The most common errors during AC installation include:
- Not insulating refrigerant lines.
- Choosing a unit that is too small for the home.
- Not positioning the vents properly.
These errors can lead to inefficient operation, higher energy costs, and reduced comfort.
The best way to avoid these mistakes is to work with a professional during installation. The following steps will help you do that.
Select the Right AC Unit
A home’s size, construction materials, and location affect its cooling capabilities. But an even more important factor is the air conditioner’s capacity, measured in tons. Port Orange air conditioning with a lower-than-required capacity will use more energy to provide the same cooling. This can increase your electricity bills and cause advanced wear on the unit.
To determine what size AC to install, start by measuring the square footage of the room or rooms you need to cool. Then, calculate the BTUs needed per hour by multiplying the room’s length and width. You can also get a good idea of the right AC size by looking at your current system’s SEER rating and cooling capacity.
Install the Unit
Most window ACs come with support bases designed to keep the unit secure in the window. The base is attached to the bottom of the window by screws and helps prevent the unit from being pushed up into the glass.
Experts recommend having a partner for this step, as some window units can be heavy. Place the unit in the window opening, ensuring the accordion wings are even with the jamb and centered within the window.
Screw an L-bracket to the top of the lower window sash, securing it to the air conditioner. The brackets help prevent the window from being pushed up, which is the main concern with window ACs.
Install the Thermostat
The next step is to install the thermostat. This is usually a fairly easy task and can be done by most homeowners. However, turning off the power to that part of the house before beginning this process is important. This will help to reduce the chance of electrical injuries during the installation.
After turning off the power, it’s a good idea to take a photo of the existing wiring to reference it when connecting the new wires. Labeling the low-voltage wires with a piece of tape is also a good idea so you can identify them easily. Then, remove the old faceplate from the wall and attach the new one, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Connect the Electrical Wires
Electrical connections on an AC unit involve high-voltage components and wiring. A professional or licensed electrician should do these. Using the nameplate data from Step 1, determine the wire gauge needed to safely conduct 65 amperes of power to the unit. Then, use a cable connector in a disconnect switch’s knockout holes to route the type UF cable.
Prepare the wires by stripping about an inch of insulation from each end. Then, splice them together by twisting clockwise and connecting them to the terminal blocks. This step is essential for minimizing voltage fluctuations, leading to inefficient cooling performance, equipment damage, and premature breakdowns.
Connect the Ductwork
After examining your home’s floor plan and creating an installation plan for the vents, your technician will begin installing ductwork. If your home requires first-time ductwork, this typically occurs before your AC unit is installed.
Thoroughly planning your ductwork can help reduce temperature variations between rooms. It can also improve airflow efficiency by reducing the number of bends in the duct system.
When installing square ductwork, it’s important to keep in mind that you should maintain a 1.5-inch overlap between sections. This will help prevent leaks. When installing return ducts, be sure to cut a hole on the side of the heater that matches the size and shape of the return duct.
Seal and Insulate the Ductwork
The ductwork in many homes needs to be better sealed and insulated. This wastes heat (or cold, for AC) and makes your system work harder than it should.
Leaky ducts can reduce your system’s efficiency by 20% or more. This can be expensive.
To fix this problem, you need to seal and insulate the ductwork. This will prevent unneeded heat loss and condensation, which can damage the ducts and the insulation. You’ll need gloves, safety goggles, and a utility knife to do this job. You’ll also need foil tape and mastic sealant. The best mastic sealant for ducts is a metal-based, UL-approved product. Other options include butyl and fiberglass tape.