Is it hard to install a split system air conditioner?

Exploring mini-split system air conditioners and whether they can be installed without the help of a professional.


So, you have decided to invest in an air conditioning system for your home, particularly a mini-split cooling system, and you are thinking of attempting to install it on your own. Although it is recommended that installations be left to the experts, you can install some air conditioners yourself.

If you have decided on installing your mini-split cooling system yourself, it is important that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into and what the process entails. You must ensure that you install it correctly.

Installing a split system air conditioner

The installation of electrical appliances should generally be handled by experts who are trained to handle complex electrical appliances.

The same applies to air conditioning systems, but sometimes, people prefer to install their own units if it is manageable and safe, or if they have some experience with installing an air conditioner.

In the case of a mini-split air conditioner, you can install it on your own, but you need to consult your manual for extra information.

Is it hard to install a split system air conditioner?

Fortunately, with mini-split air conditioners, some units are DIY (do-it-yourself), however, they differ.

A DIY mini-split installation requires a condensing unit to be located outside, an air handler inside your home, and refrigerant lines to connect the units and electrical wire to power the units.

Most ductless mini-split systems are installed by professionals because the refrigerant lines need to be cut and charged.

It is also possible to install the air handler and condenser unit by yourself, then call a professional afterwards to finish the refrigerant line setup.

In DIY systems, the refrigerant line is already charged, which makes the process easier. Mini-split units are regarded easier to install because there is no ductwork involved.

Other types of mini-split systems are simpler to install, i.e., single-zone ductless mini-split systems.

What are the different types of mini-split air conditioning systems?

Mini-split units have three types of units that you can choose from, and they differ because of their sizes and their abilities to cool multiple rooms.

Single-zone ductless mini-split units are the simplest to install and are the smallest, with only one air handler and one condenser.

Dual-zone mini-split systems come as two air handlers and a single condenser for the outside, while multi-zone mini-split units come with as many air handlers as one needs to cool down multiple areas.

Multi-zone mini-splits are the most complex to install.


·   Designed to cool or heat one area

·   Units include a single air handler and single condenser unit

·   Are the smallest and simplest to install


·   Designed to cool or heat two areas

·   Include two air handlers powered by a single condenser

·   Ideal for the whole home where temperatures need to be regulated in multiple rooms


·   Designed to cool or heat multiple areas

·   Are designed to accommodate multiple air handlers

·   Installation is more complex than that of other systems

What you need to consider when installing a mini-split ductless air conditioner

Choosing the right British Thermal Unit (BTU) size unit matters as this will ensure your cooling or heating needs are well met and that your electricity bills do not fluctuate or soar.

Consider the type of mini-split system you need for the space or spaces you need to cool. Look for units with good to excellent energy efficiency, so the higher the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), the better the ratings.

Lastly, consider the placement of both the outside condenser unit and indoor air handler. Outdoor units need to be placed on exterior walls for easy installation.

Should you follow up with a professional?

For added assurance and confidence, it could be good to consult with a professional after you have installed your mini-split system.

This will offer you peace of mind in knowing that an expert verified  that your unit was properly and safely installed and that you can be sure you will not encounter any issues from improper installation complications.

Professionals will ensure that your connections are secure and will handle dangerous dry nitrogen and refrigerant. Hiring an electrician is advised to  power the unit properly.

Final thoughts

If you have purchased a mini-split air conditioner, you will be happy to know that you can actually install a single-zone, ductless, mini-split unit yourself, which is the easiest and smallest mini-split system you can install.

Mini-split systems tend to be easy to install if you know what you are doing. Your multi-zone ductless mini-split systems are more complex, though, since they are designed to be installed in multiple areas to cool more than one space.

Consulting a professional once you are done with installation to check everything will give you peace of mind.

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