Installing Central Air: 4 Tips

Installing central air is a job that requires some knowledge about electrical, mechanical work as well as heating and cooling systems. These 4 tips will get you off to a solid start.

Hire a Professional Contractor

Although you can attempt to do a central air installation yourself, this job is best suited for a professional. There are considerations for the installation that may be beyond the ability of a novice. First, the installation must meet local and national building, electrical and mechanical codes and standards. Refrigerant handling requires EPA certification and high-voltage electrical wiring can cause severe injury or even death without proper training. Simply reading the installation manual may not be sufficient to avoid problems. It is best to leave this job in the hands of a professional.

Choosing the Right Central Air System

When shopping for a central air system you will want to consider cost. A new system may be more expensive that a reconditioned central air unit. Retrofitting an existing system with newer parts may also prove to be costly, depending on the age of the system and its compatibility with newer parts. Having an old system removed and properly disposed of will result in a removal and disposal or environmental impact fee. Ask your contractor for advice on the best fit for your home and a cost comparison between alternatives.

Understanding the Home’s Cooling Needs

To determine your home’s cooling needs you'll have to know the central air conditioning unit’s output or cooing capacity. Cooling capacity for an air conditioning is measured in British thermal Units or BTUs. To calculate a home’s cooling capacity, every 1,000 square feet requires 12,000 BTUs. If the home is poorly insulated, the capacity approximately doubles. This includes windows, doors. Areas in the home with a greater exposure to sun will affect cooling capacity.

This may be a good opportunity to consider insulation and structural changes that will make your home more energy efficient. The contractor can best advise you on these methods, which in the long run will save you money by reducing your energy costs.

Making Space Allowances for Installation

The size of your home and access to its existing ductwork is an important consideration. Choose a model that fits the space that has been designated for it and provide as much allowance for access. The system will not work as well if it is crammed into a small space and its output is restricted or impinged as a result. The contractor can also help you in choosing a unit that is energy efficient and designed specifically for your space.

These are just a few tips to consider when installing central air. A professional contractor can provide you with additional guidance and assist you in making the appropriate decisions.