Best Place to Put the Mini Split Air Handler and Condenser


Mini splits typically are installed on the wall but they can be installed basically anywhere. However, the space clearance, positioning and the location of mini splits have a huge impact on the performance. Besides, if you are getting one, you might want to know how much space you need to reserve.

Generally, the indoor unit of mini splits should be installed at 7-8 feet above the floor with 8″ of space away from the ceiling. Most mini splits are best to be installed directly above the bedhead in the bedroom. As for the outdoor unit, it can be floor-mounted or wall-mounted but most people hang the outdoor unit on the wall at 1 ft above the ground.

Putting a mini split at the wrong place not only deteriorate its performance and cost you more money, but it also may cause you long-term health issues such as dry lips and headache.

Then, people ask where is the best place to put a mini split?

The truth is there is no best place to put a mini split. A mini split must be installed based on the space requirement recommended by the manufacturer.

However, the typical place for a mini split is directly above the bedhead in the bedroom. But, it is not always the case.

Therefore, understanding the space requirement, for both the indoor unit and the outdoor unit, and the reason behind the requirement will help you to decide where is the best place to a mini split.

Mini Splits Indoor Unit Placement

The two most important things about mini splits indoor unit placement are sufficient height above the floor and sufficient space from the ceiling.

Besides, the space clearance around the indoor unit also must be taken into consideration for serviceability.

Mini splits indoor unit basic requirement

Indoor Unit Minimum Space Requirement (by Manufacturers)

Typically, manufacturers recommend installing the indoor unit at 6 ft (1.8m) above the floor.

The minimum requirement for the space between the indoor unit and the ceiling is 1-3/16″ (30mm) or more.

For the side of the indoor unit, it should be 1-15/16″ (50mm) or more.

The minimum space requirement is different for every mini splits and you should always refer to the installation manual to find the manufacturer’s recommendation.

But, I genuinely think that the space recommended by some manufacturers is not practical when it comes to serviceability.

Having done servicing my own mini splits many times, I can tell you that it needs more space than the minimum requirement.

Recommended Indoor Unit Space Clearance (Important)

I recommend that you put the mini split indoor unit at 7-8 ft (2.1-2.4m) above the floor. For the space between the indoor unit and the ceiling, I recommend 8″ (200mm).

In addition, you should have 8″ (200mm) of clear space below the indoor unit. As for the side of the indoor unit, my recommended space clearance is 4″ (100mm).

We are considering not just the performance, but also the serviceability. When you follow the minimum requirement, the performance is guaranteed and the warranty is secured. But, it may be very difficult for you or even a professional to service the mini splits indoor unit.

To start, we need to consider giving more space above the indoor unit, not installing the indoor unit too close to the ceiling.

Here are some examples of why we need more space between the indoor unit and the ceiling:

We need to be about half of the head higher than the indoor unit in order to see the top part. We need to see the top part of the indoor unit so that we can unclip the pins and remove the whole cover for service and repair.

Top part of the indoor unit
We need to unclip

Trust me, if you can’t see the top part, it is very frustrating as the cover just won’t come out and they clip on very tight.

In addition, you also need to be able to see the top part of the coil in order to clean it. So, always give more space above the indoor unit.

So, it is not just about the performance, but it also concerns the actual service work, especially when we are going to do it ourselves in the future.

Here are some of the good indoor unit installations:

Comfortable posture
Can wash the top part
See he is smiling because he can see the top part =D

As you can see from the above photos, the service work looks so much easier to do compared to having to look upward all the time.

Furthermore, when you can stand higher than the indoor unit, you have a better posture and you don’t feel too tired after finishing the service work.

As for the side of the indoor unit, a space clearance of 4″ (100mm) will ensure that your hand can fit in and pull the cover out. The cover is kind of rotate downward, so the side space is not so critical.

Since we need to remove the cover, you’ll need to make sure that you have some space below the indoor unit. It is fine if the object is removable.

Must have DIY tools (self-pro):

1. Effective coil foam cleaner (click to buy on Amazon).

2. Fins comb to fix dented fins (click to buy on Amazon).

3. Waterproof cover bag for DIY chemical wash (click to buy on Amazon).

Relocating a mini split is a costly job. The refrigerant gas is wasted and damaging the environment, the wall need to hack and etc. Terrible.

Let’s look at some of the fail indoor unit installations:

I’ve seen too many improper indoor unit installations. Most of them are mild cases that are causing the owner to pay more for the energy usage than he/she realized.

Alright, I’ve shown you the principle behind the mini split indoor unit placement. I hope you have an idea now on where is the best place to put a mini split.

Quick FAQs:

  1. Can you put a mini split above a TV? You can put a mini split above a TV. But, do make sure that it is at least 3.3 ft (1m) away from the TV to avoid potential electronic interference.
  2. Can you mount a mini split on ceiling? Most mini splits are wall-mounted which means they have to be installed on wall. However, you can mount ceiling cassette and ceiling suspended mini splits on ceiling.

Next, positioning the mini split indoor unit is also important. However, I’ve covered it extensively in my previous articles since it is room-specific.

So, I encourage you to continue reading those articles first before you come back here for the outdoor unit and other aspects of mini splits placement. It is important, especially for the bedroom.

Jump to articles for specific room:

Summary of indoor unit placement:

  1. Must at least met the minimum requirement set by the manufacturer to secure warranty.
  2. Both the supply and return air must have a clear path.
  3. Cover must be able to open and remove.
  4. Cold air should not blow directly to a person (especially in the bedroom).
  5. For a kitchen, don’t put the indoor unit near to heat sources such as ovens and stoves.

Mini Splits Outdoor Unit Placement

The outdoor unit placement is more straightforward than the indoor unit. We just need to make sure that the ambient air can flow through its coil.

Nevertheless, the two most important things for mini splits outdoor unit placement are sufficient space for service access and good airflow.

Mini splits outdoor unit basic requirement

Outdoor Unit Minimum Space Requirement (by Manufacturers)

Again, every mini split has a different space requirement, so make sure to check the installation manual.

Nevertheless, some manufacturers recommended that you leave 9-13/16″ (250mm) of space away from the wall at the refrigerant pipe and wiring connection side.

Most of the time, it is recommended to have a space of 4″ (100mm) at the back of the outdoor unit.

As for the front of the outdoor unit where the air is discharged, it is recommended to allow 12″ (300mm) of space clearance.

Detailed examples referring to the following drawing:

Sometimes, the recommendation from manufacturers is steered towards the performance guarantee rather than taking serviceability into account.

In another word, if you installed less than the minimum space requirement, the manufacturer has the right to void the warranty when something happens to the mini split due to insufficient space clearance. In contrast, if the mini split is installed more than the space requirement, it’s fine.

Hence, similar to the indoor unit, we need to account the space for service and repair especially when the outdoor unit is the place where works such as refrigerant charge and running amp measurement are performed.

Recommended Outdoor Unit Space Clearance (Several Options)

The outdoor unit is either floor mount or wall mount. For wall mount, you usually don’t have much choice because space is restricted by the wall bracket size. For floor mount, you can have more space for better serviceability.

Below are three options for a typical wall mount mini split outdoor unit:

Option 1: Low Hanging Outdoor Unit

Low hanging outdoor unit needs 1-1.3 ft (300-400mm) above the floor. Allow 18″ (450mm) of space between two outdoor units.

The space above the outdoor unit should have 12″ (300mm). If possible, give 3.3 ft (1000mm) of space clearance for service and repair.

Good things:

  • Comfortable posture
  • No need a ladder
  • Easy to service, tools on floor

Bad things:

  • Dog pee
  • Taken up space
  • Longer refrigerant pipe length

Option 2: Medium Hanging Outdoor Unit

Medium hanging outdoor unit needs 3.3-3.6 ft (300-400mm) above the floor. Allow 18″ (450mm) of space between two outdoor units.

The space above the outdoor unit should have 12″ (300mm). If possible, give 3.3 ft (1000mm) of space clearance for service and repair.

Good things:

  • Standing position
  • No need a ladder
  • Better for the lower back

Bad things:

  • Air blowing at face level
  • Taken up space
  • Not good looking

Option 3: High Hanging Outdoor Unit

High hanging outdoor unit needs 7-8 ft (2.1-2.4m) above the floor. Allow 18″ (450mm) of space between two outdoor units.

The space above the outdoor unit should have 12″ (300mm). If possible, give 3.3 ft (1000mm) of space clearance for service and repair.

Good things:

  • Shorter refrigerant pipe length
  • Less risk of damage
  • Save space

Bad things:

  • Need a 6 ft ladder
  • Harder to service
  • Noise if near to windows

The location of the outdoor unit is all about serviceability and good airflow.

Never put a mini split outdoor unit in an enclosed room. It will trip and stop working in just a few minutes after turning on.

Most of the time, force ventilating the outdoor unit in an enclosed room may work but the airflow rate of the ventilation fan must match with the outdoor unit.

Sometimes, the space above the outdoor unit is not so critical. We are allowing some space for us to move the outdoor unit when necessary.

Hence, if you don’t have the space, it’s ok not to reduce the space above the outdoor unit to about 1-2″ (25-50mm).

If you want to put the outdoor unit on the ground, always have a concrete slab or bracket to lift the unit about 4″ (100mm) above the ground to prevent the bottom of the outdoor unit from submerging in rainwater.

In addition, always put rubber pads or vibration isolators under the leg of the outdoor unit to reduce vibration and noise especially if you are going to mount the unit on the wall.

Best Outdoor Unit Accessories:

1. Outdoor unit WALL mounting bracket (click to buy on Amazon).

2. Outdoor unit FLOOR mounting bracket (click to buy on Amazon).

3. Outdoor unit vibration isolators (click to buy on Amazon).

I think showing you photos of some of the bad outdoor unit installations will give you more ideas. So, let’s look at some of them:

So, the basic principle for the outdoor unit placement is all about serviceability and good airflow.

I hope you are able to decide which is the best place to install the outdoor unit in your house.

Quick FAQs:

  1. Does a mini split have to be on exterior wall? Mini splits outdoor unit does not necessarily need to be on exterior wall. You can put a mini split on interior wall as long as there is a good flow of ambient air.
  2. Can you put a mini split condenser in the garage? It is not recommended to put a mini split outdoor unit or condenser in the garage. Although the garage has a large space, there is no air movement and hot air will stay around the condenser, causing the condenser to drop in performance.
  3. Can you put mini splits in attic? Attic is an enclosed space. Thus, mini splits are not suitable to put in attic. Mini splits required ambient air for heat exchange. So, you should put mini splits outside the house for optimal performance.

Now that you know where to put the mini split. Next, I have some articles related to the mini splits outdoor unit.

If you are interested to know more about it, follow the link below:

Conclusion

The indoor unit of mini splits should be installed up high on the wall at a few inches below the ceiling and positioned in such that the cold air doesn’t blow directly onto your body.

As for the outdoor unit, it should be located in a well-ventilated place so that heat exchange is efficient and thus, achieve optimal performance and not wasting energy.

The two most important things about mini splits indoor unit placement are sufficient height above the floor and sufficient space from the ceiling.

Since the indoor unit cover needs to be removed, make sure that there is some space below the indoor unit. It is fine if the object is removable.

Summary of indoor unit placement:

  1. Must at least met the minimum requirement set by the manufacturer to secure warranty.
  2. Both the supply and return air must have a clear path.
  3. Cover must be able to open and remove.
  4. Cold air should not blow directly to a person (especially in the bedroom).
  5. For a kitchen, don’t put the indoor unit near to heat sources such as ovens and stoves.

Must have DIY tools (self-pro):

1. Effective coil foam cleaner (click to buy on Amazon).

2. Fins comb to fix dented fins (click to buy on Amazon).

3. Waterproof cover bag for DIY chemical wash (click to buy on Amazon).

The two most important things for mini splits outdoor unit placement are sufficient space for service access and good airflow.

If you installed less than the minimum space requirement, the manufacturer has the right to void the warranty. In contrast, if the mini split is installed more than the space requirement, it’s fine.

You can hang the outdoor unit at three different levels. Each has it own good and bad. The space above the outdoor unit is not so critical.

But, always have a concrete slab or bracket to lift the unit about 4″ (100mm) above the ground. In addition, always put rubber pads or vibration isolators under the leg of the outdoor unit to reduce vibration and noise.

Best Outdoor Unit Accessories:

1. Outdoor unit WALL mounting bracket (click to buy on Amazon).

2. Outdoor unit FLOOR mounting bracket (click to buy on Amazon).

3. Outdoor unit vibration isolators (click to buy on Amazon).

Yu Chang Zhen

Yu was working in the air conditioning industry for the past 7 years, covering from design to installation and maintenance. Yu wish to share all the things he learned with the people around the world.

Recent Posts