Mini-Split A/C Heat Pump?

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Forum topic by rydonmf posted 06-04-2011 04:01 AM 4356 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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48 posts in 3143 days

06-04-2011 04:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Does anyone have any experience with a mini-split in their shop? I have apparently just wrapped up all of the two weeks of perfect weather for working in the shop I’m going to get. And let me tell you something, it was glorious. I had both of my doors and both of my windows wide open. A nice little breeze would flow right through my shop and take a healthy amount of dust with it. I could wear shorts or jeans without discomfort. The dogs could come in and say hi and then be on their way. I’d turn my Ipod on shuffle and let everyone in my yard hear my tunes whether they liked it or not. People could easily see if I happen to be busy and come back later as opposed to when the door is closed, I’m wrapped up in something, and a knock on the door scares the living shit out of me. Only to look up and see my wife or my kids standing there smiling at the door like nothing happened.
I have a window unit and the poor bastard just can’t keep up. Plus, I lose my view of the street. For the winter I have a oil filled radiant heater. You know the kind that sound like a great plan when you’re standing in the aisle at Wal-mart, it’s only 50 bucks and you just want to get the f out of there. Get it home it takes ten hours to bring the shop to comfort level on mild winter days and never gets there in the dead of winter. Glue bottles freeze, things start rusting, my wife start suggesting “Aren’t you going to work in your shop?”
I’m in Kansas and we’ve got everything. Cold, hot, humid, dry, windy, stale, you name it. I’ve thought about wall units that heat and cool like you would find in hotels but I just don’t think I could spare that much wall space. If there not something there, there probably will be soon. I have some Amex reward points saved up and I could get one of these mini splits for next to nothing depending on quality. Seems like a good idea. I could mount it up high and out of the way. It wouldn’t take too much space. Most of the noise would be outside. It heats and cools. But I’m wondering how hard they are to install? The websites make it sound doable. I’m also wondering how the filter would withstand wood-shop dust?
Hey, anyone that previously wrestled with this I would appreciate your sage advice. Thanks.

9 replies so far

View lew's profile


12553 posts in 4023 days

#1 posted 06-04-2011 07:42 PM

The maintenance guys, at the school where I worked, installed several Sanyo units. One was installed in our Server room. You could hang meat in that room. However, it was a relative small, closed room. The unit was rather noisy, too, but in a shop environment that probably wouldn’t be a problem. I’m guessing the air filters would have to be beefed up because of the extra dust, however.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2943 days

#2 posted 06-04-2011 09:59 PM

I have never seen one used in a woodworking shop but I have seen them in other areas and the filters get pretty dirty. the filters are only a thin sheet of foam on a plastic rod frame. Maybe a couple of spares would help so you could change them when needed and was the dirty one.

View Darell's profile


435 posts in 3861 days

#3 posted 06-04-2011 10:23 PM

My shop is a 16’ x 20’ barnstiyle building, insulated to R-13 in the walls and R-30 in the ceiling. I installed an LG unit that cools at 18,000 btu’s and heats at 12,000 btu’s. Cooling is fine but the heat leaves a bit to be desired. Last winter I supplemented it with a parabolic electric heater. Took about 2 – 3 hrs to go from 35 to 40 degrees up to about 60 degrees. I’d usually keep the parabolic heater running but shut off the wall unit to save on electricity when I went out to work in the shop. With the insulation once I’ve got the place warmed up it stays decent until I’m ready to quit for the day. I’ve also used a kerosene heater to warm up and then shut it off when I went out to work. Either way it takes over 2 hrs to warm the place up. As for the filter it came with, well, it doesn’t catch much dust but it will plug up. That’s another reason I don’t usually run the thing when I’m working. Plus it’s quieter when it’s not running. Hope this helps. I’m in Oklahoma and our weather is crazy here too.

-- Darell, Norman, Ok.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2907 days

#4 posted 06-04-2011 11:45 PM

The mini splits are easy to install and are very energy efficient (eg 19 Seer).

I have used them in two story homes where the upstairs gameroom was too much for a PTAC. They work great. Just NEVER EVER lose the remote control as THAT is their profit maker. Don’t ask.

I almost got one for my 15×24 garage shop refurb but decided to give the portable heat pump a try. I got a Haier Commercial Cool 14,000 cooling /12,000 heating and all I had to do was provide for a single exhaust hose. The reasons I went that way ? 120 volt, 1/3 to half the price of PTAC or mini-split, portable, washable filter, the option to run hose 2 for air intake from outside or other room, name brand, 1 year in-home repairs, rotary compressor, 5 year compressor warranty.

It is already over 100F every day here in South Georgia. This is doing a great job so far. It’s blowing on me as I type. We’ll see how it does this winter.

Good luck finding a way to stay cool.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View rydonmf's profile


48 posts in 3143 days

#5 posted 06-05-2011 01:21 PM

Thanks guys for your time, I appreciate it. I believe I’ve under insulated my ceiling but I’ll have to kick that can down the road. I was unaware those Commercial Cools had heat as well. It won’t be as out of the way I was envisioning but the savings look to be too good to pass up. I wonder if there would be any concern over leaving it on continuously? Just to keep the sizzle and frost off.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2907 days

#6 posted 06-05-2011 06:11 PM

They have a thermostat and are made to heat and cool as much as 600 sf of a house, so I’d say running them full time is their intended purpose. This is not emergency heat and air.

The first year is in-home labor and materials. I usually can tear something cheap up within that first year if it needs it ;=)

Seriously, It’s only been less than 2 weeks, but we’d have to fight if you tried to take it out of here.


-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View zzzzdoc's profile


550 posts in 3271 days

#7 posted 06-06-2011 02:14 AM

I have one in my workshop. Love it. Very energy efficient. I’m always surprised there isn’t much sawdust in the filter of the unit. My unit is 18,000 BTU, running in South Florida.

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View cloakie1's profile


204 posts in 2822 days

#8 posted 06-06-2011 03:02 AM

not sure what your laws are where you guys are but how bout a chip burner or potbelly stove….easy way of getting rid of unwanted offcuts and staying warm at the same time….i even used to shovel sawdust into ours once the fire had developed a good base.also has no other running costs.

-- just get stuck in and have a go!!!

View Samwise's profile


45 posts in 2884 days

#9 posted 06-06-2011 03:23 AM

Head on over to Mark wrote up an article on his experience with installing a mini-split in his shop. If you follow the comment thread, there is some good information.

-- Sam

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