Minisplit installation – outdoor unit

How do I prevent the minisplit outdoor unit from multiplying overnight?

Usually the outdoor unit is mounted on the building near ground level, but above the snow line, where it is easy to access and service. While visiting Sweden this summer, I saw a number of cottages with minisplits installed just that way.

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I am inspired by this but won’t attempt to duplicate it, because I am in Chicago. Some people may label a minisplit “green” because of its efficiency, and others may just see green when looking at it – green like Benjamin Franklins. I may be left with just the minisplit shell in the best case scenario, or with an outdoor unit that grew legs overnight and walked away.

This baby has to be mounted higher on the building, off the ground where it is difficult to reach…and fairly difficult to install, unless you have a small scaffold.


Fortunately, there are convenient wall mounting brackets for the minisplit, which we anchored into the exterior brick wall. Our installer, James Pruyn, fixed the outdoor unit on the bracket arms and connected the supply and return cooling lines we had roughed-in a couple of years back.

And then there was the electrical connection. Our 12,000 Btu minisplit runs on 220 volt, not the typical 110 volt. When I roughed-in the cooling lines, I also made sure to run an electrical conduit from the circuit breaker panel to the building exterior. I also had set aside two slots in the circuit breaker that would give us the needed 220 volts. All that was left to do was to install an emergency disconnect on the outside, pull the electrical cables through the empty conduit, and connect the cables to the minisplit.

The outdoor unit comes pre-charged with R410A refrigerant. But before we could charge the whole system (cooling return and supply lines and indoor unit), we needed to remove any remaining air and moisture. James connected a vacuum pump to the minisplit, and from then on it was a waiting game, as we waited until there was sufficient vacuum pressure.

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Well then – lets wait…

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

2 thoughts on “Minisplit installation – outdoor unit

  1. Nice, almost getting inspired to get one myself.
    But living i Sweden does not call for cooling very often …

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