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Thread: Installed a mini-split in the workshop today.

  1. #1

    Installed a mini-split in the workshop today.

    I've been wanting a mini-split in the shop for years but had put it off due to lack of knowledge. With the heat of summer coming soon, I decided now was the time. Had to learn some new skills. How to flare copper, vacuum refrigerant lines and play with manifold gauges. I'm now a happy and comfortable boy. Even with buying the vacuum pump, flare tool and basic gauge, everything came in less than $1000 total.

    I bought the Pioneer 12K mini-split, vacuum gauge and lineset cover from Highseer because they have good online support. With shipping it was $840. The vacuum pump and flare tool I got off Amazon. Together about $100. The service disconnect and 6ft power whip came from Home Depot for less than $30.


    My shop is around 400 sq ft or so. It is so well insulated I think I would have been fine with the 9K unit but went with the 12K just to be sure it would handle the few over 100 degree days we have.


    I learned how to install it by watching several YouTube videos and taking lots of notes. For an even simpler install you can buy a Mr. Cool. They cost a few hundred more for the same size unit but the install would be easier. The lineset with the Mr Cool units comes pre-charged with refrigerant vs the compressor of the Pioneer unit, so you can't cut the premade lineset but since the line is fixed and per-charged, you don't have to pull a vacuum.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    SW Florida
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    92
    Congrats on getting it installed. I admire your courage to tackle it. I've had a Mitsubishi unit for over a year just waiting for me to install it, which in my case, will look a lot like me calling someone to do so.
    A wannabe woodworker!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    56,715
    Congrats! You'll enjoy having that thang keeping you comfortable year round for pennies.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Well done. When the inverter 410a units were installed I represented Fujitsu in the six New England States. Before I had a real understanding of the excellence of the heat pumps we just said it was “magic.” I think it won’t be long and everything will be inverter heat pumps and furnaces, gas and oil will be passé, and for good reason. Keep up with the maintenance, not only cleaning the filters, but cleaning the coil itself and the blower well. When you do the cleaning of the coil and fan you will not believe how much better and efficiently the unit works.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Commerce Township, MI
    Posts
    702
    I had a well insulated shop in SC with a 12K Mitsubishi mini split. It was more than adequite to heat and cool the 1120 sq. ft. 10.5' tall shop. Yours will be a refrigerator!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Dublin, OH
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    10
    Congratulations on the DYI. I had one sized for my garage shop, and was convinced by HVAC specialist that bigger wasn’t necessarily better and an appropriately sized unit would do a better job of keeping the humidity consistent. I moved before I installed one here in Ohio, but I’m considering whether to put one in the shop I’ll be building at my soon to be retirement home in norther Minnesota. Up North it will be mostly for heat, but also for humidity control on the big Lake shoreline.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Collegeville PA (30 min west of Philly)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Frederick View Post
    Well done. When the inverter 410a units were installed I represented Fujitsu in the six New England States. Before I had a real understanding of the excellence of the heat pumps we just said it was “magic.” I think it won’t be long and everything will be inverter heat pumps and furnaces, gas and oil will be passé, and for good reason. Keep up with the maintenance, not only cleaning the filters, but cleaning the coil itself and the blower well. When you do the cleaning of the coil and fan you will not believe how much better and efficiently the unit works.

    Hi Jack - do you have any recommendations on best methods to do those maintenance steps that you advise? For the filter, that's easy enough... Remove, shop vac away the accumulated dust (or whatever method you choose to achieve the same)... how about the coils and blower? Just hit with compressed air? Shop vac? Something else?

    Thanks!
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Woodstock, VA
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    899
    I need to do this as well. I put radiant in the floor and in the winter it rules but in the summer it a little inadequate!
    Since I live in a neighborhood I try to keep the doors closed when running loud machines. It gets kinda hot in there!

  9. #9
    Dust collection and ambient air filtration are key to a shop mini split. It is an event when I clean those in the house. I have four evaporators. I pull the whole cover off the machine. Tape plastic sheeting around the unit, down the wall and out onto the floor. Mine are in the house and I am very careful I don’t use plastic drop clothes as they are just to light. I gather the plastic into one of my big garbage cans. The water tight ones. Vacuum the face of the coil being very careful not to touch the AL coil. the fins bend if you look at them wrong. Probably 40% of the coil lays off down the back of the unit. If you put the unit to high it is very difficult to get the vac in there and you have to depend on washing. I have never cleaned with an air compressor. To much pressure will roll the fins. I have done mine with a pump sprayer with New Calgon coil cleaner. Check your manual to see what they allow. I haven’t seen any affect on the coil with the NC stuff. The pump sprayer is a pitn. My new method is I run a garden hose into the house. The end will lay in the barrel in case of leakage. On the hose I will put a 25# pressure reducer out of the garden watering dept to an adapter (female hose x 1/4” irrigation tubing), to a 1/4” shut off ball valve. The coils, if you can get at them aren’t to hard to wash, the 25# has been good and the small flexible tubing will greatly improve access. If you are comfortable removing the fan for cleaning, that is your best bet. I am not. I have proven over the years that I can take things apart. I have problems with the assembly is the reverse of dis-assembly thing. When it gets to cleaning the fan in place I tape the end of the small tube to a small dowel and wash things down. Be careful of your electronics All the while you are doing this, if you like, you can use my mantra, which essentially is, “Every time I begin to think I’m a pretty smart guy i end up in a position like this.” My oldest mini split is 14 yrs old now and with the exception of the cleaning hassle has been efficient and trouble free. Oh, one more thing. They make the small barbed couplings and 90’s for the 1/4” tubing. I find them useful in some spots to direct the spray.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Punta Gorda, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Wawro View Post
    I've been wanting a mini-split in the shop for years but had put it off due to lack of knowledge. With the heat of summer coming soon, I decided now was the time.
    Congrats, Terry. I completely relate. In the summer here, the garage shop is a sauna. And all that humidity is murder on the tools. I recently installed a window AC that's 12K. It's already in use.

    Enjoy your cool workshop this summer!
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

    Diapers and Politicians need to be changed often... Usually for the same reason.

  11. #11
    Congrats on staying cool this summer! I don’t blame you one bit. I do not tolerate the heat well at all. My shop is an odd layout. It is 90x25 and 25x70 plus 25x50 all as one. The ceiling is sloped from 16ft to 20ft or so. My shop was insulated with typical shop 48” wide rolls of insulation back years ago. Most of it is still ok but I need to replace about 30% of it. I bought a used 5 ton r410a unit a few years ago and it does an ok job except for those 100+ degree days. I also purchased another 3 ton r410a unit last year but have yet to install it. My shop is a little large for a mini split. I plan to eventually redo the insulation in my shop and install this other 3 ton a/c unit on the opposite side as my 5 ton unit.

    Wish I could find a good deal on some 48” rolls of insulation. The cheapest that I have found is Manards and they are at $216 for a 3” thick 48” wide x 67ft long roll.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Somewhere in the Land of Lincoln
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Robbinett View Post
    Congrats on staying cool this summer! I don’t blame you one bit. I do not tolerate the heat well at all. My shop is an odd layout. It is 90x25 and 25x70 plus 25x50 all as one. The ceiling is sloped from 16ft to 20ft or so. My shop was insulated with typical shop 48” wide rolls of insulation back years ago. Most of it is still ok but I need to replace about 30% of it. I bought a used 5 ton r410a unit a few years ago and it does an ok job except for those 100+ degree days. I also purchased another 3 ton r410a unit last year but have yet to install it. My shop is a little large for a mini split. I plan to eventually redo the insulation in my shop and install this other 3 ton a/c unit on the opposite side as my 5 ton unit.

    Wish I could find a good deal on some 48” rolls of insulation. The cheapest that I have found is Manards and they are at $216 for a 3” thick 48” wide x 67ft long roll.
    Just a suggestion because a friend did this. Check with any local pole building companies. Morton, Cleary, etc. He went to Morton buildings and bought the left over insulation not practical for them to use in their projects. It might be worth a try. I presume they would all have this leftover insulation.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Bartlesville, OK
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    71
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce McVeety View Post
    Congratulations on the DYI. I had one sized for my garage shop, and was convinced by HVAC specialist that bigger wasn’t necessarily better and an appropriately sized unit would do a better job of keeping the humidity consistent. I moved before I installed one here in Ohio, but I’m considering whether to put one in the shop I’ll be building at my soon to be retirement home in norther Minnesota. Up North it will be mostly for heat, but also for humidity control on the big Lake shoreline.
    Heat pumps of the air to air variety are not a great choice in the upper midwest. They will do fine for summer a/c and a bit of heat for cool days in the fall or late spring. They do not have capacity for winter heating in MN without a good heat source like ground water or underground heat. Both of these options require a lot of plumbing dug in deep in the north country. Even then, the heat pump units are very large and will still require some sort of supplemental heat on really cold days. On the flip side, the a/c in such a unit will be grossly oversize for MN summers. Of course, if you insulate the shop like it is a walk-in freezer (no windows; extreme insulation in walls, floor, & ceiling; completely sealed doors) not much heat or cooling is necessary even in MN.

  14. #14
    Dwanye, I'd invite you to read up on modern inverter powered systems - they are still able to heat down to -15F or so. I just passed my first winter (SE WI) with a Fujitsu Halcyon XLTH system and it did just fine on the few -10F nights we had. I might not suggest heating a home in International Falls with one but it would be fine for a shop space.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Somewhere in the Land of Lincoln
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    Congratulations on the mini split install Terry. I'm considering doing the same. I am just trying to determine whether I should install two smaller units or one larger unit. My shop is almost 1700 square feet with 14 foot ceilings. You should be able hang meat with that size unit in your shop if you so desire.

    So you had to vacuum the system and charge it? I'm surprised everything wasn't pre-charged. Where did you get the Freon? I'm licensed so not an issue but just curious.

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