Are you looking to install a new central AC unit or replace your existing unit? If so, you obviously want to know a bit about what you can expect and what all is involved in the process. Installing a new AC unit or an entire air conditioning system is a complicated process that involves several different steps, and today we’re going to explain what the steps are for AC installation and why each one is important.
Whenever installing a new AC unit, the process always starts with evaluating the home to determine what size of unit is needed. This step is essential as many issues will arise if the unit is either too large or too small. Oversized and undersized AC units will always use more energy than a properly sized unit, and they will also typically break down more often and need more repairs. The lifespan of the new unit will also be much shorter if it isn’t the correct size for the home.
When sizing an AC unit, the first thing is to calculate the total square footage of all the living spaces. The technician will then need to factor in things like how well-insulated the home is and how well-sealed the exterior structure is. The size and number of windows and exterior doors in the home also need to be considered since doors and windows are usually the biggest sources of heat gain. The more windows and doors you have, the larger your new AC unit will need to be. The number of people that live in the home also needs to be accounted for since people give off lots of heat.
Whenever sizing an AC unit or any other HVAC unit, technicians always perform what’s known as a Manual J calculation. This calculation considers all the various factors we just mentioned as well as the local climate, and it is the only way to accurately determine exactly what size of unit is needed to cool the home efficiently and effectively.
Installing the Outdoor Unit and Other Components
If you’re replacing an old AC unit, the next step after sizing is to disconnect and remove the old unit. This is something that can legally only be done by an EPA-certified technician as it involves reclaiming all the refrigerant in the existing system. In most cases, the technician will also remove the old evaporator coil as you should almost always replace the coil whenever installing a new unit. The technician will typically also remove the old refrigerant lines and replace them with new copper lines to ensure that the system doesn’t leak refrigerant.
Depending on the age, condition and type of the existing AC blower, it may also need to be replaced. If you’re installing a variable-speed AC unit, you will need to replace the blower as these units always need to be paired with a new variable-speed blower.
After removing all the old components, the next step is to mount the new AC unit outside the home and then run the new refrigerant lines and install the new evaporator coil. The refrigerant lines then need to be connected to the evaporator coil and the AC unit by brazing the copper lines to the supply ports. Finally, new electrical wires will be run from the outdoor shut-off switch to the AC unit. If your home doesn’t have an outdoor shut-off switch, one will need to be installed to ensure that the system conforms to code.
Testing and Calibration
Once all the components are installed and the AC unit is wired to your electrical system, the last step is for the technician to test and calibrate the system. Calibrating the blower is important as sometimes it is necessary for the technician to adjust the blower speed to ensure that air flows through the system at the correct rate. A blower that runs too fast or too slow will always decrease the effectiveness of your air conditioning and potentially cause numerous other issues.
When testing the system, the technician will measure the temperature of the air blowing out of your vents. When an AC system is functioning properly, the air that blows out of the vents should always be around 20 degrees cooler than the current temperature in the home.
The technician will also check that your thermostat is accurately registering the air temperature in the home and recalibrate it if necessary. If your thermostat is more than 10 to 15 years old, you should have a new thermostat installed just to ensure that your new AC system cools effectively and works properly.
When you choose Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning for your AC installation, you can always be assured that our technicians will take their time and do everything that is necessary to ensure your new unit is installed correctly and works properly. We carry an extensive selection of central AC units as well as ductless AC systems and heat pumps. We also offer a full range of repair, maintenance and heating services, and we work on both residential and commercial HVAC systems for customers in Bellevue and throughout the surrounding areas. Contact us today if you have any questions or to schedule an AC installation consultation.