SENVILLE mini split install help!

Discussion in 'HVAC' started by dthornton, Mar 9, 2017.

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  1. Mar 9, 2017 #1

    dthornton

    dthornton

    dthornton

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    Hi folks. Here I am again to seek your advice/assistance. Here's the situation: We're having some remodeling done by a contractor(he's also an electrician). We like to sleep in a cold bedroom but don't like "refrigerating the rest of a 2200SF house, so one project was going to be mounting an A/C in the bedroom wall. He was going to charge us $600 for this (not bad, for the framing, sheet rock work, and moving an outlet for the power). I found several choices of A/C units for about $400, so $1000 total for the job. Asking your (and others') advice about which brand was best; several advised to get a mini split instead. I talked with my contractor about it and he told me that he hadn't done one before, but thought it shouldn't be too difficult and would be less $$ for the install since there was no framing or sheet rock. He said he would hire an HVAC person to do the refrigerant part of it.

    So, after a bit of research I purchased a Senville LETO 9000 BTU unit + a wall mount bracket (a pad wouldn't work where we're putting the unit) + a "line hiding" cover set - around $700 total. This still should put us in line with the original cost.

    Now; the problem: My contractor looked at the unit and said that it comes with no wiring harness to go between the units. (I called the company, and they don't even have one optional). The wiring diagram is not very helpful, and he said that now he is apprehensive about doing the install. He said that there are both low voltage and high voltage connections to connect the inside and outside units. He said since he's only making $300 - $400 for the install, he doesn't want to risk hooking up a high voltage to a low voltage connection and burn something out and have to buy me a new unit. Understandable. I haven't checked locally yet with any HVAC companies, but several reviews said it cost them around $1500 for the install on their unit. I DO NOT have that kind of money left! Help! :help:

    Anyone on here familiar with Senville units? Can you tell me exactly how/where to hook up the wires? Looks like I may have to install it myself, and hire HVAC to do the refrigerant part (BTW - it has a Toshiba compressor, and comes "pre-charged"). Any installation tips?

    Thank you for any help/advice/assistance you can give.
     
  2. Mar 9, 2017 #2

    kok328

    kok328

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    So your saying that this "Electrician" is confused by hi/lo voltage?
     
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  3. Mar 9, 2017 #3

    havasu

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    Most of the mini splits provide a length option for for the lineset. Did you also order this from the company?

    Line Sets
    Available Line Sets and Line Set Extensions for Senville Split Air Conditioner Units
    1/4'' and 3/8'' Flared Fittings (25ft. Ext)1/4'' and 3/8'' Flared Fittings1/4'' and 1/2'' Flared Fittings (25ft. Ext) 1/4'' and 1/2'' Flared Fittings 3/8' and 5/8'' Flared Fittings (25.ft Ext) 3/8' and 5/8'' Flared Fittings
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2017
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  4. Mar 10, 2017 #4

    Jeffh

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    The ac guy should be able to wire up the low voltage side. So, schedule both guys to be there for the lineset and lo and hi voltage wiring hookup.
     
  5. Mar 10, 2017 #5

    nealtw

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    Have the electrician run the high voltage line to the area of the out door unit, drill the hole and hang the bracket inside and let the AC guy finish the wiring.
     
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  6. Mar 10, 2017 #6

    dthornton

    dthornton

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    Thank to all for your input. 1) There are 4 screws on the main unit and 4 on the inside unit. 2 are supposed to be high voltage and two are low voltage, but they are not marked as to which are which. The low voltage naturally communicates between the two when the compressor needs to turn on and off. 2) The unit comes with 17' of each diameter copper tubing, but not any wiring. The instruction manual says to use 16/4 wire between the inside and outside units. 3) Nealw - Yup; sounds like what I'll wind up doing.
     
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  7. Mar 10, 2017 #7

    nealtw

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    This guy goes thru the whole process but leaves out the wiring and plumbing so I think he had a tech there too.
    [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eURTHyAn-2Y[/ame]
     
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  8. Mar 10, 2017 #8

    Jeffh

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    Installation manual included?
     
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  9. Mar 10, 2017 #9

    slownsteady

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    There's got to be something there to make low voltage...a transformer. I imagine if it is not too hidden, that the low voltage side would show up starting there.
     
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  10. Apr 28, 2017 #10

    dthornton

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    Jeffh, yes, there is a good, detailed installation manual. havasu, yes, the lineset is included with the units. Guys, sorry that it has been so long since I started this thread - I travel for work and have been on the road many weeks. Two weekends I was home - one, I had another project to complete, and the other, we had the grand-babies, so I was busy "playing grandpa." Okay; here's where I am currently - my contractor (who has done excellent work everywhere else) said that he was not familiar with min-split units and therefore didn't want to install the unit. He didn't want to be financially responsible if anything messed up. I understand that, so I had him add a breaker to the box and run a line with an outside box in the area where the unit will go. I found an HVAC guy who isn't interested in doing any of the installation, but will evacuate the lines and charge the unit once I have it installed. So, it looks like the installation is on me. The inside unit only weighs 17 pounds, and has a bracket similar to an over the range microwave. Shouldn't be difficult at all, and the wiring covers on both units have wiring diagrams inside them, so I feel confident in accomplishing that as well. I bought a wall bracket for mounting the outside unit since a concrete pad isn't a good option in this area. Here's where I need help again --- The house is 40 years old and has vinyl siding (not sure if it's original). I think it has sheathing under it; again, not sure. If I hit dead center in the studs, the bracket should be very secure. However, if I miss by even 1/4" , it might not hold. The outside unit weighs around 85 pounds, and it'll be mounted a couple of feet off the ground. I don't wish to drill a couple dozen "hit or miss" holes in the siding to find the studs. So, do y'all have any "tricks" for locating the studs from the outside of the house? Thank you all again so much for your help. They say that necessity is the mother of invention; financial necessity has been the mother that turned me into a DIY'er!
     
  11. Apr 28, 2017 #11

    nealtw

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    The one complaint I have heard was vibration of the outside unit when hung off the wall.

    Pick up a zipper tool for vinyl siding and you can just open a seem and do you stud hunt behind the siding.
    [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rmvX1ZJDvU[/ame]
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
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  12. May 29, 2017 #12

    dthornton

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    Thank you to all for the advice. Lacking the expensive tools/equipment to do the job myself, I have decided to physically install the inside and outside units and connect the wires. I've found an HVAC guy who will shorten /hook up the line set and finish the refrigeration part of the job. :)

    So, I have learned several things from this. (To anyone thinking of buying a mini split): 1) Don't buy a mini split online unless you have professionals lined up to install it. The heating and air places I called "won't touch" anything they don't provide. 2) If you're thinking of installing one yourself; see #1) above. Handling the physical installation isn't a big deal. What IS a big deal is the fact that once installed, you need a tank of nitrogen with gauges to pressure test the system to ensure no leaks before you even THINK of releasing refrigerant into the system. Then, if your line set is longer than "standard" you'll have to add refrigerant; if the line set is shorter than "standard" you will have to remove some refrigerant from the system. "Standard" is whatever the manufacturer figured on when they pre-charge the unit. I think mine is 16' (or maybe it is 25'?) - I haven't gotten that in-depth with it yet. There is one 1/4" and one 3/8" copper tubing. Mine will be somewhere around 8' - 10' long. That means an ounce or two of liquid refrigerant must be removed (they have a formula to determine the exact amount). The EPA has strict regulations regarding refrigerant being added to or removed from units being done by licensed professionals. They don't take kindly to DIY-ers releasing this gas into the atmosphere. :nono: (There again, I'd be okay as long as I didn't need to add or remove any R410a, but it doesn't work out that way). So, I'll have to pay the pro to do that part. 3) It would've been much cheaper to buy a window unit and mount it in the wall!
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
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  13. May 29, 2017 #13

    nealtw

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    So all said and done, buy it local and maybe do some of the prep work like you have done?
     
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  14. May 30, 2017 #14

    remout

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    Once you get this unit installed you're going to be way better off than with a window unit. I've got a write up on this forum about my experience with an Internet, no name no blame, brand. I'll summarize it by writing it's amazing and I'm about order and install 2 more.
     
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  15. May 31, 2017 #15

    dthornton

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    I think buying it from Amazon was a good decision (it was around $600 for a 9000BTU unit, which had good reviews). The problem is (IMHO) nobody local wants to touch it because they can't make a big profit off of selling you the $600 unit for $1500. Just sayin ....

    Again, if you can find someone in the business who is REPUTABLE, and will let you perform the physical installation to save some dollars. But, they don't like to give up profits. :mad:
     
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  16. May 31, 2017 #16

    dthornton

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    I agree; and thanks for posting. I got a Senville 9000 BTU for in the neighborhood of $600 on Amazon (maybe $700; I forget). Research showed good reviews and it seems to be a really good unit. Comes pre-charged with R410a, and the compressor is made by Toshiba. I will mount the inside unit, cut the 2 1/2" hole in the wall, mount the PVC "hiding cover" I also purchased, mount the outside unit (I bought a wall bracket, but after reading reviews on wall mounts (noise transfer) I was having second thoughts. My next door neighbor had a concrete pad leftover from having a new A/C condenser installed in a different location, so he gave me the pad. I'll install the outside unit and have the units wired (I already had an outside box mounted in the location, wired off of its own breaker).

    So, I need the line set (1/4" flexible copper, and 3/8" flexible copper) shortened to the 8' or so run, connected, pressure tested, evacuated, and then the 410 released into the unit.

    Here's what makes me mad: I called a local HVAC business and explained my situation and exactly what I just told you here. They said they didn't do that; they. "Used to, but had so many units damaged in shipping and the owners blamed them" .... (I call "BS" on that one. The units are guaranteed for one year on the unit and 5 on the compressor. Amazon guarantees against shipping damage). ANYWAY, they said call around in my area and check with all of the HVAC companies; some still do this. I said okay; How much, ballpark, should I expect to pay? They said, "When we DID do it, we charged about $4000." :mad:
    So, now you know why people like me want to DIY. I'm like, "REALLY? I'M going to physically install the units and have them wired. ALL you have to do is shorten the line sets, pressure test, and evacuate the system. It even already has R410a IN IT, so the only materials you'd supply is the nitrogen for the pressure test! What is it, about three hours for the job? And really, they could hook up the vacuum pump then go off to dinner or another job and come back a couple hours later. The pump isn't strong enough to collapse the lines!

    Sorry for venting - I despise when companies or individuals are so greedy and take advantage of people. I would think I could have a unit purchased and installed for that kind of money or less!!!
     
  17. May 31, 2017 #17

    remout

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    I ran into the same type of push back from my local HVAC supply houses. One wouldn't even sell me a pair of pliers. My installation required 35' lines, so I had to order without lines and then get my own line set. I then weighed in a tiny bit of 410a. I spent about $400 on tools to do the install correctly. I could have gotten it done by a HVAC Tech for that same money. My problem is I need 3 units and by doing it myself I'll be all done for $2,400.

    The Mitsu dealer here quoted me $8,500 and that was for a multi split unit (multiple air handlers driven off of one compressor unit). I didn't have that much money and I don't like the multi splits as they can't throttle down as much as individual units can. This is where the real savings come in.

    After doing the install, I completely understand the HVAC pros not wanting to install unless they control the whole deal. It's quite a bit of work and it puts them in a poor situation should there be a problem.

    What we're discussing here is, in my opinion, the Achilles heal of the mini split option. Please let us know how you end up.
     
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  18. May 31, 2017 #18

    remout

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    I thought I should add some context to my posts in this thread. My reason for needing a mini split solution is I live in an old, 1896, shack in the woods. I'd go broke, a short trip, trying to cool my house with a central unit. The mini split does a great job handling South Louisiana's special climate :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Jun 6, 2017 #19

    dthornton

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    remout, IMHO your "shack" is gorgeous. I'd love something like that if I had acreage to go with it! I wish you the best. Post again when YOU are all done!

    I know you can buy anything if you try hard enough, but if the information I read is correct, they aren't supposed to even sell you refrigerant if you don't have a license (EPA thing. THEY will come down on you harder than anybody).

    My house is a 2200 ft/sq single level on a "city lot" in the northeast side of San Antonio. There is no such thing as acreage here .... gotta get miles outside of the city. But, in the hot, humid Texas climate it costs us a LOT in electric in the summer (we like our bedroom COLD to sleep in). Therefore, the mini split. Haven't done any more with it yet; I work out of town and haven't been home lately. I'll post again when I get it finished.
     
  20. Jun 6, 2017 #20

    remout

    remout

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    Thanks for the kind words!

    Currently no license is required to buy 410a. However, it can be dangerous too equipment and installer if it goes badly. The manufacturer of the unit I bought will not stand behind the warranty unless installed by a licensed HVAC Technician.

    My shack is ~1700 sq ft under HVAC with another 450 under porches. Prior to the Mini Split, a summer month bill was $150, now it's just under $100. I still have an, expensive to run, window unit in our bedroom. Once I replace that with another MS, I think I can trim another $20 or $30 off my electric bill.
     
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