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Community and Q&A

Hiding a minisplit indoor unit

hughw | Posted in General Questions on

I’ve seen a few articles about “hiding” indoor units. Obviously, a ducted unit is one solution but that requires additional access to wherever the unit is located. 

For me, the “ugliest” aspect of the indoor units is how they are completely not integrated with the wall they are mounted on. In my case, the wall that the units would be mounted on are high and have space behind where the unit could be located. 

Two solutions have occurred to me that would mitigate the look. The first would be to install the unit into a recess in the wall the depth  of the unit. Is this ok, and if so, how much clearance would be needed around the unit? The second would be to wall-mount a ceiling cassette such as the Mitsubishi MLZ-KP00NA….granted it’s about 14″x48″ face size vs. about 12″x37″ for a regular unit, but it would be flush in the wall. Can a ceiling unit be used in this manner?

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  1. agooch | | #1

    All the manufacturer clearance specs I’ve seen are at least 4”, so it would have to be a pretty big recessed area. The other thing I would worry about is the internal thermostat reading weird because of air pooling in the area, although an external thermostat would likely fix that and sounds lately like it might be a good idea anyway.

  2. CraigRo | | #2

    If you look at the 4-way cassette as an example for clearances, you'll see on the submittal drawing the required clearances called out. No such clearances are called out on the 1-way cassette. All services can be done through the removal of the grille.

    NOTE: Major repair is not service or maintenance and would require more clearances than noted on the drawings. This is an important distinction, as many tend to think "how do I replace this" vs. "how do I service this" when detailing clearances.

    Have you visited Access to all submittal drawings.

    -Your friendly neighborhood Trane/Mitsubishi sales person.

  3. hughw | | #3

    Yes....I was thinking of a one-way cassette, and understand that all maintenance can be done from below for a ceiling mount without needing access around it. As far as I can see, the literature always shows then installed in a ceiling, for which they're designed. But is it possible to use them in a wall installation?

  4. jameshowison | | #4

    Yeah, that’s a nope I’m installing the 1 way cassettes vertically. They actually require less than 1/8 inch out from level. One clear reason is that the grille firms a tray for collecting condensate (which is then removed through an impeller tube out the top of the unit.

    I did a long review on ecomfort. Ceilings need to be flat and level since sealing the dust filter uses the grille, so gaps around it (from I level or wavy ceilings) cause dust buildup.

    They are also completely unclear whether these are designed to be part of the ceiling air barrier.

    But yeah, a wall hidden unit would make a ton of sense. But these definitely are not it :)

  5. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #5

    I don't have finished photos but I've designed recesses for wall units on a few occasions. As Craig mentioned, for drawings. If I recall correctly, some of the dimensions are only on the CAD drawings, not in the specs.

    1. hughw | | #6

      Michael, that’s pretty much the installation I was thinking of, cathedral ceiling and all. What do you think after doing it ? More or less obtrusive than surface mounted?

      1. Expert Member
        Michael Maines | | #8

        Hugh, although I designed recesses on several occasions, for one reason or another I have not seen the final result on any of them. I'm sure it looks cleaner than having the head project off the wall. But some of the new units are pretty sleek looking, so I'm not sure that it's worth the effort in all cases.

  6. CraigRo | | #7

    I recommend this unit:

    Floor standing unit that can be semi-recessed into the wall by design, and with some architectural work may be able fully recess with grilles, or other cover to fully hide the unit. May require thinking outside the box for installing and prevention of short-cycling the air.

  7. Expert Member

    My feeling is the issue of mini-splits looks is receding all the time. When I first saw one I noticed it, but now they have become more ubiquitous I don't - just like I don't notice other common household equipment like refrigerators, baseboard heaters, ventilation grills, big-screen TV, etc. I wonder if drawing attention to them by putting them in a purpose made niche won't be counter-productive?

  8. Expert Member
    Akos | | #10

    I'm with Malcolm on this, they do just blend in. I've never had any tenant comment on the look. I would be hesitant to recess the units, the blowers on these need to be cleaned every couple of years, I can see that being a big pain without some access bellow.

    What I find works better is strategically locating the unit.

    You notice it way less when it is above a fridge, door or cabinet. If it has to be on a wall by itself, when you walk into a room, aim for the unit not to be located on any of the feature walls. Locating it a off to one side, not in the center of the wall, also helps. If you have taller ceilings, locating it higher up makes it also much less visible.

  9. MattJF | | #11

    Ducted is the way to go if you want concealed. The Fujitsu units can mount vertically. It sounds like you have some room to work with. With a ducted unit, you can install a good, large filter and never need regular maintenance/cleaning. Ideal is access from the back in a closet or other space for repairs. Worse case would be a removable panel in the room.

    See page 4:

  10. bfw577 | | #12

    Is this mainly for heating? If so the floor console units are superior over wall units for heating. I have both and the floor console units can direct the hot air out across the floor.

    Here is infared shot of my floor console..

  11. gusfhb | | #13

    It helps to have white walls as I do, but yeah, they blend in and you forget about them. Don't site them so you stare at them when you enter the room, especially from the side, they are much thicker than you think.

    Some newer ones are nicer looking.

    No one has ever walked into my house and mentioned them

  12. ssnellings | | #14

    Dedicated recessed areas for wall units aren't my favorite look, from my perspective they draw attention rather than deflect it. If you can avoid putting the wall unit on a wall where people normally approach from the side and instead approach from the front, I think the aesthetics are improved. You remove most of the impression that the unit is 'overhanging' activities below, because you aren't constantly looking at the depth of the unit.

    Placing them over kitchen uppers, or above bookcases/storage cabinets in other rooms (with proper clearances) is another good way to reducing the visual impact without needed to frame a custom recess.

    All that said, I prefer the baseboard level units from an appearance perspective.

  13. CarsonZone5B | | #15

    I've been looking for the same solution since the ceiling cassette wouldn't work on my vaulted SIP ceiling in my great room, so I've been looking at installing concealed duct units in walls (see Finding examples of installations has been difficult, but the most logical place to put them would be under the stairs, which I can build a hidden door into for access. Other places would be to put in a soffit into an adjoining room (bedroom closets, bathrooms), and under the cabinets seemed like an ideal location for putting heating registers, but the concealed duct units are too large, you would likely have to mount it verticall inside a large cabinet.

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