how did you figure out how many BTUs you needed? Used something like this:

Capture.JPG

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5 hours ago, Marcus Hand said:

I didn't think about looking at Costco. I don't see mini splits on their site, but it may be something only in stores. I'll take a look. 

You won't.  At my local Costco, there are a bunch of service kiosks on the way to the exit.  One is garage doors, another windows, etc.  I picked up the brochure for AC and called the number.  

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3 hours ago, Eric. said:

Do you have links or pricing for your unit, Adam?  How much space are you conditioning?  How well does it work?

My net price was around $6700 or so.   I paid more up front, but since its Costco, I received a Costco cash card in the mail and I'll get the annual rebate.  

I got a SEER 16 unit that covers a 3 car garage out here in arizona.  Garage is insulated and I told the sales guy that I was looking to maintain low 80's temp-wise.  

Oh yeah, I got. Lennox with 12yr warranty.  Price also covered electrical and permits.

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Just to add another data point: My father had two Mitsubishi units installed a year ago. He got the units free (rebate) from the utility company, and paid $1500 each for installation. That was pretty much just for siting and charging the line, he did the electrical himself. I think they were the smallest version of the Mr Slim, with a single indoor unit. The BTU requirements are a lot lower here in the PNW, even for a very poorly insulated home. 

1 hour ago, Marcus Hand said:

Creating a proper flare looks like it is probably the most challenging part of the whole process, but may be unnecessary for a lot of installs.

Flaring copper is extremely easy, same process as doing it for plumbing. All you need is the special flaring tool which is pretty cheap. That and remember to put the nut on the line before flaring. Ask me how I know.

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27 minutes ago, BonPacific said:

Just to add another data point: My father had two Mitsubishi units installed a year ago. He got the units free (rebate) from the utility company, and paid $1500 each for installation. That was pretty much just for siting and charging the line, he did the electrical himself. I think they were the smallest version of the Mr Slim, with a single indoor unit. The BTU requirements are a lot lower here in the PNW, even for a very poorly insulated home. 

Flaring copper is extremely easy, same process as doing it for plumbing. All you need is the special flaring tool which is pretty cheap. That and remember to put the nut on the line before flaring. Ask me how I know.

Did some more reading about having mini-splits installed getting people to come out a finish them. Man they are scalping people with the installation costs for these things! Its absurd. For my proposed install the outdoor unit is just on the other side of the wall from the inside unit. I'm thinking if the Mitsubishi systems come pre-charged I might just give it a go doing it myself after some more researching. I'm not willing to pay more than a few hundred bucks at most to have some guy come out and hook up a line and check the pressure on it. I'd rather buy the gauge and any tools I don't have and do it myself if it's at all possible.

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The only comment I'll make on the pre charged line sets is that it could be a lot more difficult if you can't cut them. My install would have had about 10-15 feet of line I would have needed to coil up. There isn't a good place to do that in most cases, unless you have a run through an unfinished space. If it works out for a standard length in your case, then that's great.

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35 minutes ago, SawDustB said:

The only comment I'll make on the pre charged line sets is that it could be a lot more difficult if you can't cut them. My install would have had about 10-15 feet of line I would have needed to coil up. There isn't a good place to do that in most cases, unless you have a run through an unfinished space. If it works out for a standard length in your case, then that's great.

I don't think the lines themselves are filled in most cases. Isn't it usually that the condensor unit is already charged, so all you need to do is bleed the lines? I looked into this last year, so I could be wrong.

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I don't think the lines themselves are filled in most cases. Isn't it usually that the condensor unit is already charged, so all you need to do is bleed the lines? I looked into this last year, so I could be wrong.

Oh, you're probably right. It wasn't an option for me, so I didn't get too far in the details.

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