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A Detailed Guide to Installing a Central AC Unit

Performing adequate installation of an air conditioning system is one of the most important tasks of an HVAC technician, together with detailed AC inspection procedures, comprehensive maintenance and repairs, and thorough air conditioning summer preparation processes. That is why it’s important to be familiar with all the steps of a high-quality air conditioning installation procedure.

Good installation is the initial step in providing your customers with an efficient AC system that works well. You should first know how to answer your customer’s questions and recommend an AC unit that would work best for their specific needs. Then, you need to be familiar with how to install that unit.

What are the types of AC systems you can install?

Before you get to the point of installing an air conditioner in your customer’s home, you should listen to their specific needs and recommend an AC unit that would meet those needs. Here are the four most common types of AC units that would fulfill the requirements of the majority of your customers:

AC split systems

Split air conditioners are certainly the most popular choice of AC units. The name “split” originates from the fact that this air conditioning system features both an indoor and an outdoor component. 

The air handler is the part of the system that is located inside the property, which houses evaporator coils and a blower. The outside unit holds the compressor and the condenser. This type of AC is an excellent choice for different types of properties.

Heat pump split systems

Heat pumps could be categorized as a subtype of a split AC system, as they also feature outdoor and indoor components. The heat pump cabinet is located outside the property, while the air handler is located in the indoor unit. 

Heat pumps are an excellent all-encompassing heating and cooling solution that provides comfort both in the summer and winter. Heat pumps are mostly geothermal or air-sourced, and they are an excellent choice for homeowners looking for an all-in-one heating and cooling solutions.

Packaged systems

Packaged units consist of one of the following: packaged air conditioning unit (cooling only), packaged gas/electric unit (heating and cooling), and packaged heat pump unit (heating and cooling). 

Rather than having an indoor and outdoor section like a split system or ductless mini-split system, these are a single unit that is usually located on the rooftop or next to the building.

Packaged units are not commonly installed in residential homes (New Mexico and St. George, Utah are exceptions), but are an excellent choice for commercial customers because of their small footprint and installation flexibility.

Ductless mini-split systems

Mini-split air conditioning systems that do not require ductwork are a modern alternative to classic split systems. They consist of an outdoor heat pump or air conditioner that is connected to an indoor air handling unit or units, depending on your customer’s needs. Mini-split systems provide excellent climate control capabilities and are very flexible to install and operate. How-do-I-install-a-central-AC-or-heat-pump-split-system.jpg

How do I install a central AC or heat pump split system?

Depending on the type of air conditioner you’re installing for your customers, the actual process may differ. However, the staples of high-quality AC installation remain the same. Take a look at what a comprehensive air conditioning installation can include.

  • Know the local government regulations on HVAC work and be familiar with whether or not additional permits are required.

  • If present, remove the existing AC or heat pump unit.

  • Perform the necessary ductwork repairs or install new ducts if the AC or heat pump unit needs them.

  • Prepare the installation site by either setting up a concrete pad for the outdoor AC component or by installing rooftop supports if you’re dealing with a packaged unit.

  • Install and properly secure the outdoor component.

  • Replace or install the indoor air handling unit or units. However, note that some customers are only looking to replace the outdoor component. 

  • Connect the outdoor component to the indoor component and pay attention to choosing the right size of electrical lines, drain piping, and refrigerant lines. 

  • Connect the thermostat and the central air conditioning system. You customers may choose to continue using their existing thermostat.

  • Remove contaminants from refrigerant lines by pulling vacuum, and charge the AC with refrigerant.

  • Inspect whether the newly-installed air conditioning system is operating properly. 

Gustave A. Larson is here to provide extensive training on proper AC installation!

Contact our sales and support staff and they will guide you through the entire process of training organization.

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What mistakes should my technicians avoid when installing air conditioners?

Knowing the proper way to install an air conditioner is only part of the equation. Mistakes happen even to the most skilled and experienced technicians, and your specialist should be familiar with the most common mistakes during AC installation and how to avoid making them:

  • Improperly sizing the unit: This is probably the most frequent mistake technicians make. Choosing the unit of an incorrect size will either mean it cannot provide sufficient cooling if too small, or it wastes energy if too large. 

  • Positioning the thermostat incorrectly: Thermostats have to be strategically positioned. If not, your customers can experience temperature inconsistencies that will cause the entire system to perform poorly. 

  • Badly positioning the air conditioner: If your technicians place the air conditioning unit in a bad spot, your customers can expect problems with both functionality and the efficiency of their entire system. 

  • Not insulating the refrigerant lines adequately: Refrigerant lines are exposed to the weather, and in order to adequately supply the unit with refrigerant they have to be adequately insulated.

  • Placing vents in the wrong places: AC installation often includes the installation of an entire duct system with vents. Vent placement is essential for optimal cooling efficiency and comfort, and choosing wrong locations can negatively impact these characteristics. 

  • Not checking for refrigerant leaks: Finally, once your technicians install the system they should always double check for refrigerant leaks. It’s not uncommon for small leaks to develop during installation.

Gustave A. Larson is here to provide detailed AC installation guidelines

If you’d like to receive in-depth information on how to properly install different types of air conditioning units in your customer’s homes, as well as receive additional HVAC training, contact the Gustave A. Larson Company. We’re here to help prepare you for any season and support you along the way. Our goal is to help you advance, improve, and grow your HVAC business. Give us a call today!