How to Install a Central Air Conditioner

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Central air conditioning makes use of the existing ductwork around the house to deliver cool air throughout the home. For many homeowners, this is the most efficient way to ensure each room in the house is sufficiently cooled, and each central air conditioning unit can be conveniently controlled through a single point.

The central air conditioning system is complicated to install. Most of these systems are installed professionally, with licensed technicians handling electrical lines and wiring connections. If you are adamant at installing your central AC system yourself, here's our step-by-step guide to getting the air conditioning unit installed properly.

How to Install Central Air Conditioner: A Step-by-step Process

Important: Central air conditioning systems are fairly difficult to install for novices. Improper installation may lead to damage in the ducts installed, air conditioning unit, and throughout the home. Always opt for professional installation services if you have no prior experience in installing central air conditioning in your home.

Step 1: Purchase Your Central Air Conditioning Unit

Purchasing your central air conditioning system is a big decision - one that will require you to assess the size and layout of your home, including the rooms that you aim to connect to your central AC system. Central air conditioning is not a one size fits all solution. The efficiency and cooling power of your HVAC unit will depend on its BTU (British Thermal Unit).

Here at Luce Aircon, we don't only offer cleaning and maintenance services to existing air conditioners. We also provide assistance in purchasing units, so you can be sure you're buying the right air conditioning system for your home! Ask about our purchasing services today, and get rid of the guesswork in buying your central AC system.

Step 2: Assess the Ductwork

Always inspect and assess the existing ductwork in your home, particularly if your ductwork is relatively old. Any gaps, cracks, or worn down spots should be repaired or reinforced before you install your central air conditioner. Cleaning your ductwork will also make the installation process easier.

Step 3: Install the Outdoor Unit

Choose a prime location to install your outdoor unit. It should not be obstructing any passageways, and should not be directly blowing hot air to the garden or into the home. Place the pad down where the air conditioner will sit on. Place the outdoor unit around 6-10 inches away from all walls for proper air circulation.

Cut a hole through the wall in the home for the refrigerant line and drain piping. You will need a hole around 2 inches in diameter to fit the piping through. Make sure the hole is not too far from the outdoor unit. Around 2 feet of distance or less should be optimal.

Step 4: Measure the Right Length of Refrigerant Line and Drain Piping

Measure the length of your refrigerant line and drain piping. The measurement should be the distance between the plenum to the outdoor unit so you can connect the indoor and outdoor units. Your evaporator coil should sit inside the plenum, and connect to the outdoor unit through the pipings.

Step 5: Connect the Electrical Lines

Choose a location for the outdoor disconnect switch, near the outdoor unit. Install it to the exterior wall. Hook watertight whips to each end of the disconnect box. Tighten the screws around the wires to secure them. Connect the ground wires to the lugs in the disconnect box. Connect the whip that runs into the home to the terminal labeled Line.

Pass the whip through the hole in the exterior wall, and connect it to an electrical junction box, which will then connect to the main circuit breaker box located inside the home. Open the access panel of the outdoor condensing unit, and connect the wires to the proper places.

Note: If you are not familiar with electrical wiring and connections, always contact a technician or electrician to connect these lines as these may be hazardous to untrained persons.

Step 6: Connect the Thermostat

Make sure your furnace is turned off before you do this. Remove the cover of the thermostat connection by your furnace. You should find the control wiring in this location. You should have a connecting wire coming from your condenser unit, which will connect to your thermostat. Refer to your installation manual to connect the correct wires together.

Step 7: Top Up the Refrigerant Lines

Now, you can top up the refrigerant lines, and clean your central AC system. Refrigerant is a hazardous substance, and it is important to contact a licensed technician to handle the coolant. The refrigerant is responsible for providing cool air into the home, so topping up refrigerant levels is an important step to install your central air conditioning.

Step 8: Clean Up the Space

Clean up your work around the air conditioning. If you sought professional services, the air conditioning contractors should clean the area for you to complete the installation. This is important as you wouldn't want your AC unit to blow dust and debris around your home!

Step 9: Run Your AC Unit

Test and run your air conditioning system by powering it on. Each duct should be blowing cold air into the room, and your central air conditioner should operate quietly but efficiently. Any missteps in the air conditioning installation process may hinder the cooling capacity of the air conditioner, so make sure you follow each step carefully before running your air conditioner.

Video Guide to Install Central Air Conditioning

Here's a step-by-step guide on adding central air conditioners into the home. While different models may have different installation guides, this provides an in-depth walkthrough on how central air conditioners are installed into the home.

The Big Question: Is It Worth It to Do Central Air Installation Myself?

Our verdict is no. Central air installation is complicated, and requires advanced knowledge of air conditioning systems to properly install these units. Much like the split system, you may be able to install at most 80% of the unit, but will ultimately need professional services to install central air conditioning in your home.

The installation costs of a central unit is not much different from the costs of installing a split system, but the hassle and room for error in a central AC unit has a much greater impact on your new central AC system. We recommend leaving the installation process to the professionals.

Give us a call, and we can discuss issues, installations, and cleanup of your cooling system today!

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