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When the ductless indoor unit was installed a hole was cut in the drywall behind the unit and smoke from my neighbour's apartment is coming in through the opening into my home. Is it possible for me to pull the unit away from the wall slightly in order to gain access or will it require the piping to be disconnected by a professional beforehand?

Update: After opening up the wall and taking a look, I've determined that it's not possible that the smell is coming from the neighbour since it's very well sealed. I did a more thorough sniffing around the unit and it seems that the burning odor is coming from the box where the electrical wiring is. I've have contacted the company I purchased it from to come inspect. The lesson? Don't make assumptions I guess.

Update 2: A technician came to inspect the unit and determined there was no problem with the electrical. He cleaned it thoroughly and the smell is gone. For some reason there was a odor, perhaps something lingering from the production factory, or perhaps mildewy/mustiness, that smelled like burning/smoke.

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  • Yes. Based on the info you've shared so far, that's the best answer we can give you. How about a picture or two? How about info on where there's any slack in the lines? How about contacting the installer (or apartment management) and asking them to take care of it (which is all you really should be doing as a renter, not an owner).
    – FreeMan
    May 4, 2022 at 15:28
  • I am the home owner. Since all of the wiring and piping is inside the wall I cannot determine slack or take useful photos. The installers have "we may need to punch holes in the drywall" in their contract's fine print. They said they could remove the unit and reinstall it for a large fee but don't do drywall repair. I spoke to a technician at the company and he seems to have suggested that I could pull it away slightly but there was a language barrier to communication.
    – MarcGuay
    May 4, 2022 at 15:37
  • My main concern is safety - do you see any danger of the refridgerant lines breaking if I move slowly?
    – MarcGuay
    May 4, 2022 at 15:55
  • Is there a danger of that happening? Yes. How much danger? We can't say because we can't see what you see. There may be some slack in the lines, there may not be. Usually, refrigerant lines are made of soft copper that comes in a roll that's more-or-less straightened out on install. It can flex a bit more, but it won't take rough handling. If you won't share some pics of the installation, I doubt there's much more anyone can tell you.
    – FreeMan
    May 4, 2022 at 16:20
  • I added some photos although I suppose I would need to get on a ladder and look down into the covering in the 2nd photo to see how close the pipes are bent against the wall.
    – MarcGuay
    May 4, 2022 at 16:47

2 Answers 2

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Call a qualified technician. There is no slack in the copper piping. Those pipes are bent in place and are fairly rigid. A small mistake will create a refrigerant leak, collapse a pipe, stretch the power cable, etc. You won't know for sure until you turn on the compressor and then voila, you might then need to repair/replace the compressor, or any number of not inexpensive problems.

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  • Since it's unlikely that I can find an HVAC company which also does drywall, would you suggest that the solution is to have the indoor unit removed professionally, then patch the drywall, then have the unit put back in?
    – MarcGuay
    May 5, 2022 at 13:27
  • @MarcGuay - Yes, that is the correct strategy. HVAC techs are good at making holes in drywall while drywall repair and painting are left for others to complete usually. May 5, 2022 at 16:40
  • @MarcGuay You may find someone who is willing to do both. I doesn't hurt to ask. Drywall repair isn't really all that difficult. There are also many, many questions and answers here (and materials elsewhere) that would guide you in doing it yourself.
    – gnicko
    May 9, 2022 at 14:05
  • @gnicko I thought of a solution that doesn't involve touching the indoor unit at all - cut a new hole in the drywall under it to gain access to the hole behind it. I've contacted local trades people who do drywall and am waiting for a callback.
    – MarcGuay
    May 9, 2022 at 19:14
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Although this doesn't actually answer the specific question I asked, it does solve the problem I was having: A technician came to inspect the unit and determined there was no problem with the electrical. He cleaned it thoroughly and the smell is gone. For some reason there was a odor, perhaps something lingering from the production factory, or perhaps mildewy/mustiness, that smelled like burning/smoke.

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