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Mini-split AC system for garage?

Discussion in 'Texas' started by future328driver, Jul 20, 2020.

  1. future328driver

    future328driver Formula 3
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    Dec 10, 2001
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    Ken Thomas
    Has anyone installed a mini-split system in in your garage? Seriously considering it, but interested to know pros/cons.
     
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  2. EastMemphis

    EastMemphis Formula Junior
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    May 25, 2019
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    #2 EastMemphis, Jul 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
    I haven't installed the mini split system yet but I have it wired and plumbed. The system itself seems to be a great fit for a garage. There are two basic flavors. The less expensive flavor uses a heat pump that is restricted to a relatively high outside temperature to function. I think it's about 20F. If you live in a cold climate and want the mini split to heat your garage, you'll need the more expensive unit that can still heat at sub 20F temperatures. In Memphis, we hardly ever go below 20F so the cheaper unit will work well for me. In Dallas, you probably can get by with the less expensive model.

    Positives:
    Takes up no floor space.
    They can be both A/C and heater.
    They are extremely efficient.
    They are much quieter than a window unit.
    They are much cheaper than a traditional HVAC system.
    They are very easy to install. (except for the refrigerant connection)

    Negatives:
    They're not all that pretty.
    They require 220v and 40 amps.
    They need a drain plumbed into your sanitary sewer for the condensate. (code requirement)

    For my 24x26x10 garage, I'll be installing an 18,000 BTU system that costs about $2k.

    I have a drain as my garage was just built and I took that into consideration. If you cannot plumb a drain, you won't be able to get a permit to install it, and then you'll be on your own. It would likely cost more to install the drain then it will to buy the mini-split unit, unless you have a bathroom or kitchen nearby that you can tap into.

    If you do the refrigerant connection yourself, you'll void the warranty and likely ruin the unit too, unless you know exactly what you're doing. I'm going to do all the installation except that last step and have my HVAC company do that for me. It should be a 20 minute job for them.

    Your local building code may be different. Call your local building code enforcement to find out if this applies to you. We live in TN which is pretty loose in regard to building codes, and it's still a requirement here.
     
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  3. future328driver

    future328driver Formula 3
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    Ken Thomas
    Thanks. Great info.


     
  4. colombo2cam

    colombo2cam Formula Junior

    Jan 31, 2019
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    Ted
    I have installed them in my 2 home garages and have been very happy. Super efficient - I have a hanging gas fired heater for extreme low temperatures - the mini-splits work but its not there sweet spot. The biggest advantage is no vents need to be installed. Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
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  5. Justicepool

    Justicepool Karting
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    Apr 17, 2019
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    Yes, I had one in my last house. Normal 2 car garage. Absolutely loved it. I'm getting ready to install one in the new house. Been in a year without one and the garage is an oven. They work really well, do not take up much space, and are efficient.


    John
     
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  6. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    There are new homes being built with nothing but mini-splits. I have one. Works great.
     
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  7. sidtx

    sidtx F1 Rookie
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    Feb 9, 2014
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    Here's a video of a partial install, only the compressor and plumbing, they haven't done the inside components yet.

    This is apparently for an entire house, with 4 "splits".

    Linus is a little annoying, but he always has good info, and his Tech-Tips is a great channel.




    Sid
     
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  8. osuav8r

    osuav8r Karting
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    Feb 16, 2005
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    Houston, TX
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    Alan
    I've personally installed 3 different units. I put in 2 Pioneer brand units which are chinese imports. I was fairly happy with them, but one did give up the ghost after about 2 years. Most local ac companies wouldn't even come out to take a look at them if they didn't install them. Was quoted $800 to evacuate and recharge just to further troubleshoot the problem. I spent a little more money and put in a Daikin mini split which seemed to be much higher quality. They are a large Japanese AC company that builds a quality product, but they don't charge the premium that Mitsubishi and Fujitsu do. My cousin was a mechanical engineer for them for awhile and had glowing things to say about their Qc and production process. The install isn't that hard..... Basically, you mount the indoor unit to the wall after cutting a 2.5" or so hole in the wall to poke the lines through, mount the outdoor unit, run power to the outdoor unit, connect the copper lineset, then vacuum the system out for an hour or so before you release the refrigerant into the system by turning a couple allen bolts on the outdoor unit. All the big name auto parts stores have loan a tool programs where you can borrow a vacuum pump for free. There is a sealant called Nylog that you smear on the inside of the flare fittings to prevent leaks. You want the blue bottle that is compatible with the R410a refrigerant in the modern mini splits and not the red stuff. It's about $10 on amazon. And you need a hose to match the service port ont he ac unit so you can attach it to the vacuum pump to evacuate the system. It's pretty straight forward and if you know how to run the electrical circuit to power it and have normal handyman skills, you can do it! Any questions, feel free to Pm me and I'd be happy to chat about it. I did my own because local ac companies wanted $5k plus installed for a unit that you could buy online for like $1800. My last daikin set me back about $1100 for an 18k BTU.
     
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  9. Borrow’d Mine

    Borrow’d Mine Formula Junior
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    Nov 28, 2019
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    Florida
    Do you bring the cars in hot or let then cool first before bringing into garage? I’ve read where some people do a cool down first to keep the ac from working overtime.


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat
     
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  10. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Haven’t thought about that. It couldn’t hurt, but proper insulation is a bigger concern.


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat
     
  11. Justicepool

    Justicepool Karting
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    They are ultra efficient. I never cooled my car down before pulling in.
     
  12. Borrow’d Mine

    Borrow’d Mine Formula Junior
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  13. colombo2cam

    colombo2cam Formula Junior

    Jan 31, 2019
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    Ted
    Not an AC person for sure but recovery has to do with proper sizing - anytime you open an 8 X 6 door and have a hot car in a small space if the unit is not the correct size it will take a long time for the space to get the space to the optimal temperature.
     
  14. kens

    kens Formula Junior
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    Jun 25, 2006
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    I can vouch about the need for insulation. In my two car garage, I have a 15k BTU window unit mounted in a side door. The temperature is only reduced about ten degrees. The window unit plus a directed floor fan works for the most part.
     
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  15. Justicepool

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    I did have the garage insulated. I had blow in insulation put in the walls and attic area. I've done this to my new garage, just gotta get electricity ran to install the new unit.
     
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  16. A12pilot

    A12pilot Karting
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    Aug 11, 2018
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    Glen Rose area of TX
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    I’ve been searching these for my big shop ever since I installed on in my wife’s tack room in her barn. It’s amazing how well it cools. It’s a Hessaire model I bought through Home Depot. I installed it, but had an A/C company route the Freon lines and evacuate/charge the system. $700 for the unit, $550 for the work. Extremely happy with it so i started searching for the larger units for my shop. I have high ceilings, 15ft and it’s a 30x40 shop. It’s insulated on the walls and ceiling with 2” of closed foam spray insulation. In addition, the walls will be tongue and groove pine as will the ceiling which will be dropped creating a large insulating air space between the paneling and the roof. I have three 7ft diameter ceiling fans as well. I think a larger one of the 30K BTU rating would cool it well. The trick too will be to replace the large roll up barrel doors with insulated Overhead Doors which will seal the whole shop.

    I’ll post up more info as I find it too.

    Cheers
    Dave
     
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  17. Dougster

    Dougster Karting

    Feb 28, 2013
    130
    Dallas TX Area
    I Put a 36k btu mini-split in my 30x40 insulated shop a few years ago. I don't use it all that often and it won't get the shop ice cold on a hot Texas day, but it can keep it around 78-80 and comfortable enough to work in. It also comes in handy for heating during the winter although I don't use it for the primary heat. I did the installation myself. The unit comes precharged with R410a and as long as the lines between the inside and outside unit aren't too long (I think mine are ~15 feet?) you shouldn't need to add more, but you will need a vacuum pump to evacuate the lines before you open up the valves.

    The positives are cost and ease of installation. To me the biggest negative is that most HVAC companies don't seem to service them, although I really haven't had any issues so this is somewhat perception on my part. FYI I purchased the unit online from Ingrams Air and Water and they were great to work with and provided excellent support. I am not an HVAC guy by any means but they helped make it easy for a DIY guy with general system knowledge and tools to put it in.
     
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  18. WJC

    WJC Formula Junior

    Apr 28, 2004
    812
    Chicago, IL
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    Joe C.
    I installed a Daikin in my free standing Chicago three car garage and have really enjoyed it. However, couple of things I would share: Insulation will be key if that isn’t already complete - walls and/or garage doors, making sure seals around garage doors are good, but ensure you are purchasing a unit that can be scheduled. I bought the least expensive, good quality unit, but it wasn’t ‘smart’ and could only be changed by remote - UGH!!! HOW DID I OVER LOOK THIS?? I ended up having to get a Sensibo unit to turn off and on the unit and to turn on the a/c / heat if the temps get above or below specific levels. Been happy ever since!
     
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  19. Justicepool

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    Apr 17, 2019
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    Having them installed in my garage and shop now (shop = my man cave). I had blow in insulation added to my garage and my shop has spray foam insulation. I'm having a single 2 ton Daikin unit installed in the garage. It is a standard sized two car garage with an insulated garage door. In my shop I am having (5) separate 2 ton units spaced out in the shop for a total of 10 tons. It is a little over kill, but my shop has 20' side walls and the peak much taller and is 3,000 sq. ft. It has a single large insulated garage door. I'm impressed with the quality of the daikin units. I'll update as to how effective it is in the shop. (Yes, my shop is a mess and I have tons of decluttering to do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
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  20. future328driver

    future328driver Formula 3
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    John, looks great. That garage unit is exactly what I am looking for. Who did your install?
     
  21. Justicepool

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    Apr 17, 2019
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    Ken I used Artic Air out of Midland/Odessa. Very pleased with the install and unit. Walked out to a 68 degree garage this morning (had the thermostat set on 70). Yesterday it was 100 in the garage when the unit was turned on, within 2 hours it was down to 80 degrees. All of the mechanical portion is done in the shop and they will be back on Monday to run electrical and finalize the shop install. I am really looking forward to seeing how effective they are in my shop.
     
  22. Justicepool

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    Apr 17, 2019
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    Just ordered six of those Sensibo units for my garage and shop. Thanks for mentioning them! I love controlling the units from my phone.
     
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  23. Justicepool

    Justicepool Karting
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    Apr 17, 2019
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    Got the shop units wired up and turned on today. The units were turned on around 4:30 this afternoon. The shop is already down to 71 degrees! I'll be spending more time in my "man cave" for sure from now on.

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  24. mikeswplt

    mikeswplt Rookie
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    Jul 28, 2007
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    Lago Vista, TX
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    Michael
    Just finished a DIY install of Mitsubishi ceiling cassette mini split. Nice clean look and so far has
    kept the Cavallino cool and comfortable despite the glass garage door. It helps that the entire
    garage was foam insulated when we built the house.
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