Installing a new central AC unit to replace an aged or failing one is usually a relatively straightforward job. You'll typically only need to replace your condenser and air handling unit, although you may also need a new refrigerant line set. The time to install the system can vary, but most technicians can complete this work in no more than a day or two.
Unfortunately, not every job proceeds smoothly. Several potential problems can increase the cost or time required to replace your old air conditioner. By being aware of these potential hurdles, you can prepare for them to avoid a potentially messy air conditioning replacement.
Incorrectly Sized Refrigerant Line Set
Installing a new air conditioner for maximum performance and efficiency requires many matching components. For example, you generally do not want to replace your outdoor condenser without replacing the indoor air handler and evaporator unit. Manufacturers design these components to work together, and mismatched items can lead to performance, efficiency, and reliability problems.
Likewise, your refrigerant line set must meet the specifications required by your condenser and evaporator. If your current line set isn't compatible, you'll need to replace it with a new one. Although this is a relatively cheap part, installing the new plumbing may add to your overall labor costs for installing the system.
Central air conditioning systems require dedicated circuits, but the specific requirements for these circuits can vary based on AC capacity. For most residential systems, you'll need a 220/240-volt line with either a 20-amp or 30-amp breaker. If your new system requires more current, then you may need to modify its electrical circuit.
Note that you cannot simply add a breaker with a higher rating. Your breakers protect your home's wiring from over-current situations, and a breaker that's too large for a circuit's wiring can be a fire hazard. You'll need your contractor to check your wiring to confirm that it's adequate for your new system and upgrade it to a lower gauge wire if necessary.
Finally, you may want to consider a duct pressure test if your home's AC system is relatively old. Leaky ducts can be a significant efficiency issue, and you may end up wasting much of your new AC system's power in unconditioned spaces. Although leaky ducts won't necessarily stop you from installing your new unit, they can increase your costs and eliminate some of the benefits that come with modern ACs.
If your contractors discover a significant leakage issue, it may be worth addressing this problem before proceeding with your new install. Solving duct leakage can improve your system's efficiency and guarantee that you get the most benefit from your new air conditioning unit.
For more information, contact a local ac installation service, such as Vigil Air, to learn more.