The Basics of Installing an Air Conditioner in Your Home

Air Conditioner mini split system next to home with painted brick wall and space for text copy

 

The US heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) market is a $15.16 billion industry. What’s more, about three million new HVAC units get installed in the country each year.

If you’re in the market for a new AC unit yourself, it’s best to first learn more about its installation process. Knowing how to install an air conditioner can also help you choose the right type of AC to invest in.

This guide covers the basics of installing an air conditioner, so be sure to keep reading.

Building Assessment

The first crucial step to AC installation is assessing your home’s cooling needs. Don’t worry, as most AC installers offer this for free when you buy a new unit from them. They will evaluate your home to figure out the proper air conditioner size you need.

Air Conditioner Sizing

Proper AC sizing is crucial as this element determines the system’s cooling ability. However, this doesn’t automatically mean bigger is better or smaller is cheaper.

For instance, an AC that’s too big can provide inadequate cooling and promote mold growth. Moreover, early studies found that oversized AC units use about 13% more energy, on average.

By contrast, an AC that’s too small will take a long time to cool your home. It may never even reach the point wherein it can deliver adequate cooling. This may then force you to set it to the lowest temperature, which, in turn, will make your bills skyrocket.

Choosing a Location for the Unit

An AC installer also needs to map out the best installation location of the unit.

If you’re getting a central or split-system AC, you need to determine where the outdoor unit should go. Outdoor units, which have a compressor and a definite purpose contactor, need to be on a level surface.

If you’re getting a room air conditioner, you need to decide whether to get a wall or window type. A wall AC requires creating a hole in the wall, while a window AC can fit in an existing window.

Actual Air Conditioner Installation

If you choose a central or split-system AC and your home doesn’t have air ducts yet, you need to get new ducts. If you have existing ducts, the AC installer needs to check them for damages. Do note that leaky ducts can waste up to 40% of cooling and heating energy.

Next, the AC installer will lay out the unit’s pipe and electrical work. The pro will then assemble the unit and connect it to your home’s electrical system.

Unit Testing and Clean-Up

After setting up and connecting your AC, the installer will then test the system. If you’ve had a room AC installed, it should take about 20 minutes for the room to be noticeably cooler. Most AC professionals stick around for this.

If you went for a central or split-system AC, it could take up to three hours to cool your entire home. The technician may not wait that long, but they must still confirm that cool air flows out of air vents and grilles. They’ll then call you later in the day to follow up on how your new AC is performing.

Before leaving your home, the AC installer will clean up the entire work area, too.

Go Pro When Installing an Air Conditioner

As you can see, installing an air conditioner can be quite complex (it involves math, after all). More than that, you need mechanical and electrical knowledge to set up the unit properly. For these reasons, it’s always best to hire a professional technician to install your new AC.

Looking for more educational resources on architecture, homes, or construction? Then please feel free to browse and read our other guides!

 

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