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Community and Q&A

Mini-split head unit

Chris Brown | Posted in Mechanicals on

My research clearly indicates that the head unit of a ductless system must be left exposed for proper air circulation. Question: Could the unit be “hidden” within a soffit area provided that the front and ends of the soffit were constructed of fixed louvers? I have in mind something similar to louvered bi-fold doors mounted horizontally across the face of the soffit area to facilitate the air movement. Thanks

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    If you haven't read it yet, check out this article: Putting the Duct Back in Ductless. You might be interested in Image #2 and Image #3 at the bottom of the article.

  2. Chris Brown | | #2

    Thanks Martin.
    The photo is just about exactly what I was envisioning. It will be located in a bonus room over the garage (yes, all the air sealing, kneewalls, open floor joists and "cold floor" issues have been dealt with) so I have the luxury of building out a soffit on one end wall.

  3. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #3


    Be sure to run your concealment design by the manufacturer. Daikin would not warranty the performance of its Quaternity unit when I showed them a similar idea to the one in Martin's link.

  4. Pat Rowland | | #4

    both Mitsubishi and LG have a ceiling cassette, too - concealed up into the rafters/floor joists. Depending upon your planned layout, this might work, too?


  5. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #5

    Most manufacturers specify the clearance requirements clearly in the installation documentation, but a number of valance & grille approaches can work. Most need a fair amount of clearance from the ceiling above for good air flow, and not to much impediment in front where it's blowing out/down, but it can be done. The 3" min-clearance specified in the third drawing on Martin's blog bit is too tight for good air flow no matter what the installation manuals say. (On page 3 of the Quaternity manual it specifies 30mm to the ceiling, but even out in the open I'd give it a good 6" if there were space enough. )

    Almost all manufacturers have mini-duct, ceiling flush-mount, and recessed ceiling cassettes, but not all are compatible with any given outdoor unit. (The Daikin Quaternity is only available in a wall-mount unit.)

  6. Chris Brown | | #6

    Thanks for all input. Not interested in clg mount alternative but fortunate to have plenty of room on end wall of room. Clearance aroiund the head will not be an issue at all. Can constuct the soffit leaving 6-8" clearance on all perimeters. Was simply asking about a decorative yet functional face to the soffit that allows for proper air circulation. Should be good to go. Thanks again.

  7. Aj Builder, Upstate NY Zone 6a | | #7

    Chris, I am all for your efforts. That said personally of late I have decided to like the look of these units showing. I want to see and be proudly showing off such an efficient HVAC device.

    Trying to follow my own advice to "welcome and embrace change."

  8. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #8

    I agree. Another factor: many minisplit heads have sophisticated fans and vanes that are designed to throw heat in way that distributes the heat evenly. There is a lot of airflow engineering behind small design details in each unit. I would hate to add louvers in front of the unit if the louvers mess up the airflow in any way.

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