Installing a mini split in the garage

2,649 Views | 25 Replies | Last: 18 days ago by marmer
Foamcows
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Wondering if this is something that I can do it myself or if I can knock out some of the basics and have someone finish it out?

house is about 2 years old, originally they wired it to have a drop in range/oven and wired in a 220 to the kitchen that ultimately was never used when we switched to gas.

The electrical panel is in the garage and on the same wall and in the same area I would mount the mini split unit. On the outside of the garage where the main electrical comes in is where I would put the other half of the unit.

Everything seems pretty straight forward with the exception of a few steps (repurposing the unused 220 breaker spot for the range, drawing a vacuum/adding refrigerant). Is there anything I'm overlooking?
cadetjay02
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I put one of these in a few months ago. It's on a 110 not 220. Fairly easy install, took half a day taking my time. I got it at Costco for about $1000.
West Texas Lawyer
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cadetjay02 said:



I put one of these in a few months ago. It's on a 110 not 220. Fairly easy install, took half a day taking my time. I got it at Costco for about $1000.
Coiling up the excess looks trashy. I bet for a few bucks, A/C guy could trim and flair those ends and re-charge the system.
agrams
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a lot of mini splits come pre charged on the condenaor new. you just news to connect the tubing, pull vacuum and then open the valve on the condenaor to release the charge.

an ac guy can do the fitting/vacuum work in an hour or so and and shouldn't be too expensive.
DriftwoodAg
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archangelus2
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If you want to buy the tools to do it right I'm selling all of mine over on the classifieds forum.

http://texags.com/forums/50/topics/3040189
txag2008
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I'm all for DIY, but you paid $850 for one time use tools instead of a couple hundred bucks to an A/C guy?
Picard
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txag2008 said:

I'm all for DIY, but you paid $850 for one time use tools instead of a couple hundred bucks to an A/C guy?
91AggieLawyer
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txag2008 said:

I'm all for DIY, but you paid $850 for one time use tools instead of a couple hundred bucks to an A/C guy?

While it may have been less than $850, I don't think it would have been a couple of hundred. I've heard $350 just to replace the capacitor on the condenser. Plus, they'll nag you endlessly to buy a new system.
Cow Hop Ag
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txag2008 said:

I'm all for DIY, but you paid $850 for one time use tools instead of a couple hundred bucks to an A/C guy?
Because he has plenty of money and likes to own tools.
HCS
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How's the insulation?
archangelus2
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txag2008 said:

I'm all for DIY, but you paid $850 for one time use tools instead of a couple hundred bucks to an A/C guy?
I went in with the intent to have someone else do the final hook-up which would have saved me a lot of money in tools. I called 6+ companies about doing the final hook up and nobody would touch it since they hadn't performed the rest of the installation. One guy did come out and quoted me like $300 to do it but he never showed back up.

That coupled with the one thing i did contract out (electrical) being screwed up and me having to fix it myself I just said screw it and bought the tools and did it myself. The final hookup was actually one of the easier parts of my install, the bulk of the time was me researching everything to make sure I did it correctly.
Foamcows
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HCS said:

How's the insulation?
All walls (including the ceiling) are insulated with the exception of the wall where the unit is to be installed.

Along with installing the unit I was going to rip out the drywall on this wall so i could insulate it.

I haven't yet figured out the best route to go with insulating the garage door as there are many options. Any tips or threads on insulating or replacing a metal garage door?

Felt pretty good after watching the videos so I went ahead and purchased the unit. I decided to go with a 110v Panasonic unit that is 12,000 BTU, should be plenty for the 400 cuft garage. The reason I went with a 110v is to keep the wiring simple. I have one extra slot left in my electrical box that I can add a 20V circuit to and run the wiring when i have the drywall out for the insulation installation.

Per the specs, the unit is 15amp, but can have a max fuse of 20 amp.

I noticed the other day I have a covered external plug in the area where the condenser will located. My current plan is to take this plug off the circuit its currently on and run new 10 gauge wire directly to it from the new 20 amp circuit. I also was going to swap the currenct GFCI plug with a 20amp GFCI. To get the power from the plug to the unit I was going to use wire a 10 gauge electrical plug to the condenser and just plug it in ....Is this a huge no no? I can always wire in a fused aircon switch, but as I already have the covered plug there this seemed simple and one less hole in my house.
West Texas Lawyer
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Foamcows said:

HCS said:

How's the insulation?
All walls (including the ceiling) are insulated with the exception of the wall where the unit is to be installed.

Along with installing the unit I was going to rip out the drywall on this wall so i could insulate it.

I haven't yet figured out the best route to go with insulating the garage door as there are many options. Any tips or threads on insulating or replacing a metal garage door?

Felt pretty good after watching the videos so I went ahead and purchased the unit. I decided to go with a 110v Panasonic unit that is 12,000 BTU, should be plenty for the 400 cuft garage. The reason I went with a 110v is to keep the wiring simple. I have one extra slot left in my electrical box that I can add a 20V circuit to and run the wiring when i have the drywall out for the insulation installation.

Per the specs, the unit is 15amp, but can have a max fuse of 20 amp.

I noticed the other day I have a covered external plug in the area where the condenser will located. My current plan is to take this plug off the circuit its currently on and run new 10 gauge wire directly to it from the new 20 amp circuit. I also was going to swap the currenct GFCI plug with a 20amp GFCI. To get the power from the plug to the unit I was going to use wire a 10 gauge electrical plug to the condenser and just plug it in ....Is this a huge no no? I can always wire in a fused aircon switch, but as I already have the covered plug there this seemed simple and one less hole in my house.


12 gauge for 20A
Foamcows
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Sorry. Yes. 12 gauge.
Foamcows
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Just wanted to update everyone. Unit arrived this past Monday. I installed it that night and everything has been working great.

Couple of thoughts/tips for anyone considering this. First is that it is extremely difficult to bend the copper tubing. All of the videos I have seen made it look easier than it really is. There is a fine line between bending it slowly and bending it quickly and causing a kink/pinch point.

I was able to convert the access port on the condenser to the same type of quick connect plug that modern cars have. With the quick connect I was able to use a loaner vacuum pump and gauges from oreilleys to draw a vacuum and test that there were no leaks.

Once you have a vacuum the order in which you fill the system and then disconnect the lines is key. If you disconnect your gauges while it's under vacuum then it will quickly fill back up with air. However if you release a little of the Freon to get back to neutral pressure and then remove the gauges, all is well. Once the gauges are off you can then release the rest of the Freon.

I was surprised at the size of the condenser outside. My unit is 12,000 btu but it's much larger than other mini splits I've seen. So be sure to read the dimensions as not all are the same.

Other than the pain it was to bend the lines and hide everything inside the wall, the rest went pretty smooth. Be sure to buy all your adaptors and specialty tools online as Home Depot doesn't have anything for HVAC connections or tools.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback on this post.
Satellite of Love
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Pics of the final products? Let's see those finishing skills!
Foamcows
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I didn't take that many photos of it being installed, but here is what I have. https://imgur.com/a/WOYnpS1
Gary79Ag
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kcag96
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What did you use to insulation the garage door? For attic insulation, did you go with blown-in or batt?

Also, did you consider having insulation blown into the wall, rather than removing sheetrock to insulate?
Dr. Doctor
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I do own a tubing bender. Could have given me a shout. Makes bending copper tubes a cinch.

But too little, too late.

~egon
Foamcows
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Garage was insulated using a kit I found online. Claims to be an r value around 8. Ultimately I like how it's a single piece per door panel. It seems to be working.

All of the other walls and ceiling were already insulated when it was built. The only wall uninsulated was the one where I installed the unit. I couldn't use the cellulose insulation because of all of the horizontal 2x4s the builder installed. I would have ended up punching about 30 holes into the wall to fill the entire wall. It was easier to just rip out the wall which allowed me to install the slatboard and the wiring/circuit/hoses needed for the aircon

Ultimately this space will be a garage gym and thus the plastic paneling on the lower four feet. It will allow me to hose out the space and not worry about soaking the drywall.
BCOBQ98
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Foamcows, you are my hero for going from thinking about it to installed in less than a month.

Two years I added on another two car garage which the intention of making the old garage a A/C office/workshop. I finally completed the wall between the two and am ready to start the A/C work.

It seems you took the minimal approach to install. Were the flare's on the line sets in good shape? Sounds like you didn't remove the Schrader valves or use a digital vacuum gage nor test and purge the lines with nitrogen. Don't take this as a slight. I'm just trying to determine how crazy I need to go.

Was there anything with the pioneer brand you weren't happy with?
mneisch
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Just to followup, I also have a Pioneer 12k BTU that has been running for the last year in my enclosed sunroom. Did the install all myself in just the same way, vacuuming the lines and holding to test for leaks. Didn't nitrogen purge or cut the lines (no need to flare). Haven't had a single issue and I am extremely happy with the unit.
Dr. Doctor
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If you are installing fresh, new copper lines, you don't need to test and purge with nitrogen. The only thing you are testing is the connections to make sure you don't have micro leaks.

Run your lines, pull a vacuum and see if it holds. You can pressure it up with compressed air and see if it holds minimal pressure before allowing refrigerant to come into contact with the lines. Then pull another vacuum and let it sit overnight.

You use nitrogen instead of air due to water and trying to dry things out. But letting wet air sit for 2 hours isn't going to damage a system; also, if you let a nearly pure vacuum sit overnight, you'll get any water out that you might have put in (think adsorption of water onto the surface of copper).

If you get a good vacuum pump (or can borrow one), they can run all night and not damage it. I knew of several in grad school that were left on 24/7 for years without damage in chemistry set-ups. And trust me, they were not babied or coddled. And dealt with much worse chemicals than what's present in an AC system.

~egon
marmer
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Thank you very much for sharing this video. I recently chose which mini split system to buy, though it was necessary for our country house. I found this article https://coolingfanreview.com/tower-ac-vs-split-ac/ on the Internet and I liked that I could find the description of different models in one place. I think this can also be useful for someone. I also planned to start installing this split system by myself, but I didn't have enough time for this, I had to call the master. But I thought it was a good idea to install air conditioning in the garage.
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