Installing the B&Q Airforce 9000 BTU airconditioning system

After looking at the system in the shop and discussing it with the staff, I went to order the system. The girl on the help desk insisted they had no stock - until I showed it to her! She was confused by the fact that it comprised two separate packages - the indoor and the outdoor units. However, the computer confirmed that this was so.

The two boxes were delivered at 1pm on the following Sunday. I didn't need a weekend delivery but it seemed convenient for B&Q.

After perusal of the printed instructions and CD guide, my engineer went and hired a 90mm hole cutter for £15. He cut a hole right through the wall. Be warned - protect everything with dust covers first! Also make sure that your vacuum cleaner is working and has a new belt and dust bag.

Note: In order to cut a 90mm diameter hole you'll need the proper hole cutter and an industrial drill. An ordinary household elecric drill is unlikely to cope.

Here is the insulated double copper pipe coming out of the wall, together with the plastic drainage hose.

The initial idea was to mount the unit on the outside wall below the indoor unit. The engineer went to B&Q and bought the wall bracket set. He marked out and drilled the wall, fitted the brackets and lifted the outdoor unit onto them.

Then he spotted a problem. The unit needs to be 30cm from the wall, otherwise there's not enough clearance to get the double-pipe fitting into the connector on the unit!

The standard brackets gave only 15cm clearance, even with the wall bracket hammered flat.

A call to the helpline elicited the information that a pair of extension brackets was needed. These were posted free of charge and arrived four days later. I called the engineer back in and it was obvious that these brackets were not going to support the weight of the unit. It would need additional "feet" resting on the ground.

At this point he decided that the brackets were a silly idea and bolted the unit to a pair of concrete slabs. These, in turn, were bolted to the footpath, below.

(B&Q say that the design has now been improved and later units can easily be fitted to a wall bracket. However, you might like to consider the possibility that noise could be transmitted through the wall, even though the fan is relatively quiet).

As you can see, this method left plenty of room between the unit and the wall to attach the double-pipe coupling.

The almost completed job. The pipe exit hole has to be filled with expanding foam, to seal it agains rain and insects.

The double-pipe has to be fixed to the wall with suitable clips. I got some clips that are normally used to fix 2" bathroom pipe in place (below). Unbelievably, B&Q didn't stock 40mm clips in white! (Maybe they do now).

The unit is operated by a remote control (supplied). It is reasonably quiet and very effective. However, I'm annoyed that the B&Q people didn't realise that the bracket idea is totally impractical.

But, all in all, the unit works very well and it proved to be good value for money compared with the professional estimate of £2000 for a similar installation.

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