Minisplit start up

The most exciting moment is when you get to start up a new gadget – like our minisplit.

The vacuum pump had been pulling air and moisture out of the cooling lines. Once we had an acceptable vacuum pressure, James Pruyn, our installer, disconnected the pump and opened the refrigerant valve on the outdoor unit. That allowed the lines and indoor unit to be charged with the R410A refrigerant.

We were able to power up the system, and after tinkering a minute with the remote control, we got the indoor unit to spit out cool air. I had to go back and fix the leak on the condensation line, but other then that, everything ran smoothly.

minisplit-21

minisplit-22

I like the summer sounds of cicadas and crickets chirping, but I dislike the ever annoying humming of air conditioners. I had been very concerned about the noise levels of our minisplit–not only of the indoor unit, but also the outdoor unit.

The indoor unit runs very quietly, even at full fan speed in cooling mode. When on low speed or “dry” mode, it makes no audible noise. I literally have to put my hand up to the unit to check that there is airflow because I can’t hear it.

The next check was the noise level on the outdoor unit. I saw the cooling fan running but could not hear anything. I had to climb up next to the unit to confirm that the compressor was cranking. I could hear my neighbor’s small window AC unit, but not our minisplit.

That was welcome news. It meant that even if we have a bedroom window open, we would not have to deal with the annoying humming that you typically would expect from an AC compressor.

A couple of weeks after the installation, James Pruyn called to asked how the system was running.

During the dog days of summer, I had the minisplit sometimes running during the day, but mostly at night, and mostly in “dry” mode. It turns the fan speed to low and slowly moves the indoor air over the cold heat exchanger coil of the indoor unit. This maximizes the moisture removal and at the same time keeps the indoor air temperature steady. On the few occasions when I had to lower the indoor air temperature, I switched to minisplit to “cool” mode at high fan speed for an hour or two. After that, the “dry” mode was able to maintain the desired temperature. To help with the distribution of the conditioned air, we used a small energy efficient pedestal fan to blow the air into the north or south part of the building.

In short, the minisplit was able to maintain a comfortable temperature and comfortable humidity levels (below 60% relative humidity) on the “low” setting at most times. James called it a perfectly sized system. He was right. And I should give credit to Lindsey Elton at the Eco Achievers, because she ran the energy model to determine what our cooling load would be and what size minisplit we should install. Thank you Lindsey!

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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.

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