How to Install a Mini-Split AC Heat Pump
An easy-install way to provide cooling and heating without ducts—and no window units
Q: How can we cool the room over our garage in the summer and warm it in the winter? No space heaters or window AC units, please! — Nadine Syrett, Williamsburg, Va.
A: Richard Trethewey replies: Sounds like you need a mini-split heat pump, which provides cooling and heating fairly unobtrusively without using ducts. It pushes refrigerant from an outdoor condenser directly to a wall-mounted air handler that blows hot or cold air into the room. Because there are no ducts to retrofit, the system is simple for a pro to install. And it provides excellent dehumidification, quiet operation, and great efficiency. Need to adjust the temperature or turn the unit off? Just use the remote control.
A single air handler can heat or cool up to 1,000 square feet, depending on the climate and system size. (In heating mode, it functions down to minus 13 degrees F, not a problem where you live.) For larger spaces, up to four independently controlled indoor units can connect to one condenser, for the ultimate in zoned comfort.
Pictured: Mark Pauletti of Arctic Mechanical, in Port Chester, New York, uses the remote to check the airflow from the indoor unit.
Install the Condenser
This unit should go in a shaded location outside the house where it can have at least 4 inches of clearance behind it and 20 inches of clearance above it and in front of it. The 119-pound unit can be mounted on brackets fastened to the wall, as shown, or bolted to concrete blocks resting on the ground.