When you're investing in a new air conditioner, you expect it to serve you well. But just as important as the unit itself, is the way in which it is installed. A quality installation is a key to your system's longevity and efficiency. An air conditioner is not a plug in appliance like a refrigerator! Government studies at Energy Star indicate that you can lose as much as 40% of unit capacity and efficiency through shoddy installation/engineering processes. To ensure that your system is installed properly, you need an expert technician who can provide you with the following:
Your comfort consultant should be familiar with both Manual J and Manual D calculations so that your new air conditioner will be tailor-fitted to your needs. Manual J load calculations should be used to determine the specific cooling and dehumidification needs of your home. You should also verify that he uses Manual D or a similar evaluation to properly size your ducts. This is important, as correctly sized ducts will ensure that the right amount of cooled or heated air reaches each room.
Inspect your duct work and make sure you get the needed airflow
All ductwork should be inspected for leaks to ensure proper air circulation. Should any leaks* be discovered, your technician will need to seal them with either mastic, metal-backed tape (not "duct tape") or an aerosol-based sealant. (*Many duct systems have been shown to be very leaky—as much as 40% in some cases.)
Check the refrigerant charge
It is essential that your HVAC technician check the refrigerant charge of your new air conditioning system. Too much or too little refrigerant can cause your cooling equipment to run as much as 20 percent less efficiently. In the worst case, this can actually damage the unit and cause it to fail.
Share the knowledge
Before your technician leaves, he should take the time to teach you how your new air conditioner works. The operation of the thermostat should be demonstrated, and you should make sure that you understand how to change the filter. Your technician will probably recommend that you get a programmable thermostat if you don't already have one. This type of thermostat can boost your energy efficiency by automatically changing the temperature in your home according to your daily living habits.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.