Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: mini-split

Air Conditioning a Workshop: A Follow Up

Air Conditioning a Workshop

Nothing kills my spirit like a hot, humid workshop.  In the past, I avoided the workshop for the entire summer.  So when we decided to move, an air-conditioned workshop was at the top of my list.  I figured the cost would justify itself in a single summer.  Georgia summers are long and damp.

If you haven’t yet, check out the ductless mini-split air-conditioner installation.

The Benefits

My unit is a 12,000btu Mitsubishi Mr. Slim heat-pump.  It provides heating as well as cooling.  While it is pricier than a window unit, it is much more efficient.  In fact, I keep the shop at a cool 70 degrees, and there hasn’t been a noticeable increase in our power bill.

Another plus is noise.  The unit is very quiet.  It is an excellent choice for anyone who makes video.

The unit is also small.  The indoor unit occupies very little wall space.  You’ll forget it’s even there.

Considerations

  • Dust.  Workshops are full of it.  Air-conditioners hate it.  Clean your filters often.  My manual states that the filters should be cleaned every couple of weeks.  I clean mine at least once a week.  Fortunately, this only takes a few minutes.
  • Fan Speed.  A few days after the heat hit, I noticed that the thermometer on one side of my shop was reading high.  Initially, I thought it was because I hadn’t yet blown insulation into the attic.  Worse, I feared that I purchased an undersized unit.  Upon further investigation, I determined that the cause was fan speed.  The auto-speed option set the fan speed to its lowest option.  Increasing the fan speed fixed the problem.  Apparently, I don’t have good air circulation in the workshop.
  • Moisture.  The Mr. Slim does a decent job of removing moisture out of the air.  Like most air-conditioners, it works better on warmer days.  It’s the cool, humid days that give most conditioners trouble.  This is because they simply aren’t running long enough to dehumidify.  Fortunately, the Mr. Slim has a dry operational mode.  This keeps the unit just below the dew point and allows the unit to remove moisture even on cooler days.  However, if your workshop is particularly damp, you may still want to consider a separate dehumidifier.

In conclusion, the Mr. Slim mini-split air-conditioner proves to be a great investment.  It allows me to spend several more months in the shop each year than I would otherwise.  Even better, it makes the shop more comfortable and I hardly even know it’s there.  If you have the means, I highly recommend one.

 

 

 

 

Garage Workshop Build: Installing a Mini-Split Ductless Air-conditioner

No more sweating profusely over expensive cast iron tools.  No more miserable summer days in the shop.  All thanks to my Mitsubishi mini-split ductless air-conditioner and the nice HVAC guys who turned up the system yesterday afternoon.

Cool-Silence-web

Ductless, split heat-pumps (also known as mini-splits) are the new standard in efficient heating and air.  These consist of an indoor unit (found in wall mount, flush-mount, and ceiling mount varieties) and an outdoor unit.  They are more expensive than tradition units, but pay for themselves with reduced energy costs.  Their benefits include, but are not limited to: reduced energy costs, less noise, and improved comfort.

If you’re thinking about getting one for your workshop, do the legwork yourself to offset some of the cost.  I installed my system for about half the cost a professional quoted.  I purchased my equipment from a reputable online seller and had professionals test, vacuum, and connect the lines.

Wall Bracket-web

The indoor unit mounts to a wall bracket.  I attached the wall bracket using five screws.  I secured two screws to studs, and the others into drywall anchors.  The wall bracket includes a guide that helps you locate the 3″ hole you will need to drill through your wall for the refrigerant lines.

Cooland Hole-web

Wall Sleeve-web

Once I had the bracket mounted, I carefully drilled my hole and installed a wall sleeve that came with my installation kit.  The hole should slope slightly downwards to make sure drainage from the condensate line.  Then, I passed the refrigerant and condensate lines through the hole and attached the indoor unit to the bracket.

Indoor-Unit-web

Next, I installed a line hide kit on the outside of the house and connected all of my electrical wires.  The installation kit I purchased from the online retailer included both wires I needed.  One connects the outdoor unit to the disconnect box.  It uses water proof connections and supplies power to the entire system.  The other wire connects the outdoor unit to the indoor unit.  The terminals on both units are color coded and hard to mess up.  I also installed a surge protector to the disconnect for added security.

Line-Hide-web

Disconnect Box and Surge Protector-web

I installed the outdoor unit on an equipment pad.  It’s made of hard plastic and does a good job of stabilizing the outdoor unit and absorbing some sound.

It took the HVAC professionals about an hour and a half to connect the refrigerant lines and turn up the system.  The system works flawlessly.  It’s so quiet, it’s hard to even tell when it’s running.

Mini-Split Ductless Air-conditioner

I purchased all of my equipment from www.eComfort.com.  I am very happy with the service I’ve received from them so far, and highly recommend them.

For the rest of the workshop build, check out the garage workshop build index.