Properly installed central AC components tend to last longer. Meanwhile, you’ll probably spend less on repairs and service over the life of the system. It should run more reliably and more efficiently, especially when properly adjusted and tuned. You’ll no doubt experience a greater level of comfort throughout your home in addition to less noise. However, that may not be the case with these common central AC installation mistakes:
The System Chosen Is the Wrong Size
Some homeowners select a larger system, thinking it will cool their home more effectively. But that’s not the case. Air conditioning professionals use specialized calculations to determine what sized AC systems are best for homes depending on square footage (in general, figure 20 British Thermal Units (BTUs) per square foot). Choose too large a unit and it will cool the space too quickly, causing it to short cycle, while too small a unit will be overworked; either way, wear and tear, energy costs, and comfort can be a problem.
Placing the AC Unit in the Wrong Spot
Whether it’s the AC condenser or the thermostat, components should be installed out of direct sunlight or performance can be significantly affected. Keep five feet of clearance around the condenser unit. Trees, hedges, and outdoor furnishings should not block airflow. Inadequate clearance will cause the system to run inefficiently and can cost you more in energy bills. Positioning is a factor for just about all components, including vents. AC vents must be in an open area, and not blocked; ideally, they should be mounted on the tops of walls.
Leaving Refrigerant Lines Uninsulated
Since the refrigerant line runs between indoor and outdoor components, some of it is exposed and vulnerable especially during cooler conditions. If you don’t properly insulate the refrigerant line, it can freeze. This can cause condensation issues and damage the system. Vapor-proof insulation should be used for suction lines. When insulating refrigerant lines, don’t leave any areas exposed, or the system won’t run at peak efficiency.
Not Designing the Air Distribution System Correctly
A duct system must be designed specifically for the space and the equipment installed. First, consider the AC unit’s output capacity. Duct size must match this, or else performance issues, noise, air leaks, humidity, and air quality issues can be problematic. Don’t allow a contractor to use your old duct system as a short-cut. It might not be suited for the new AC unit. Designing the air distribution system right, with high-quality materials and workmanship, will get you the most out of your investment.
Failing to Properly Design/Install Drain Systems
Wastewater is a byproduct of air conditioners and modern high-efficiency furnaces and must be drained away. Otherwise, water buildup can cause major property damage. Pipes may freeze in cold weather as well. To prevent mold, air quality issues, and even HVAC failure, make sure a drain system is properly designed for your AC and furnace, and that a contractor is careful when installing it.
Not Installing the Right Sized Exhaust
An exhaust flue or damper must be sized right for the system. It directs toxic gases from your furnace out of your home. If the correct exhaust isn’t installed, your family could be exposed to carbon monoxide and harmful fumes. Not missing this detail can therefore save you a lot of trouble later.
Installing a Central AC Without the Proper Experience
Central AC installation requires knowledge and experience. Just one mistake can have costly consequences. If you’ve never installed a central air conditioning system, it’s best to hire an experienced contractor. And when choosing one, go for quality over price. Check their experience, license, and certification and ask for references as well. A seasoned installer knows how to avoid mistakes and will design, configure, and adjust the system to cover all your household’s HVAC needs.
Not Contacting Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
We provide central AC installation and repair services throughout the Portland area. Our team fully understands the connection between AC sizing and performance. When you need us for repairs, we’re available 24 hours a day. But you can count on us for custom design, personalized service, and air conditioner financing to ensure you get the system you need. To get started, schedule your appointment online or call 503-673-9083 today.