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Installing a split system in an older style apartment

 
Older style apartments usaully built betwween the 1950's and the 1970's are double brick buildings. This fact makes them very well insulated and perfect for a split system air conditioner. It really makes a bid difference in keeping the heat in or out.
Because the internal wall is brick and usually coverd in render as well, it is very important to install a split system as carefully as possible. It requires loud and heavy drilling and needs to be done properly.
Below are some real examples of apartment installations showing different options depending on where your apartment is situated.
 
 

 

 

INSTALLATION EXAMPLES


Moving outdoor unit away from back door

Suburb - Hawthorn (ground floor apartment, 60's style but newly renovated)

This split system installation in Hawthorn, Melbourne was on the ground floor of an older style apartment. Walls are double brick which means twice the drilling. Internal walls like most apartments of this era are covered with  a layer of render which can over time become quite fragile and brittle, so drilling through this really does require a degree of skill and patience! 

The client bought the apartment as an investment and did a very nice modernization of the interior including brand new hard wood floor boards. We have to be careful. Like most jobs of this type we always cover the floor with cardboard to stop brick and morter from damaging the floor. One important point of interest is that the client made a point of letting us know he wanted the best units we offer. Understandably he had concerns over the longevity of the split systems to be reliable and effective for many years to come. A wise decision when you think about the associated costs of maintaining an investment property. On top of that, he spent the extra money it takes to locate the outdoor unit in a more desirable location, well away from the back door. Of course everyone has a budget so this may not be possible for all people but it is certainly the best case scenario.

We installed a split system in the open plan lounge/kitchen and one in the master bedroom. This should keep the apartment including the extra bedroom climate controlled very well. Being double brick and having another apartment above it keeps it very well insulated.

 

 


Installing a split system without losing balcony space

 

Suburb - St Kilda (second storey apartment, 70's style)

The client in this installation located in St Kilda, Melbourne was adamant that they did not want to lose space on thier balcony. As you can probably understand when living in a small apartment the balcony space can be a nice place to sit and relax, maybe BBQ or have some nice plants to appreciate. We offered the solution of mounting the outdoor unit off the balcony on a wall bracket. We were able to do this safely due to the size of the unit which was a 3.5kw Mitsubishi.

After using our online quoting system we were able to assess and suggest the alternative to losing balcony space.

Check out our video below to see how we did it.
 

 

get a quote     Install prices     gain body corp approval

 


 

Installing air conditioning in an apartment


Installing in a 3rd floor apartment
 
Suburb - St Kilda (third storey apartment, 60's style art deco)
This installation involved a scissor lift, double brick and mounting the outdoor units on the roof of the balcony. We installed 2 x split system air conditioners. One is a 5kw unit to heat and cool the lounge and dining room and the other was a 2.5kw for the bedroom.
Being and older style apartment it was double brick, meaning the inside walls are solid brick. These jobs can get a little messy due to the drilling of the brick work inside but we do our best to minimize it. The scissor lift was need to work on the external part of the building at a three storey height.
The customers elected to have the units mouunted on the roof as opposed to the balcony so they would not have precious space taken away from their fairly small baclony. Obviously this leads to extra installtion costs but it is by far the best solution especially if you are an owner occupier. There was some external conduit work required to get the electrical supply back to the switchboard. This was unavoidable and required body corporate approval.
 
Check out our video below to see how we did it.
 

 

get a quote     Install prices     gain body corp approval

 
 

Installing in a 3rd floor apartment
 
Suburb - Clifton Hill (third storey apartment, 70's style)

We installed a 3.5kw Mitsubishi split system into this apartment to service the lounge/kitchen area. At the time the client contacted us, the building management had no guidlines in place for installing a split system air conditioner. We started our quoting with the easist options first and submitted them to the body corporate.

The first two options were rejected by the body corp as they both required mounting the outdoor unit on the front and side of the building. It actually took a couple of months for the body corp to write up their guidelines and issue them to the tenants in the building. Once we had them we were able to come up with a solution that complied.

This required running the pipes, drain and electrical controls internally through two walls and a cupboard. Fortunatly, the wall we ran them on was behind two doors so aesthetically it was not to obtrusive. And of course it was all explianed to the client who approved it before installation began. 

 
Check out our video below to see how we did it.
 
 
get a quote     Install prices      gain body corp approval
 

Suburb - Brunswick (second storey apartment, 70's style)

Once again, the clients balcony was quite small and would have taken up close to 1/3 of the useable balcony space. The solution was to mount the outdoor unit just off the balcony on a wall bracket

Because it is now more visible from the ground it is most important to gain body corporate approvel before going ahead with the install. This peticular install was located toward the back of the apartment block so the visabilty was not considered a problem and the body corporate quickly gave us the go ahead to proceed.

 

Another consideration to being able to mount the unit on the wall next to the balcony is the access beneath it. As you can see, below is the driveway to the building. That made it alot easier to facilitate the installation. Most importantly, the drain was able to be run to the downpipe which is a frequent body corporate requirment.

 

 

What if the unit had been on a higher level?

split system mounted off balcony       

 
 

 

Installing in a 3rd floor apartment
 
Suburb - Hawthorn (third storey apartment, 70's style)

This installation involved using a scissor lift to be able to reach the third storey of an apartment building in Hawthorn. The unit was a rental and was organized by a landlord wanting a low cost yet effective solution to keep his tenant (who was looking to vacate the premises due to the lack of cooling). This was all organized using our online quoting tool and ran like clockwork. The landlord was aware of the difficulty of the installation and extra costs involved in satisfying the body corporate's rules. Approval was granted and the installation proceeded.

Important point 1 -  What made it possible for us to go ahead with the install in the desired location was the fact that the ground below the out door unit was flat. Scissor lifts need to work of flat surfaces and also need to be able to access the property from the street. This was one of those situations where every thing worked out well. 

Important point 2 - The client told us that he had delt with no less than six air conditioning companies prior to contacting us and all of them put this in the too hard basket. 

 

Indoor unit position

The indoor unit shown above was positioned to the side of the room to keep things nice and neat. It also allowed for air flow into the kitchen area (shown to the right of the photo). Being double brick the apartment is well insulated and the system worked very well.
 
It is installations like this one that highlight how working with landlords to get the best out come not only presents a heating and cooling solution but also keeps a tenant from breaking the lease. Both the landlord and the tenat come out winners!
 

Outdoor unit position

As the photo shows, the drive way gave us easy acces straight into the property from the street. The location of both indoor and out door units was chosen for that reason. The tenants in the units below where notified by the landlord (at our suggestion) to make sure they were aware of what was going on prior to installation.

By using a scissor lift we are able to turn a third level installation into the equvilent of a single story installation. 

 

 
indoor split system air conditioner                  outdoor split system on wall bracket
 

 


 

Installing on 3rd floor apartment plus car park level

 
Suburb - Burnley (third storey apartment, 70's style)

 

Indoor unit position

The apartment is solid brick with concrete render. The only way we could get pipes outside without using internal duct work was to locate the unit in the corner so we could drill through to the external wall cavity.

This allows us to get the pipes, drain and electrical cables outside. From there the pipes run up into the eaves and onto the roof. The out door unit was located on the flat roof. We always locate the outdoor unit at least 2 meters in from the gutter so it is not visible from the ground.

Outdoor unit position

Working on apartments this high requires a scissor lift to complete the job.

With an apartment like this one we were lucky that the driveway was on the right side of the building and was nice and flat. If this were not the case, it would add costs to the scissor lift price as it would require an all terrain lift.

This can add at least $150 to the total cost of installation.

 

Electrical supply

Even though we were able to eliminate internal duct for the air conditioner, we had to run a small piece to get the electrical supply onto the roof. As you can see the apartment is being renovated and will allow for the owners to paint over the duct to blend it in as best they can.

We offered to chase the brick work out and have the cables inside the brick but the client prefered not to. Once again, chasing out bricks so the cable can sit inside the wall will add costs, and it is outrageously messy!

indoor unit positionpipes and drain on the outside of building  electrical supply to unit

get a quote Install prices gain body corp approval

Content by Jason Tierney