Installing an air conditioner in an apartment – side back to back

Generally speaking the simplest kind of installation in an apartment is the side back to back.

Because alot of apartments are butted up against each other, the indoor unit needs to be positioned in the corner so the pipes can go out the side of the unit to the outdoor unit which is commonly located on a balcony (locations marked in blue and red in diagram)

townhouse plan

This is by far the most common installation in apartments like this. 

To see what other options you have, scroll down and check out our installation examples below. If you have questions about our split system installation service in Melbourne, get in touch with our team today.

side mounted back to back 1

Suburb – St Kilda, Melbourne (ground floor apartment with double brick)

As you can see the indoor unit is butted right up against the external wall allowing the pipes, drain and electrical connections to exit from the side of the air conditioner.

Once the unit is fitted to the wall the hole is covered and cannot be seen. Although, in some cases, blinds and other window coverings can be an issue which means the unit may need to be positioned a little bit back fro the external wall and a small duct may need to be fitted.

To avoid putting the out door unit on the decking at the front of the apartment the client elected to run the pipe work to the back of the building. Body corporate approval was needed to mount the unit at the back. The approval was sped up and given the green light due to the use of our digital image quoting system.

Note that the duct cover matched the brick work nicely.

A 3.5kw Fujitsu split system fully installed in this situation: $2295 including GST           

side back to back 1
side back to back 2

side mounted back to back 2

Suburb – Thorbury, Melbourne (second storey apartment with double brick)

The only location for this air conditioner was in the bedroom at the back of the apartment block. The outdoor unit had to be mounted on the second storey because body corporate will not allow it to be mounted on anyone else’s property. We managed to get it as low as possible. 

Important point: We had to arrange access into the back yard area of the tenants below to be able to lift the unit up and install it on the second storey. This had to be arranged ahead of time and fortunately for our client they granted us permision. In some cases you might find that the back of the apartment building is a common area and you won’t need permision.

Check out a 3.5kw Sasmung air conditioner to suit this install – A nice quiet and energy efficient unit. This was also a rental property and was organized using our online quoting system.


indoor unit
out door unit wall bracket

side mounted back to back 3

Suburb – Ascot Vale, Melbourne (second storey apartment with plaster wall)

The client on this installation told us that she had two ther companies come out and give her an in home quote and both told her it couldn’t be done. Once again, we arranged it all through our online quoting system. It is our experience that makes it possible to quote jobs like this online. It’s not uncommon for salesmen to be unfamiliar with the actual logistics of installing a split system. We have done so many that it becomes second nature to know what we are up against through using photos. 

The unit installed is the Samsung AQV18TW which has been superceeded by the Samsung Ballarat range. Check out the new Samsung AR18FSSSCUR1 model here. The indoor unit in the 5kw range is a little bigger than a 5kw unit from other brands. Just under 1100mm wide, compared to 800mm wide from Fujitsu for example.


installing pipes
fully installed
side back to back 3

side mounted back to back 4

Suburb – Bundoora, Melbourne (second storey apartment, large balcony)

This installation was arranged using our online quoting system. The unit installed is the FUJITSU ASTG18KMCA.

The landlord contacted us about having the air conditioner installed as the existing tenant was moving out and he wanted to make sure that any potential new tenat was going to be covered in regards to heating AND cooling.
The installation had to be approved by body corporate and was made fast and simple by using our digital image install photo.
The duct work used was a plastic beige and blended very well to the rest of the apartment block. We recieved the go ahead from body corporate within 48 hrs of submision.


split system install bundoora
body corporate image

The drainage was going to be run to a downpipe off the side of the building which was approved by body corporate but we found on site that there was a drain running parallel along the balcony which we ended up running the drain to.

The drain from the indoor unit is running into the outdoor unit. The drain in the photo is running off the bottom of the out door unit. This means only one drain is need to service both indoor and outdoor units.

Note – When the air conditioner is cooling, the water drains from the indoor unit. When the air conditioner is heating, the water drains from the outdoor unit.