Although the overwhelming array of options, resources and prices can make it seem tempting to install your new air conditioner yourself, that’s probably not a good idea unless you are an expert. If you try to install your AC system and you don’t know what you are doing, it can actually be dangerous, and can also make your system less efficient.
It’s always best to trust the installation of your central AC system to an experienced and licensed technician. However, you’ll want to have some understanding of the installation process and know what to expect in the way of prices.
Types of Central AC Units
The split system, which has components indoors and outdoors, is the most widely used type of central AC in the US. Refrigerant lines connect the exterior metal box that houses the compressor and condenser coil to the interior unit, which contains the evaporator coil and blower.
Also common is the heat pump, which also has an exterior component and an indoor unit. A heat pump basically works by either depositing heat into the earth or extracting heat from the earth, to cool or heat your home as needed.
If you have what’s known as a packaged air conditioner, it’s probably located just outside your office or home, or perhaps on the roof. These AC units combine a heat pump with electric air conditioning, and their benefits include a small footprint, which is important for anyone concerned about the environment, along with flexibility when it comes to installation.
If your home or workplace doesn’t have ducting, a ductless system may be the answer. They work by connecting an outdoor heat pump or air conditioner to air handling units that are in a room or rooms. The advantages of a ductless mini-split system include more control over your temperature and energy use, as each room in your home receives cool air independently of the other rooms.
Other Factors To Consider
It costs money to install ductwork in your home or office if you don’t already have it in place, and it also takes up space. So if you don’t already have ductwork in place, a ductless AC unit is often the answer.
However, even if you do have ductwork in place, the ducts may need to be altered or repaired to accommodate any new air conditioner you plan to install. Duct sealing may be needed to safely support the new central AC unit, or you may need to install extra duct runs alongside those already in place.
Indoor Air Quality
You may find that your indoor environment or the climate you live in calls for more dehumidification than that which is provided by your current air conditioner. If the quality of the air is an important factor for you, a whole home dehumidifier may be the answer. And you may want to consider adding on a whole-home air purifier too if your home has a problem with indoor contaminated air.
Working With An HVAC Contractor
A reliable and legitimate air conditioning company will help to guide you through the entire process of installing a new unit and answer any questions you have. Your budget, level of comfort preferred and size of the home will all play a part in helping to choose the ideal central AC system, and a reputable HVAC technician will take any other factors into consideration too. Contact a few companies for an estimate, once you have a few names that you feel will get the job done.
Choosing the Right Installer
To get an accurate idea of your costs, ask for a quote for the work that includes all the equipment; any good HVAC company will supply this when asked. Both the labor and equipment costs should be covered under warranty.
It’s always recommended to meet with the technician you chose for your AC work, or at least with a representative. It’s a good opportunity to get a timeline for the work, schedule a date and make sure that any equipment has been ordered.
Chicago HVAC Solutions
In Chicago, it’s imperative to find a company that understands the different type of climate our city has from many southern climates. Chicago can face extreme cold to extreme heat and then extreme humidity. You need a local HVAC company that understands what this can do to your HVAC system and knows how best to install your units and the best methods of preventative maintenance.
The Installation Process
Although this can vary between contractors, expect your installation day to look something like this:
Most contractors will obtain any permits that might be required from your local government; you typically won’t have to do that yourself.
Any duct repairs will be carried out, or new ducts installed if necessary. Your existing air conditioner will be dismantled and removed.
Rooftop supports for a packaged system or an exterior concrete pad outside your home may be needed, and preparing the site for installation is an important part of the process.
You don’t necessarily have to have the indoor air handler replaced if you have your exterior unit replaced, although many homeowners consider it makes sense to have them both replaced at the same time. Regardless, part of the responsibilities of your HVAC contractor is to make sure the indoor and outdoor units are connected correctly and safely.
This means taking care of electrical lines, drain piping and refrigerant lines.
You may choose to install a new thermostat or have the existing one connected to the central AC unit.
Your technician will also make sure the new AC unit is filled with refrigerant and will remove any contaminants from the refrigerant lines.
And of course, you want to be sure everything is working as it should; your technician will make sure the system is working as it should and carry out an installation inspection.
Finding An Air Conditioning Technician
As you want to make sure you choose the right AC unit for your needs, it’s important to find a skilled and experienced HVAC contractor who can help you select the right unit for your needs. Efficiency levels, types of system and size are all things to consider, and any good technician should take the time to answer your questions during the process.
The easy to use contractor directory at HVAC.com can help you find the right locally based AC contractor for your next job. You’ll be connected with a reliable and recommended air conditioning technician, once you complete the contact form.