For the vast majority of households, installing central air conditioning is too risky and complicated to attempt without professional help. This is due to the specialized knowledge required, the complicated regulatory permissions and licensing procedures, and the possibility of voiding warranties if the components are fitted incorrectly.
Using the furnace’s air handling capabilities, a central air conditioner cools the air in one location before distributing it throughout the house. This distinguishes it from mini-split systems, window air conditioners, and wall air conditioners, which all cool relatively small areas and need numerous units to cool the entire house.
Split systems are used by the majority of single-family homes in the US with central air conditioning. This suggests that the system consists of an exterior compressor and an indoor evaporator coil.
Ask the contractors how they plan to approach the task when you speak with them. Observe the questions they pose as well! To ensure that your preferences and decisions are reflected in their estimate and the finished product, an installer should clear inquiries.
The installation of central air conditioning is a significant project that necessitates much planning beforehand. A protocol check and confirmation that they will handle any required permits or other necessary papers should be requested from your contractor.
Talk to your contractor about how much you prioritize long-term savings over one-time costs. Discussing the location of the condenser unit and the kind of thermostat you select at this time is also a great idea.
You can get help from your contractor choosing the right-sized central air conditioner for your house. While a unit that is too large will cool the house too quickly and turn off before completing a full cycle, a unit that is too small will run almost continuously.
In the latter case, the system is taxed by the rapid on and off. The evaporator coil may freeze as a result, and a frozen coil will inhibit airflow. As a result, a large air conditioner might not cool as effectively as a smaller one.
To determine the best unit for your home, your Air Conditioner installer will perform a calculation known as a “Manual-J.” This will take into account all of the parameters mentioned above and more, yielding the most precise size possible.
We understand, however, that many homeowners prefer to have a general idea of what size they require ahead of time. So, here’s a ballpark figure for central air conditioner size: To calculate the Btu required, multiply the conditioned area of your home by 25, then divide by 12,000 to get the tonnage.
However, keep in mind that this is only a rough estimate, and there are several factors to consider. If the first floor of your home has 12-foot ceilings, the air conditioner will have more air to chill. Also, keep in mind that windows with southern exposure will receive more sunlight and natural heat. If you have a lot of those windows, you may require more cooling.
After you’ve gone over the basic plan and discussed model options, the contractor should give you an estimate. As always, get written estimates from multiple providers. The only exception is if you’re installing air conditioning in a new home, because the builder will almost certainly handle it.
When working with a builder or independent HVAC contractor, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or expense breakdowns. Even if the contractor is unable to detail everything, they should be able to communicate effectively enough to put you at ease about the procedure.
The installation should take about a day to complete. The major steps are outlined below.
As with any significant project, prices vary depending on the local market and the task details. A typical split system central air installation using an existing furnace should cost between $3,000 and $7,000 or more in labor and supplies. That cost will be split roughly 60/40 on average, with labor accounting for the majority of it.
It is possible to purchase the AC system on your own and have it installed by a professional HVAC technician. Keep in mind, however, that you will most likely be paying full retail rather than receiving a commercial discount, so the total cost of the project may not be less than the contractor’s estimate. You’ll also be responsible for performing your own sizing and being held accountable if there are any issues with the equipment.
If you’re replacing an existing central air conditioning system, expect to pay more to remove and dispose of the old system and refrigerant. When constructing a furnace and air conditioning system, the cost of each component is frequently reduced, despite the fact that the overall cost of the work is increased.
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