Installing a new air conditioning system in your home can be an exciting upgrade. But there are some key do's and don'ts you should keep in mind to ensure proper installation and prevent avoidable mistakes. Follow these essential tips when installing a new AC unit.
Installing a new air conditioning system in your home is an expensive endeavor that you'll want to get right the first time. Follow these key guidelines to ensure your new AC unit operates efficiently and reliably for years to come.
Do's When Installing A New Air Conditioner in Boca Raton
DO your research
Before choosing an AC unit, thoroughly research the options to select the correct system for your home. Key factors to consider include the square footage you need to cool, local climate conditions, AC efficiency ratings, features, warranties, and overall costs. Consulting with an HVAC professional is wise to ensure you pick an adequately sized, high-quality unit.
DO get the proper permits.
Most municipalities require permits when installing new air conditioning systems, especially for any electrical work involved. Be sure to get all necessary permits before the AC installation begins, and only use licensed and insured contractors. Trying to cut corners without permits can risk fines and invalidate warranties if issues arise.
DO have it installed professionally.
It is highly advisable to hire a licensed, insured, and experienced HVAC technician to install a new air conditioner. Improper AC installation often leads to inefficient performance and costly repairs down the road. Professional installers have the skills, tools, and know-how to size, select, and install your system to manufacturer specifications.
DO have the HVAC system properly sized.
One of the biggest mistakes DIYers make is choosing an AC unit that is too small or large for their cooling needs. This negatively impacts efficiency and performance. HVAC pros use manual calculations and advanced software to recommend a system that is just right for your home's size, layout, and climate. Trust their expertise in unit sizing.
DO confirm electrical requirements are met.
Your electrical system must meet certain requirements to safely run your new AC system. This includes having adequate amperage in your electrical panel and wiring, plus a dedicated circuit and outlet for the condenser unit. An electrician should evaluate and upgrade your electrical service as needed before installation.
DO add insulation where needed.
For optimal efficiency, your home should be properly insulated before getting a new AC unit. Adding insulation to attics, crawlspaces, and unfinished basements will help the AC run less often to maintain desired temperatures. An energy audit can reveal where insulation improvements are needed most.
DO choose the properly sized unit.
This is absolutely crucial for optimal performance and efficiency. An oversized AC won't adequately dehumidify and can cause uneven cooling. An undersized unit will struggle to cool your home on hot days. Consult with an HVAC pro to size your system correctly based on square footage, climate, window area, and other factors.
DO get quotes from multiple contractors
Prices and expertise can vary greatly, so take time to research and compare several options. Look for an experienced company with licensed techs, positive reviews, and a good track record. Beware unreasonably lowball bids, which may indicate corners will be cut.
DO have the unit placed in an ideal location
Your contractor should assess outdoor space on all sides of your home to determine the best spot. Key factors are adequate clearance, sufficient drainage, and proximity to existing ductwork. Also, consider noise levels for any windows or patios nearby.
DO invest in a high-efficiency model
Though pricier upfront, an ENERGY STAR certified AC with a SEER rating of 16 or higher can lead to 30% lower cooling costs over a standard model. Look for quality components like a variable speed compressor.
DO have proper foundations and supports installed.
Proper leveling and anchoring prevent vibration, noise, and premature wear. Outdoor units should have sturdy pad foundations. Roof-mounted condensers need rails secured to rafters to handle the weight and wind stresses.
DO ensure tight duct connections.
Any leaks here waste cooled air, causing system inefficiency. Use mastic sealant rather than duct tape for durable air-tight bonds. Insulate all ductwork to prevent sweating and moisture.
DO confirm the correct refrigerant charging
The refrigerant charge must be precise based on the size of your AC system. Faulty charging leads to higher operating costs and poor performance. Only trained HVAC technicians should handle AC refrigerant.
Don't When Installing a New Air Conditioner in Boca Raton
DON’T install it yourself unless you're highly experienced
Without proper HVAC training, acquiring the necessary skills to safely install an AC unit on your own is difficult. And mistakes by DIYers often require expensive corrections by a professional. The complexities involved really make hiring an HVAC pro mandatory for most homeowners.
DON’T forget the ethical disposal of old refrigerants and equipment
When swapping out an old AC system, it is vital to capture and recycle the refrigerant per federal law before removal. The outdated equipment also needs proper disposal at a facility that recycles HVAC components. Neglecting these environmental responsibilities can lead to legal consequences.
DON’T overlook permitting requirements.
Failing to obtain the required permits for the AC installation can cause problems later if you need to file an insurance claim for damages or if the work gets flagged during an inspection. Plus, permitting ensures licensed contractors are completing the work to code. Don't risk headaches by skipping permits.
DON’T assume your electrical system is sufficient
Too often, homeowners do not have their electrical service evaluated before installation. This can overload and damage electrical systems not designed to handle the power demands of a new AC unit. Always consult an electrician to ensure your home's wiring, amperage, circuits and outlets are sufficient.
DON’T ignore manufacturer requirements.
Failing to follow the manufacturer's instructions is one shortcut you don't want to take. Their guidelines for proper sizing, installation clearances, wiring specifications and more are crucial for safe, efficient operation. Overlooking manufacturer requirements can void warranties if problems arise.
DON’T block airflow to the unit.
Many homeowners make the mistake of placing plants, yard decor, storage items and other obstructions too close the condenser unit. This prevents adequate airflow and causes the AC system to work harder. Keep all materials at least 2 feet away from the condenser for maximum efficiency.
DON’T block air intake or output areas
AC units require sufficient airflow clearance so the condenser coil doesn’t overheat. Avoid placing units too close to walls, bushes, or other obstructions that restrict air in or out.
DON’T install the condenser on unstable ground
Soft soils or uneven surfaces can cause the AC unit to tilt or settle over time, resulting in strain on refrigerant lines and fan motor problems. Be sure the area has been properly graded and compacted.
DON’T forget to check the compatibility
If you're keeping your existing furnace or air handler, the new outdoor AC condenser must be made by the same manufacturer for optimized efficiency and operation. Mixing brands often causes major issues.
DON’T forget a pad for the outdoor condenser
This provides proper elevation as well as a stable, level foundation. The pad enables rain, melting snow, and condensation to drain safely away from the unit instead of pooling around it.
DON’T use the AC system without a filter
AC filters safeguard your coils and ducts against dust buildup that can cause major damage over time. Check that your contractor installs a clean filter in the under-blower compartment before starting up your new air conditioner.
DON’T block outdoor unit access
Install the condenser in a spot that allows sufficient room for future repairs or maintenance. Technicians will need at least 36" clearance on all sides to safely remove panels or disassemble components when needed.
DON’T allow improper electrical installation
Only certified electricians should handle wiring and connections for 240-volt AC circuits. A faulty power supply poses serious fire risks and can damage the equipment.
In summary, properly installing a new air conditioner requires research, skill, and care to get right. Follow these do's and don'ts to ensure your AC unit is set up correctly the first time around. Adhering to the manufacturer's and contractor's recommendations will provide you with a cooling system that functions efficiently and safely all summer long.
By carefully following these do's and don'ts when installing your new AC system, you'll gain maximum comfort and energy savings over the unit's lifespan. With proper placement, sizing, foundations, and setup performed by skilled pros, your air conditioner will provide cool relief in your home for many hot summers to come.
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