Installing a Mini-Split Air-Source Heat Pump

JLC spent a day on the job in April with master plumbers Dave Ragsdale (left) and Chris Blaisdell (right), a two-man mini-split heat pump installation crew for ReVision Energy, based in Portland, Maine. The following images show the pair setting and connecting the outdoor compressor unit and the indoor fan unit for a Fujitsu mini-split capable of providing 12,000 Btu of heat energy during winter or a ton of cooling energy in summer at very high efficiencies.

Dave Ragsdale mortars a concrete masonry pedestal into position on the patio of an existing home near Portland, Maine. The outdoor unit of the Fujitsu mini-split heat pump system will be anchored to these masonry supports.

Dave Ragsdale and Chris Blaisdell set the outdoor unit of a Fujitsu Halcyon one-ton mini-split system onto masonry supports. Bolts drilled into the masonry will secure the unit in place. Typically, ReVision Energy installs the outdoor part of the heat pump onto a wall bracket or wooden stand next to the house, elevated at four feet so that the unit won’t be blocked by winter snow. But in this case, the sheltered location in the home’s rear entry alcove allows an installation close to ground level.

While Dave Ragsdale works on the outdoor unit of the system, Chris Blaisdell attaches a mounting bracket for the indoor side of the system to an interior wall.

Outside, Dave Ragsdale removes a protective housing from the outdoor unit of the mini-split system to gain access to the wiring connections for the system.

Inside the home’s basement, Chris Blaisdell pulls through the four lines that connect the indoor heating and cooling fan to the outdoor compressor: Two white refrigerant lines (one for vapor and one for liquid refrigerant); a black power and control electrical cable; and a clear condensate line.

Chris Blaisdell prepares to connect the system’s color-coded electrical power and control wires to the wall-mounted fan for the indoor unit of the heat pump.

Chris Blaisdell threads the refrigerant lines, condensate tubing, and wiring cable for the system through a hole drilled in the partition wall where the indoor fan unit for the system will mount.

Outside, Dave Ragsdale hooks refrigerant lines up to the outdoor compressor unit of the system. The unit comes pre-charged with R-410a refrigerant, but the refrigerant won’t be released into the copper lines until after the lines have passed a 600-pound overnight pressure test using compressed nitrogen.

Working in the home’s basement with a headlamp for light, Chris Blaisdell connects a refrigerant line for the indoor fan unit.

Dave Ragsdale charges the refrigerant tubing for the mini-split system with 600 pounds of compressed nitrogen. The crew will leave the system pressurized with nitrogen overnight to test for leaks before charging the system with refrigerant the next day.

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