What Goes into Placing an AC Unit?

Published on: July 16, 2014
An HVAC tech checking his gauges | AC Southeast®

If you are anticipating the need for a new cooling system, you may be concerned with the process for air conditioner replacement. Each home has its unique requirements based on structure, climate and household activities. It is important to work with an experienced contractor to ensure that your investment is protected by being properly placed and tested for function.

Location for Your Equipment

Your home’s design will generally dictate the type of air conditioning equipment needed. At the time of the home’s initial architectural work, these factors were probably considered. However, you may live in a home that pre-dates modern air conditioning solutions, and you should select a contractor who has the experience to handle such issues.

System Selection

Meeting with your contractor will provide the opportunity for measurements to be taken so that your cooling load can be computed. Factors such as square footage, levels, windows and climate all factor into this computation, providing your contractor with an understanding of the cooling capacity needed in your system. It is important that your contractor is as accurate as possible to ensure that your system isn’t too much or too little for your home’s needs.

Your HVAC professional will also work with you in determining priorities in energy efficiency levels and in overall costs. These issues tend to be directly related with higher costs typically accompanying the most efficient systems. This doesn’t mean that if you select the least expensive system that you will have poor comfort levels. Today’s systems are much more efficient than those installed a decade or more ago, and if you are replacing a system that is that old, you can expect the energy performance to be much better. At the same time, you may want to invest in greater energy efficiency because of the significantly lower energy bills that can be expected.

Permit Requirements

Although you may be replacing an existing system, it is possible that a permit will be required for your upgrade. You should work with a contractor who is licensed for the work to ensure an up-to-date understanding of the current standards in the industry. Not all communities require building permits, and a properly licensed contractor will know whether this is a need in your case. Contractors will typically handle these requirements or inform you of any necessary steps on your part.

Completion of the Installation

An installation typically takes no more than one day. The time required can range from eight to 10 hours based on various factors. Ductless equipment may only take three or four hours. Your contractor must have time to remove existing equipment and to make sure that support areas are level and stable. After installing new system components, your contractor will need to be sure that refrigerant levels are appropriate and that mechanical equipment is level. A poor installation can result in issues such as leaks from drain pans or vibration from the condenser unit at a later date, leading to potential repair calls. With mechanical equipment in place and operating, your contractor will also balance the system to ensure that the air delivery and temperature control throughout the home is appropriate.

Caring for Your Equipment After Installation

AC maintenance is recommended each spring to ensure that your equipment provides maximum efficiency. Just a small layer of dirt on the coils in your air handler can result in a loss of 5 percent efficiency, making it wise to invest in a thorough inspection and tune-up each year. You will also need to monitor your air filter during seasonal use to ensure optimum performance. We can assist you in locating a contractor who serves your community as you research your AC installation through AirConditioningSouthEast.com.