INSTALLING A SPLIT SYSTEM IN AN OLDER STYLE APARTMENT
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.
Check out our latest short video.
Installation of a 5.0kw split system into a third storey 60’s style apartment in Hawthorn.
Installation examples in older style apartments
The videos below show a variety of common installations in older apartments and also some of the issues you need to be aware of.
Moving outdoor unit away from the 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 - 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 down pipe which is a frequent body corporate requirements.
Installing a split system with internal ducting
Suburb - Elsternwick, Melbourne (older style apartment)
This installation required internal duct work becasue the walls of the lounge room had no external wall. They were butted up against the neighbours apartment whcih was in a long line of apartments. The split system indoor unit had to be in the lounge room so the only way to get the drain outside was using internal ducting. We took the pipes into the bedroom so that they were not visible from the lounge room which made the install just that little bit neater. The pipes went straight up onto the flat tin roof as the apartment was on the top flor of the complex. The drain was then ran down and around the skirting boards to the outer wall. We kept the drain inside the larger duct so that is all looked uniform. The outdoor unit on the roof was in the middle of the apartment and was not visible from any angle from the ground.
Check out the video to see how it was done.
INSTALLING AIR CONDITIONING IN A THIRD STOREY APARTMENT
Suburb - St Kilda (third storey apartment, 60's style art deco)
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
Suburb - Elwood (third storey apartment, 70's style)
This installation of a 7.1kw Mitsubishi split system air conditioner into a 4 storey apartment building in Elwood was a bit unusual. The apartment was on the 2nd storey and the ducting on the outside was run two more storeys up to the roof. The client insisted on having a 7.1kw split system installed which was probably too big for the total space. They reasoned that if they were going to spend the money they would prefer a bigger unit…ok.
It required body corp approval and also the use of a scissor lift to access the roof where the outdoor unit will be located.
The electrical supply required internal ducting to be ran from the switchboard. We kept it down low so furniture would help obscure it.
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.