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Best Place to Install a Ductless Mini Split System

Man and woman on the couch below a mini split AC enjoying the cool air

When it comes to home comfort and energy efficiency, the placement of your ductless mini-split system can make a significant difference. These versatile units allow for flexibility in where they can be installed, but strategic positioning is key to reap their full benefits. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the best indoor and outdoor locations for your mini-split system, ensuring it operates at peak performance while enhancing your home’s comfort.

Single-Zone vs Multi-Zone Mini-Splits

Single-zone and multi-zone mini-splits both offer solutions for a variety of spaces. Choosing the one that works for you and your home depends on what you need.

Single-Zone Mini Splits

Single-zone mini splits are designed to cool or heat one specific room or zone in your home. They consist of one indoor unit connected to an outdoor unit, making them ideal for augmenting climate control in singular spaces like bedrooms, home offices, or dens.

Multi-Zone Mini-Splits

Multi-zone mini-splits, on the other hand, allow you to control the temperature in several rooms or zones simultaneously. These systems have multiple indoor units connected to a single outdoor unit. This configuration is perfect for larger homes, or for households where individual members prefer different temperature settings in their respective rooms.

Types of Mini-Split Units

There are a variety of mini-split units available on the market, each designed to cater to specific home requirements and conditions. Let’s explore the major types, their unique features, and the best placement strategies for optimal performance.

Wall-Mounted Units

Wall-mounted units are the most common type of mini-split system. They are mounted high on the wall, allowing for efficient distribution of cooled or heated air. These units are straightforward to install, cost-effective, and ideal for single-room or multi-room applications.

Ceiling Cassette Units

Ceiling cassette units are installed into the ceiling, providing a more discreet option for home climate control. They distribute air evenly throughout the room and are best suited for larger spaces due to their powerful performance. Their in-ceiling installation keeps them out of sight, preserving your room’s aesthetics.

Floor-Mounted Units

Floor-mounted units are installed low on the wall or on the floor, making them ideal for rooms with limited wall space or large glass windows. They’re perfect for spaces like sunrooms or rooms with cathedral windows where wall mounting isn’t possible.

Ducted Units

Ducted units are integrated into home ductwork, making them the most unobtrusive option. They offer the ability to heat or cool multiple rooms simultaneously and are an excellent choice for zone flexibility and precise temperature control.

Indoor Unit Placement

When considering the placement of the indoor mini-split unit there are a few things to consider.

Aesthetics and Room Positioning

The aesthetic appearance of your mini split system in a room is a crucial aspect to consider. While the units are generally sleek and unobtrusive, their placement should blend seamlessly with your room décor, rather than becoming the focal point. Proper alignment with room elements can help maintain symmetry and contribute to overall aesthetic harmony.

Proximity to Furniture and Appliances

When choosing the mini-split placement, consider its proximity to furniture and appliances. The unit should be installed in a location where its airflow isn’t obstructed by furniture, curtains, or appliances. This allows for more efficient operation and better air distribution.

Giving Ample Space

It’s essential to ensure your mini-split has ample space around it. Crowded installations can hamper its performance, limiting the flow of air and reducing efficiency. The area surrounding the unit should be free from clutter to facilitate maintenance and repair tasks.

Access to Filter

For the longevity and optimal functioning of your mini split system, regular filter maintenance is necessary. Hence, place your unit in a location that allows easy access to the filter, making cleaning or replacing the filter a hassle-free task.

Condensate Drainage

Efficient drainage of condensate is vital to prevent moisture build-up and potential damage to the unit. The indoor unit should be positioned in a way that allows easy access to the drain line, ensuring smooth function and longevity of your system.

Focusing on Air Distribution

The main job of a mini-split unit is to distribute air evenly throughout the space. Therefore, the unit should be placed in a strategic location that aids in optimal air distribution, providing a comfortable living environment.

Areas to Avoid

Avoid placing your mini-split system near heat sources, as this can affect its operational efficiency and lifespan. Also, avoid areas with heavy dust or where the unit could be exposed to physical impact. Remember, the placement of your mini split system plays a fundamental role in its performance and your home’s overall comfort.

Tips for Disguising a Mini-Split

Here are some tips to help a mini-split blend into your home aesthetics.

  • Build a Cabinet or Shelf Around It: Constructing a cabinet or a shelf around your mini-split can help camouflage it effectively, blending it into the room’s decor while still allowing for efficient operation and maintenance access.
  • Built-In Niche or Recessed Area: Installing your mini-split in a built-in niche or a recessed area can cleverly conceal it from plain view, especially if the recess blends with the overall aesthetics of the room.
  • Use Plants to Hide It: Strategically positioning houseplants around your mini-split can serve as a natural screen, softening its appearance while adding a touch of greenery to your space.
  • Create a Focal Point Elsewhere to Distract from It: Drawing attention to another element in the room, like an impressive piece of art or a vibrant accent wall, can help shift focus away from the mini-split.
  • Tuck It in a Corner: If possible, install your mini-split in a corner where it is less noticeable, yet still able to effectively circulate air throughout the room. This is a simple, yet effective strategy to camouflage your unit without impacting its functionality.

Best Rooms to Put a Mini-Split System

With its zoning capabilities, mini-splits are well-suited for a variety of rooms in your home.


When it comes to bedrooms, comfort is paramount. Installing a mini-split system can provide individualized temperature control, ensuring an optimal sleep environment. It’s a quiet solution that won’t disrupt your peaceful night’s rest.

Living Room

As the central hub of your home, the living room experiences high foot traffic and fluctuating temperatures. A mini-split system ensures consistent comfort, effortlessly adjusting to the changing heating or cooling demands of this highly utilized space.

Home Office

For those working from home, maintaining a comfortable environment is key to productivity. A mini-split in your home office can provide the necessary climate control, allowing you to focus on your tasks without the distraction of temperature discomfort.


Basements often struggle with temperature regulation due to their location below ground. Installing a mini-split system can enhance comfort by effectively heating or cooling this space, making it a more inviting area for use.

Other Rooms or Areas

Other rooms to consider are sunrooms, enclosed patios, guest rooms, home additions, and attics.

Outdoor Unit Placement

When installing a mini split outdoor unit, there are several important factors to consider in order to ensure proper placement and optimal performance.

Considerations for Outdoor Unit Placement

  • Sun Exposure: Avoid placements with direct sun exposure as it can lead to overheating of the unit.
  • Noise: Be mindful of noise, especially during the quiet nighttime hours. Avoid placing units near bedroom windows or neighboring properties if possible.
  • Clearance: There should be enough space around the unit for air circulation, and to facilitate maintenance and repair tasks.
  • Regulations: Always comply with local regulations regarding HVAC unit installations. Some areas may have restrictions on where units can be placed. If you’re part of a Homeowner’s Association, check for any bylaws related to HVAC installations.
  • Distance: Ideally, your outdoor unit should not be more than 100 feet from the indoor unit. The farther the two are, the harder the system has to work, which could reduce its lifespan and efficiency.


Placing your outdoor unit on the ground is a common choice. Ensure the unit is on an even surface for stability and away from shrubs or bushes to avoid airflow obstruction. Consider a location with minimal sun exposure to prevent overheating, and be mindful of noise if placed near windows or neighbor’s property.


Wall installation can be a good option for those with limited ground space. It’s crucial to ensure the wall can support the weight of the unit, and that the location allows for easy access to the unit for maintenance. Be cautious of installing the unit too high as it can increase noise levels.

Balcony or Terrace

A balcony or terrace can offer an excellent spot for your outdoor unit. They provide good air circulation and can reduce ground-level noise. Make sure the unit is not obstructed by furniture or plants, and the surface is even for secure placement.

Benefits of Mini-Splits

Ductless mini-split systems are a great option for homeowners seeking flexible and efficient heating and cooling solutions. These systems offer remarkable energy efficiency, saving on utility bills, and reducing your carbon footprint.

Mini-splits provide superior temperature control, allowing for customized comfort in each room. Plus, their easy installation, compact design, and quiet operation make them a practical choice for any home. Mini-splits also contribute to healthier indoor air with built-in air filtration systems. To explore further, check out our detailed post on the pros of going ductless.

Mini Split FAQs

Where should a mini-split be placed in a house?

A mini split should ideally be installed in a location that allows for optimal air distribution throughout the room along with aesthetics, noise, and ease of maintenance – typically high on a wall or in a corner. Placement will depend on the room’s layout, window locations, and the homeowner’s comfort needs.

Where should you not install a mini-split?

You should avoid installing a mini split in areas where airflow can be obstructed, like behind furniture or curtains, and in spaces with high levels of heat, such as near a fireplace, or near electronics. Direct sunlight or extremely cold areas can also negatively impact the efficiency and lifespan of the unit.

How far from the ceiling should a mini-split be?

A mini-split should typically be installed at least 6 inches below the ceiling to allow for efficient airflow. However, it’s crucial to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions as exact placement recommendations can vary based on the specific model.

How much space do you need around a mini split?

A mini-split needs sufficient clearance for efficient operation and maintenance, typically requiring at least 12 inches of space on all sides. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines as specific space requirements may vary depending on the model.

Can you install a mini split above a window?

Yes, a mini-split can be installed above a window, provided it doesn’t obstruct the unit’s airflow or breach any building regulations. However, this placement may impact the aesthetic appeal and could potentially cause noise disturbances.

Can you install a mini split above a door?

Yes, installing a mini-split above a door is possible and can effectively distribute the air throughout the room. However, ensure it does not disrupt the door’s operation or result in unwanted noise disturbances.

Can you install a mini split on an interior wall?

Yes, a mini-split can be installed on an interior wall, providing that the wall can support the weight of the unit and that it doesn’t obstruct airflow or interfere with the room’s layout and aesthetics. Installation costs for an interior wall may be more expensive. Always check specific manufacturer recommendations and local regulations before installation.

Should I install a mini-split myself?

While it’s technically possible to install a mini-split system yourself but due to the intricacies involved, it’s generally recommended to hire a professional HVAC installer. This ensures proper installation, optimal performance, and compliance with all warranty requirements.

Installing a Mini Split in Your Home

Take control of the comfort in your home. Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning understands the importance of reliable heating and cooling systems for everyday living. Our certified technicians will help you select the perfect mini-split system for your home and ensure it’s installed with precision. Since 1952, Jacobs has been serving the Portland and Vancouver area, building a legacy of trust with the best service, the best quality, and the best value. No matter what you need we’re always just a phone call away.

About the Author

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Amanda Jacobs, Internal Project Manager

Amanda Jacobs is an Internal Projects Manager and 3rd generation member of Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning. She received her MBA from Seattle University and has worked for a leading HVAC training and consulting firm. When not talking HVAC on the Jacobs Blog, you can find her on the golf course or whipping up her famous vegan chili.