Most air conditioners require professional installation. The parts of an AC system include a compressor, condenser coil, and evaporator coil as well as a blower to disperse cooled air, a fan to dissipate heat outside, a thermostat, and filter. For all these parts to work properly and efficiently, the air conditioner must be installed correctly. You’ll most likely rely on your local HVAC contractor for air conditioning installation, but this overview of the process can help you prepare.
An in-home consultation is more than about receiving a price estimate. A contractor must determine your needs and what is best suited for your home before drafting a proposal. They will collect information to provide to the installation team. Typically, DIY installation isn’t recommended because of paperwork, permitting, and certification requirements as well as the time involved and risk of making costly mistakes.
Selecting an AC Appropriate for Your Home
If you don’t select the right system, your home won’t be as comfortable and energy costs may be higher. A professional installer will consider the following as part of the air conditioning installation process:
- Determine the Right Sized AC: If it’s too small, the AC won’t cool your home on a hot summer day. If it’s too large, the unit will turn on and off too quickly, making your home more humid.
- Measure for Proper Sizing: Factor around 15 to 25 British Thermal Units (BTUs) per square foot of cooling power. Multiply that by the total square footage of your home and that’s the capacity air conditioning system you need. A professional contractor will also factor in the number of windows and doors, ceiling height, insulation, sunlight exposure, and other variables.
- Condition of Ductwork: If your ductwork is dirty, contaminated, or leaking, even the newest, most efficient air conditioners won’t run properly. The contractor will evaluate your ducts to determine if they need to be reconfigured, cleaned, or sealed so your air will be clean and the new system won’t be strained.
The Installation Team Arrives
The HVAC company will inform you of when the installers will arrive. Upon arrival, the lead installer will share pertinent details on the equipment and accessories they will install. You’ll have time to review them so mistakes can be avoided. Be attentive to how well the installers communicate with you; the more informative they are, the more confident you can be they’re committed to doing their job right.
Removal of Existing HVAC Equipment
The team will begin by using a recovery machine to remove refrigerant from the system. It is illegal to vent refrigerant into the air; instead, it will be drained from the system into a tank. Next, technicians will disconnect electrical wiring from the old system and turn off the circuit breaker for the air conditioner. They will also remove and replace the power conduit, or “whip”, and install a disconnect box if the old system doesn’t have one.
Ensuring all surfaces and belongings in and around your house are protected, the contractors will remove the indoor evaporator coil over the furnace, copper refrigerant lines, condenser, and other components. Preparation for the new air conditioner will begin, including replacing the old pad the outdoor unit sat on. The area will be leveled and built up if necessary. A composite pad will preferably be installed that can absorb vibration and last the life of the new system.
Installing the New Air Conditioning System
The condenser unit will be carefully unpacked and placed on the outdoor pad. Next, the new indoor evaporator coil will be installed; if a cased coil is used, it will be installed on top of the furnace and no further modifications will be required. The contractor will also install a filter dryer, which absorbs moisture and provides filtration. Otherwise, water and moisture can enter refrigerant lines, cause water damage and corrosion, and react with oil to form acids.
Suction and liquid lines are then installed; this copper line set is placed close to beams and ductwork and in paths with as few bends as possible. Soft copper is bent by hand or with a special tool if necessary. The lines are secured every 4 to 6 feet, connected to the air conditioner, and run through a hole drilled in the wall to the outside unit (the lines are brazed or welded to each for proper sealing). Installers will also vacuum the lines and then add refrigerant taking special care not to expose it to the air.
Installation of high- and low-voltage wiring is another important step. A new service disconnect box will be mounted to an outside wall; a fused box provides overcurrent protection. Line and Load connections allow the power supply to be broken without having to shut the breaker at the main panel. The condensate drain line, consisting of a PVC pipe and condensation pump, is installed at the evaporator coil, and the installers begin startup and commissioning of the new system.
Finalizing Air Conditioning Installation
To test the new system, it will be turned on and run for 15 to 20 minutes. As refrigerant begins to flow, your home may feel warm at first, but the system and its components will run at full capacity before reaching maximum cooling potential. The installer will check various parameters while the system is running, including thermostat operation, supply and return air temperature, suction and liquid line pressure, humidity, static pressure, voltage, and more.
This helps determine if it’s operating within the manufacturer’s specifications. It also establishes a baseline for maintenance technicians to check against later if any issues develop. The crew will then remove old equipment and material, sweep dirt and debris, and leave your home how they found it. A walkthrough should be provided during which the installer explains system operation, safety, and maintenance as well as the warranty.
Village Plumbing and Air: Houston’s Trusted Air Conditioning Installation Company
Our contractors are trained and equipped to install air conditioners of all types and brands, with customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed. We’ve provided award-winning service across Houston and surrounding areas. In addition to a trusted process, we offer specials and financing to make selecting, purchasing, installing, and commissioning an HVAC system more affordable. To learn more or schedule air conditioning installation, request an appointment online or call 713-526-1491 today.