Multi-family Housing Site
Illustrating VRF’s popularity in the Northwest U.S. is a recent 270-unit multi-family rental housing project where Steelhead Mechanical, Spokane, Wash., installed mini-splits in all the units.
VRF Condensing Units
Steelhead Mechanical offered the developer choices of conventional split systems with heat pumps and ductwork; packaged terminal air conditioners (PTAC); mini-splits in the main room with electric heat in the bedrooms; or multi-zone mini-splits. Mini-splits won out over the other technologies.
Dylan Bovee, left, account manager, Spokane branch of Carrier wholesaler, Airefco, Tualatin, Ore., worked with colleague Mike Hudson, right, Airefco ductless manager, to assist Steelhead in the engineering design.
RoughinBox in Place
Steelhead Mechanical starts each of the six multi-family housing buildings by installing a RoughinBox. Mini-split linesets, drain hose and communication/electric cables terminate in a room with a RoughinBox, by VRF air conditioning accessory manufacturer/importer Marketair, Edison, N.J.
RoughinBox After Drywall
“If a RoughinBox saves just five or ten minutes installation time with a project, such as this where there’s hundreds of evaporator coils, it adds up to a tremendous labor savings,” said Airefco’s Dylan Bovee,
RoughinBox Up Close
Photo shows RoughinBox in place with interior components.
The rough-in box gives the wall/ceiling contractor to dry wall around and the box’s hinged cover protects against paint overspray, while also giving access to the utilities during evaporator installation.
Jimmy Miller, right journeyman, Steelhead Mechanical, eliminates the need for a partner labor by using cardboard to prop up the evaporator while connecting everything himself. Mike Hudson, left, Airefco ductless manager, looks on.
Running Linesets Up the Chase
Steelhead Mechanical techs smartly hang up communication/electric wiring to avoid damage while running linesets up the building’s pipe chase.
Flaring VRF Linesets
Chris Ward, superintendent, Steelhead Mechanical, flares linesets before connecting to condensers.
Connecting Linesets to Condensers
Steelhead Mechanical’s design/build specified 2- and 2-1/2-ton model 38MGRQ mini-split condensers and 40MAQB 3/4 and 1-ton evaporator coils by Carrier division of United Technologies, Farmington, Conn., and distributed by Airefco, Spokane, Wash.
All two- and three-bedroom units are controlled by a thermostat mounted below the evaporator.
Finally, a crew charges each system and operates it for performance. Versus installing one complete system at a time, the mass production strategy of installing all rough-in boxes, followed by linesets, then condensers and evaporators, saves significant labor time, especially on large multi-housing projects, according to Shawn Talley, Steelhead Mechanical’s manager.