Posted on: 31 May 2022Share
Mini-split air conditioners have plenty of advantages, especially if you live in an older home or outfitting a multi-unit rental property. These systems don't require ductwork and come in a wide variety of sizes for cooling nearly any space. However, their seeming simplicity can hide a surprising number of complex problems that may arise during installation.
While a dedicated do-it-yourselfer might be able to handle a mini-split installation, it's not a job for the faint of heart. Even if you typically consider yourself reasonably handy, you may want to check out these three reasons to hire a professional for your mini-split air conditioner installation.
1. Proper Placement is Critical
Mini-split units use an indoor "head" that functions as a blower, thermostat, and evaporator. These units take the place of the air handler that you'd typically install in a basement or attic with a central air conditioning system. While you have a lot of flexibility in choosing a location for your mini-split head, you still need to be careful about your placement.
For example, achieving the best possible efficiency requires sufficient space on all sides of the unit. You also need to place the unit on part of your wall that will allow you to route drainage, control wires, and refrigerant lines outside. A professional will be able to recommend the best areas in your home and create a tidy install to avoid ugly, exposed plumbing.
2. Wiring Isn't Straightforward
Wiring a mini-split unit is similar to wiring up a central air conditioner, except for running wiring for thermostats. In other words, connecting the indoor and outdoor portions is rarely a simple matter of using "plug and play" connections. You'll need to be comfortable attaching bare terminals and making reliable mechanical and electrical connections.
Like a central air conditioning system, mini-splits also require dedicated circuits and disconnects. Installing this wiring can be challenging and potentially hazardous if you aren't comfortable with electrical work. Unless you know you have the skills and experience necessary to wire a new circuit safely into your home, it's best to use a professional for this job.
3. You'll Need Specialized Equipment
Pressurizing an air conditioner's refrigerant lines isn't as simple as topping up the oil in your car. You'll need specialized equipment to get refrigerant into the system at the correct pressure level. You might also need a vacuum pump if your mini-split didn't come with pre-evacuated lines. This work can be fiddly, and getting the refrigerant levels incorrect can reduce system efficiency or even cause damage.
While everyone likes to save a little money, you should remember that a mini-split system is an investment that will last for years. A professional installation will ensure that your new system can reliably operate so that you can enjoy trouble-free air conditioning for many summers to come. For more information on air conditioning installation, contact a professional near you.