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The topics are:-

  • Unit installation – fan-coils (PART 1)
  • Unit installation – condensers (PART 2)
  • Refrigerant piping
  • Drainage
  • Ductwork
  • General installation considerations

Condensing Units (Wall Mounted Split Systems) (PART 2):-

The condensing or outdoor unit is the second component of a split air conditioning system that essentially "does the work". Whether large or small, on the ground or in the air, condensers need to be positioned on a secure firm base. This is not only to prevent the units from being „noisy‟ but to
also prevent them vibrating and eventually moving as well as protecting them from water that may build up in around its installation location.

Condensers on the ground should be positioned on a firm base such as concrete. A simple method is to place pre-cast concrete pads on a bed of level dry sand-cement mix. Suitably sized vibration pads (rubber) or machine mounts should be placed between the concrete and the condenser.


Condensers that are required to be positioned up high should be mounted on correctly sized (weight) brackets that are suitable for exposure to all weather conditions. Similarly, vibration mounts need to be fitted between the brackets and the unit as in this situation, there is a greater possibility of noise or vibration transferring.

The following points should be considered when selecting, positioning and installing condensing units:-

  • The removal of heat from the unit, (leave the manufactured instructed space requirements between walls and ground),
  • Access for piping between the fan coil or evaporator and condensing unit,
  • Weather protection for the unit, (perhaps it will need a lean to awning)
  • Distance to electrical board and sub-board (you don't want a volt drop over a long distance - use correct size cable and safety switch),
  • Noise from compressor , motor and fan (try not to cheese off your neighbour),
  • Access to drains,
  • Distance from the indoor fan-coil unit (this will increase the cost in copper piping, refrigerant and labour fees),
  • Accessibility for servicing,

In any situation, condensers need to given not only sufficient service access, but also (and perhaps more importantly) that sufficient clearance is provided for the required air space or circulation across the condenser coil. Manufacturers have specific requirements for clearance which should be checked prior to positioning a condenser.

Reverse cycle outdoor units produce condensate (water) when operating in a heating mode. This should be considered when positioning the unit to ensure that the condensate doesn‟t run off where it may create a hazard.


Refrigerant piping:-

Care should be taken when installing the refrigerant piping. The correct size suction and liquid line pipes should be installed according to the system manufacturers requirements. Additionally the correct type of tubing should be used according to the refrigerant used in the system. Should the system be operating on R410a refrigerant, then the appropriate "gauge‟ tubing must be used.

Correct tubing practices need to be carried out. Flares should be made correctly, solder joints to be done with the required amount of penetration and with "dry nitrogen‟ purged through to eliminate oxidisation during soldering. Tubing should not be left opened for prolonged periods – refrigerant tubing is supplied "dry‟ and the longer it is left open to the atmosphere; the more chance moisture is absorbed making evacuation more time consuming.

Refrigerant tubing needs to be insulated to prevent not only condensation creating water problems but also to eliminate additional superheat being absorbed by the system especially when piping is ran through roof cavities. In reverse cycle systems, the type of metering device's used in the system will determine whether both the suction and liquid lines or only the suction line needs to be insulated.


Systems that use only one metering device, such as capillary tube or electronic TX valve require both to be insulated however, with the use of Chatleff ® piston type metering devices (installed in both the condenser and fan-coil) requires only the suction line be insulated as the liquid line remains a "true‟ liquid line in either heating or cooling modes. However, it is considered good practice to insulate both lines in all situations to prevent suction and liquid lines gaining unwanted heat. See - More Information with regards to " Piping Design "




This page was last modified on 5th June 2010 and maybe out of date with regards to its information at the time of reading this article. The information above is only intended for use a guide and should not be 100% relied upon as a substitute for official manufacturer technical advice. Quality Electrics disclaims responsibility for any damage, claim, or liability any person may incur, whether caused by negligence or otherwise, as a result of anything contained in our articles.


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