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Old 12-10-2017, 06:38 PM   #1
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Concealing a Mini Split AC

I'd like to install a mini split AC unit in my trailer (restoration thread is Tale of a '55 FC Whale Reno) for its efficiency and quiet operation. I've seen the condenser units placed on tongues or bumpers, but would rather have it concealed. My hope is to place it as shown in the drawing with the lines between the air handler and condenser running in the wall, but I'm not an HVAC expert and would like to know if this is viable. Can I get some input from those of you who have done this and/or considered it?

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Essentially I want to extend the kitchen counter under the window to create a space to house the condenser. This would step the kitchen cabinet down and appear as a little coffee table at the end of the gaucho. The condenser will be isolated in a sealed and insulated plenum within the cabinet and will be sized to provide specified clearances. I will have a screened air intake below the unit with sides to isolate the cavity of the belly pan from the air intake. On the streetside I will have a screened, louvered hatch for the exhausted air. I hope to run the lines between the 2 units within the wall cavity and I hope to hide the air handler in a specially fabricated head locker. I realize this will take away from my cabinet space; however, it's a tradeoff I am willing to accept.

Appreciate your thoughts,
Bubba
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Old 12-10-2017, 06:50 PM   #2
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To clarify, I see you have one side of the outdoor unit moving air to the outside, how are you getting fresh air to the input side of the outdoor unit? Through the floor?
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:02 PM   #3
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Bubba,

Haven't done a mini-split, but we put in a casement air conditioner just like you're planning. Inspiration was from Toastie and Becky B's threads. Links to those threads and details of our install start at post 346 of this thread. The 6 6-inch computer fans really help get the hot air out.

It was a lot of work to get right, but it's so much quieter and I love the idea of keeping the center of gravity low.

John
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by sgschwend View Post
To clarify, I see you have one side of the outdoor unit moving air to the outside, how are you getting fresh air to the input side of the outdoor unit? Through the floor?
I planned on cutting through the subfloor and placing a screen for the air intake to the unit. I would have to know the CFM the unit needs to determine the required square footage of the screened intake. Thanks, Bubba
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:28 PM   #5
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Seems like it would work. You can have a louvered hatch on the outside and some sort of intake on the bottom of the trailer. You could just make a box on the intake side of the fan and run that below the belly skin. I would say the width of the fan and about 6 inches deep would to it. Those fans don't run real fast.

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Old 12-10-2017, 07:56 PM   #6
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Bubba,

Haven't done a mini-split, but we put in a casement air conditioner just like you're planning. Inspiration was from Toastie and Becky B's threads. Links to those threads and details of our install start at post 346 of this thread. The 6 6-inch computer fans really help get the hot air out.

It was a lot of work to get right, but it's so much quieter and I love the idea of keeping the center of gravity low.

John
I started reading the posts. Sounds like a great system. How has it been working since you installed it? Anything you would do differently? I spent some time at Deerfield Academy a few years back. And why do you need AC up there? I like to have frozen to death. Thanks for the info. Bubba
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:35 PM   #7
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I would say one to one, sized matched to the outdoor unit opening.

The units I have are 240 VAC, one ton which uses a 15 amp 2 pole circuit breaker. It takes care of my 32X20' first floor.

With the VFD controlled compressor the unit has a seven to one variable output power. It is that range that makes the so much more efficient. From memory it didn't seem to be as large a range with small units. I recall the smallest size is a 1/2 ton, however it has the same minimum cooling rate as the one ton and the prices are the same. I used the Mitsubishi brand. The outdoor units are the same size, the indoor unit the 1/2 ton is smaller.
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Old 12-11-2017, 06:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba L View Post
I planned on cutting through the subfloor and placing a screen for the air intake to the unit. I would have to know the CFM the unit needs to determine the required square footage of the screened intake.
Don't forget that for screened openings, you have to increase the size of the opening to account for the reduction in area due to the wires that make up the screen filling part of the opening. If you go with quarter-inch welded wire mesh, the wires themselves take up 24% of the opening, so you will need to make the opening that much larger to get the same airflow.

For your louvered opening on the side for rain-proofing, that will also mean that you need 24% more (or larger) louvers to get the required opening size if those louvers are also screened.

I don't recommend using a smaller mesh. Quarter-inch welded-wire mesh will keep out most rodents and nesting insects other than termitesó and termites won't want to nest anywhere that there's no wood.

Side note: If you don't plan to run the a/c when the trailer is in motion, then instead of louvers on the side you could go with a top-hinged solid panel that you would open before starting the a/c. Then the only thing restricting airflow would be the wire mesh, not louvers. And the hinged panel could be weatherstripped to prevent water intrusion while driving. (your bottom panel could have a hinged cover as well, to keep out road grime in transit). If the hinged side panel is opened at a 45į angle, then the hinged panel will not restrict airflow at all.
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Old 12-11-2017, 07:10 AM   #9
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You might want to look at the Dometic Cool Can unit that is made for through the wall installations. We have these in our Alto units and they work quite well. You don't have to go through the floor with them and the vent area can likely be smaller.

https://www.dometic.com/en-ca/ca/pro...ol-cat-_-20787

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Old 12-11-2017, 07:18 AM   #10
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Price?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post
You might want to look at the Dometic Cool Can unit that is made for through the wall installations. We have these in our Alto units and they work quite well. You don't have to go through the floor with them and the vent area can likely be smaller.

https://www.dometic.com/en-ca/ca/pro...ol-cat-_-20787

Andrew T
I looked at those a few years back before deciding on a mini split. At the time they were pretty pricey. What does that unit cost?
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Old 12-11-2017, 08:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post
You might want to look at the Dometic Cool Can unit that is made for through the wall installations. We have these in our Alto units and they work quite well. You don't have to go through the floor with them and the vent area can likely be smaller.

https://www.dometic.com/en-ca/ca/pro...ol-cat-_-20787

Andrew T
I did consider the Cool Cat at one time, but found it hard to get detailed information. I even called Dometic to find out how noisy (in dB) the unit operated and they said it was not something they could divulge?!!?!?! I like the size and easier installation, but am worried about the noise, efficiency, and price.

Can you provide more detailed information? Installation guide? That sure would help.
Thanks,
Bubba
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:09 AM   #12
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Recommended clearance

Attached pic shows clearances recommended in the installation manual for my unit.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:27 AM   #13
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Vent my ac out of the back license plate, also add a big 12v fan for those very hot day. There was no way I was going to cut a big hole out the side and roof top ac was not even an option.

see post 799, 786 and 532
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...-38289-58.html

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Old 12-11-2017, 12:42 PM   #14
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Vent my ac out of the back license plate, also add a big 12v fan for those very hot day. There was no way I was going to cut a big hole out the side and roof top ac was not even an option.

see post 799, 786 and 532
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...-38289-58.html
toastie
Rooftop A/C was not an option for me either since I needed to squeeze through a 9 ft garage door. I have installed mini splits on two trailers so far. Fortunately the hole in the shell is only 2" in diameter and easily hidden.
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