Where To Install A Mini Split: Everything You Need to Know
One of the big decisions that comes with installing a mini split HVAC system is where to place the units. Maintaining your home’s design principles is important. But, you also don’t want to place the air handlers or heat pumps in places that will make them work less efficiently.
As a product manager for the HVAC distributor Peirce Phelps with more than a decade in the field, I’m here to help.
I work directly with dozens of HVAC installers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. They’ve installed thousands of ductless mini split systems, and we collaborate on the best practices for optimal home comfort, performance, and appearance.
In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about mini split placement. We’ll go over your options for indoor units, what to watch for when deciding where to install each component, and answer a few related questions.
If you want to learn more about how an energy-efficient mini split heating and cooling system works or can enhance home’s comfort without affecting its aesthetics, use our dealer locator to find a certified installer near you. They’ll provide a free consultation to answer all your questions.
Planning For Installation
Planning a mini split installation starts with a professional HVAC tech doing a load calculator to determine the size and capacity of the ductless units you’ll need and how many air handlers your system will require.
The average lifespan of heat pump system can reach two decades, so you want to ensure you’ve chosen the best possible models.
The next step is choosing the models that best suit your needs and decide where to place them.
Air Handler Options
There are several indoor air handler options available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
The high-wall air handler is the most common. It’s easy to install and works in most locations. These rectangular units sit on the wall near the ceiling.
The low-wall air handler, which mounts close to the ground, is often used in rooms with limited wall space. It’s discreet and won’t interfere with your home’s decor.
For homeowners who want a more seamless installation, a recessed cassette air handler may be the best choice. This unit is mounted in the ceiling and works well in larger rooms and open-plan spaces.
Tips For Ideal Mini Split Placement
Both performance and appearance when deciding on mini split placement for both indoor and outdoor units.
Where to Place Mini Split Indoor Units
The air handlers are much more noticeable than the heat pump outside. And, their placement has a significant effect on their performance.
Easy Accessibility For Maintenance and Cleaning
Any indoor unit should be easily accessible so you can easily clean the filter every month. This reduces dust accumulation, which results in performance issues and trouble controlling humidity levels. A professional should also be able to access it easily for regular mini split maintenance.
Symmetry For Optimal Aesthetics
Symmetry plays an important role in your home’s aesthetic appearance It also affects your air handlers. Centering a wall-mounted unit in the room with enough clearance from the ceiling looks good and ensures equal air distribution throughout the space.
Focus on Equal Air Distribution
Furniture location, wall decorations, and window placement also affect your ductless system’s ability to heat and cool. Stay clear of obstacles to achieve balanced circulation.
Mini Split Outdoor Unit Placement For Best Performance
Ductless heat pumps are the outdoor units in a mini split. They also need enough room to work properly:
Distance From the House
You should install a ductless mini split heat pump as close to the house as possible to reduce the length of the refrigerant lines running to the indoor unit.
If possible, mount the unit to the house or place it a few feet from the exterior wall.
Adequate Space For Ideal Airflow and Circulation
Steer clear of obstructions such as plants, trees, a terrace, or walls. Heat pumps need at least three feet of space to properly transfer heat to or from the outside air.
You can place one under a deck so long as there’s enough clearance.
Position the outdoor unit’s fan away from the house. This ensures air and heat energy don’t get trapped near the unit.
Where Should You Not Install A Mini Split?
Here are some areas to avoid when planning to install a mini split:
Installing a mini split in direct sunlight affects efficiency and the heating or cooling process. Indoor and outdoor units can overheat and struggle to maintain the desired temperature.
If you must install the heat pump on the north side of your home, use awnings, shades, or plants to block the unit from direct sunlight. Just make sure these objects aren’t too close to it.
Whenever possible, mount air handlers on exterior walls so the lines run behind the unit and go directly outside. Otherwise, an installer will run a line set along the walls, which affects the look and feel of a room.
Under Objects or Covering
You may be tempted to camouflage an air handler or protect a heat pump from damage. But, you’ll obstruct airflow, affecting performance and efficiency.
In Cramped Spaces
Likewise, installing units in cramped space restricts airflow.
Mini Split Placement FAQs
Here are some answers to a few more frequently-asked questions about mini split placement: You can also schedule a free consultation with one of our certified dealers to learn more about installing a mini split in our Cherry Hill, NJ home or anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region.
How far from the ceiling should a mini split be?
A mini split air handler should be six inches from the ceiling. This space is ideal for the unit to circulate air properly throughout the entire room. The unit also needs to be level when installed to avoid any condensate draining issues.
Can a mini split be placed above a window?
A mini split air handler shouldn’t be placed above a window. It needs to be at least six inches from the ceiling, and the space above the window usually isn’t enough. Also, windows aren’t insulated, which will affect airflow and circulation.
What happens if my mini split is too big for the room?
A mini split that’s too big for the room sends too much warm or cold air into the room and quickly shuts off. The temperature changes quickly and the system turns back on. This affects comfort and creates extra wear and tear.