It’s arguably the biggest question after determining the right size air conditioner for your application. Where do you place the indoor air handler? What about the outdoor compressor unit?
The good news is that flexibility is allowed. While others may prefer to have a wall air handler hanging from above the window, you may even choose ceiling cassette units that recess into the ceiling or floor-mounted units. Read on for the best tips and considerations.
Factors and Considerations
Before you begin the installation, it’s important to know the type of mini split you’re dealing with and where the indoor air handler and outdoor unit are typically installed.
Indoor Air Handler Types
The first thing you must consider when pondering mini split installation location is the indoor air handler type. Mini-split air conditioner can have one or a combination of the following air handler types;
- Wall-mounted air handlers
Wall-mounted air handlers are the most common type of mini split indoor units. They’re the easiest to install and also cheapest to install. Indeed, if you’re purchasing a DIY mini-split system, then you’re most certainly going to get wall-mounted air handlers. They install directly on the wall, often close to the ceiling. In most cases, they slide into a bracket fixed to the wall using screws.
Wall-mounted air handlers are an excellent choice if you have a sufficiently high ceiling with plenty of room between the top of the window and the ceiling.
- Floor-mounted air handlers
Floor-mounted mini split air handlers are almost similar to wall-mounted models. However, they install towards the bottom of the wall, very close to the floor. The majority are only 2-3 inches from the floor.
Floor-mounted mini split air handlers are an excellent choice for homes with high windows where there isn’t much room between the top of the window and the ceiling. They are also the best alternative to wall-installed air conditioners in homes with low ceilings.
- Ceiling cassette mini splits
Ceiling cassette mini splits are specially designed air handler systems installed onto the ceiling. They recess into the attic such that only the grille is visible from the ceiling. The rest of the unit hides behind the ceiling.
Ceiling cassettes are advantageous for their wider airflow. They’re the best at moving air evenly throughout the allocated area. Costumers also love them because they recess completely into the ceiling. Unfortunately, they are some of the most difficult to install of all mini-split air handlers.
- Concealed duct systems
Finally, concealed duct systems also install on the ceiling. However, they’re significantly different from ceiling cassettes and other mini split air handlers because they rely on concealed ducts to move air into and out of the allocated space.
Concealed duct systems are the most discrete mini split air handler systems. Your guests may not even identify where the cool air is coming from, especially if you have two or more ducts in the room. Unfortunately, they’re also difficult and expensive to install.
Outdoor Compressor types
Mini-split compressors are largely similar. The few differences are usually unique to the manufacturer rather than function. Nevertheless, single and multi-zone mini split compressors may require different installation considerations.
If your bedroom mini-split is a single-zone system, the installation location will mostly depend on the indoor air handler type. Wall air handlers are the simplest to work with. The most important thing is to keep the distance between the indoor and outdoor units as small as possible for energy efficiency reasons.
Additionally, make sure that the outdoor unit isn’t directly exposed to sunlight as this can impact cooling efficiency. Ideally, you want to install it on the exterior wall with sufficient shading but away from obstructions.
Identifying the best location for a multi-zone mini split compressor unit is a lot more challenging because you must think about the distance between the compressor and each air handler.
You don’t want some air handlers too far away from the compressor as it decreases cooling efficiency (and heating efficiency in winter). For this reason, you must identify a reasonably central location from all the air handlers.
The other considerations remain. For example, the compressor must be located away from direct sunlight in an open area with excellent airflow.
Tips for Mini-Split Indoor Unit Placement
With the above considerations in mind, the following tips and ideas can help you position your bedroom indoor air handler for optimal comfort and aesthetic impact.
Install it on an exterior wall
It doesn’t matter if you’re considering a few styling tips from your favorite celebrity. The air handler goes on the exterior wall. An exterior wall is a wall that sits between you and the outside world rather than an adjacent room in your house.
At least seven feet from the ground
Wall air handlers work best when installed at least seven feet from the floor. Remember that ceilings are eight feet high in a standard foot. This means that the wall air handler will be one foot from the ceiling. Lower placements compromise airflow due to obstructions such as cupboards and people crisscrossing the room.
Ensure sufficient clearance
Ceiling cassettes and concealed duct air handlers are inherently free from obstructions. However, wall-installed and floor-mounted units may encounter obstructions that can compromise airflow throughout the room. Floor-mounted units are especially at risk. Make sure to eliminate any distractions. Otherwise, you may encounter higher bills for no good reason.
Feel free to decorate
You’re allowed to decorate the room so that the air handler fits in better. For example, you can repaint the room so that your color schemes flow seamlessly across the room. You can also rearrange the furniture and other items in the bedroom to create more space for the AC while improving décor.
Or, Just Have it Above your Head
Most people have the bed positioned such that the head faces an exterior wall. In this case, you don’t have to overthink about placement. Just have the air handler above your head, as long as it’s also above the window height.