TikTok Reviews The Mr. Cool DIY Mini-Split & Shares If It’s Really Worth The Price

When HVAC pro @diy.hvac.guy posted a video showing his newly installed DIY mini-split heat pump, TikTok was impressed with the results. However, the real revelations came over on his YouTube channel, where he detailed the installation of the 18,000 BTU MrCool heat pump. In the most thorough installation walkthrough we remember seeing, @diy.hvac.guy showed that an experienced DIYer could install a mini-split unit with a few caveats. What he didn’t show was whether the more expensive MrCool DIY units are a wise financial choice, so we decided to find out. What did we learn? Well, what we learned is that the DIY mini-splits are sometimes a smart approach, especially for larger units.

We looked at the 24 best-selling units at Lowe’s and compared the prices of similar units (in terms of BTU rating, number of zones, etc.). We found that the single-zone units from MrCool usually cost 129 to 135% of competitors’ prices, depending on BTU rating and other factors. That represents a price difference ranging from $301.50 to $636.53. Given the cost to install a mini-split air conditioner and specifically the average labor cost for a single-zone mini-split, which ranges from $300 to $1500, it is possible to save money, but not a given. Similarly sized two- and three-zone MrCool systems were $1,021.24 and $1,146.61 more expensive, and since the average labor cost for multi-zone systems is $1,500 to $5,000 or more, MrCool’s bigger systems are a better bet for DIY savings.

Can you install a MrCool DIY mini-split?

By all accounts, including our own experiences with non-DIY mini-splits, MrCool does a great job making their kits as simple as possible to install. But is “as simple as possible” good enough for the average DIYer? In his YouTube video, @diyhvacguy is very thorough and clear about when his MrCool unit exceeded his expectations or missed the mark, and there weren’t many of the latter. There was some minor confusion about the centerline of the cardboard mounting template, and @diyhvacguy had to install his own anti-short bushings for an electrical cable. He also seems to find it unfortunate that MrCool missed the opportunity to color-code wires in the condensing unit’s terminal block.

On the other hand, MrCool did several things to make the process painless, like providing some of the tools necessary for the installation. But where the MrCool heat pump shines is in the lineset — a pair of coiled copper tubes that comes pre-charged with refrigerant because charging an air conditioning unit requires equipment and skills well outside of the average DIYer’s reach. Perhaps the most nerve-wracking thing about the entire installation is bending the lineset, which, if kinked, might need to be professionally repaired. MrCool adds corrugated sleeves and a spiral elbow in the ½-inch line to make kinks unlikely, and the company’s quick-connect system allows you to connect the lines with a couple of wrenches instead of the flaring equipment required for a typical professional installation.

Is MrCool’s excellence enough?

Unfortunately, none of this means that a total DIY novice can install a MrCool mini-split. As @diyhvacguy hints, there are many skills, bits of knowledge, and tools that the average homeowner probably won’t have. During the installation, he uses a drill extension and a torque wrench, for example. He knows to seal gaps in the lineset insulation to prevent condensation leaks, and he’s familiar enough with the finicky process of mounting the head unit not to panic or force things when there’s trouble. He knows the damage that occurred during shipping was a minor problem he could fix rather than take on the hassle of a return. In the electrical part of the installation, he’s 100% competent dealing with everything from different-colored ground screws to a full circuit breaker box. @diyhvacguy does it all himself, though the manufacturer advises DIYers to have an electrician install the mini-split’s required disconnect. Many of these aren’t common skills among DIYers.

A few situations also arise that not every DIYer would know how to handle, such as the unusual routing of the lineset through the wall, including around electrical wiring. This ultra-competent social media DIYer also has the foresight to have helpers nearby at critical moments. In all, it’s not the most complicated job, but it’s daunting enough that a beginner might choose to pay the (sometimes small) difference for professional installation. But an experienced DIYer, armed with @diyhvacguy’s video guide, will probably have little trouble.