Air Conditioning Installation Guide
What Makes a Good AC Installation
When you decide to install an air conditoning system for your home you may be presented with different options when receiving quotes from HVAC companies. Each option may increase the price of the AC unit installed. Spending a little bit more during the installation process can save a lot of money down the road. You can reduce repair costs and extend the life-cycle of the AC components and system with some sound choices.
Although the lowest quote looks tempting it may prove to be far more expensive in a very short period of time. Your best defense against being disappointed is to arm yourself with as much knowledge about AC installations as possible.
6 Important Options for AC Installation
1. Always have a HEAT LOAD MANUAL J CALCULATION completed. This needs to be done to accurately size the proper AC system for your home. If an HVAC company does not measure your windows, wall heights, square footage etc. and complete the Manual J calculation they are just guessing.
Fact - the more windows the bigger the AC. If you are not measuring the windows etc., what other important steps are they missing?
2. We always recommend AC MOUNTING BRACKETS if you have the space on the outside of your house. This will keep your new AC out of the snow all winter, it will also prevent your AC from settling/sinking in the ground later on. All new AC units have scroll compressors which eliminate vibrations - some companies may have you believe otherwise. (The only reason for not installing brackets is to reduce labour cost to provide a lower quote).
If you want an AC pad instead of brackets you should have the ground area tamped down before placing the concrete pad to avoid the unit sinking into the ground.
3. Always have a THERMAL THIMBLE installed. This water, rodent and bug proof thermal thimble is extremely important. If your quote does not include a thermal thimble installed on your house, the installers will use silicone or goop around the AC lines outside of the house. Over a period of time the silicone will shrink allowing cold air, bugs and rodents to breech the barrier and enter the home.
4. Always have a REFRIGERANT SIGHT GLASS installed for the AC lines. This is very important as it allows you to inspect the sight glass every year. When it is bubbling you will know you need to call for AC service. Running an AC when it is low on refrigerant can double your electrical bill. A sight glass is a simple component which you can use to confirm your AC is operating properly drastically reducing future air conditioning service costs.
5. Always have a CASED EVAPORATOR COIL installed. Without a cased coil you can't clean the coil properly when it's needed. A cased coil has a front panel you can remove for easy cleaning. Another important benefit of a cased coil is increased efficiency because the coil compartment is insulated. A cased coil is designed to fit perfectly on your furnace, minimizing air flow bypass loss which will also improve energy efficiency.
An uncased coil is fully covered with sheet metal and foil tape preventing access when cleaning is needed. An uncased coil is initially cheaper but should never be recommended as it does exponentially increase future repair/service costs.
6. Always have the contractor provide the ELECTRICAL PERMIT and ensure the final inspection is completed. Without a permit and final approved inspection you will have problems selling your home in the future. Most realtors check to confirm all permits were pulled. If not, this can cost you a lot of money later on in addition to complicating the sale of the home.
Saving Money on Air Conditioning Installation
We understand that consumers want to shop and find the best deal and lowest price during these economic times. Although the lowest price may appear attractive it is important to realize that when corners are cut to provide the lowest quote; most often you won't be getting the savings you're hoping for in the long run.
A properly installed air conditioning system will provide better efficiency lowering your energy costs. (And that's important because energy costs continue to climb.) You will also have less AC system problems reducing service calls and repair bills. An AC system installed correctly will also have a longer life span so you won't have to replace it sooner than necessary.
Follow the guidelines (above) and you'll be much more satisfied with your air conditioning system.