The HVAC system is the key to consistently keeping any home or business at a comfortable temperature. HVAC installation isn’t your average DIY project. It often takes a trained and experienced technician to install HVAC systems properly. Use this HVAC installation guide to help you complete every step of the job.
Step-By-Step HVAC Installation:
As with any project, safety comes first. Since many HVAC systems use gas, it’s important to stop what you are doing if you smell it. This can be harmful to breathe in and inadvertently lead to a disaster. Stop working and call the fire department if you smell gas or smoke.
Another safety concern you should consider is electrical wiring and malfunctions. If you’re unfamiliar with wiring, this may not be a good job to take upon yourself. The same goes for any structural problems in the home or building you’re attempting to install an HVAC system in.
To keep yourself safe while working, wear protective equipment and clothing like safety glasses and gloves when handling sharp objects. When lifting heavy objects, always lift with your legs—not your back.
Select the Right Size Air Conditioner Unit
Finding the right size unit is paramount to keeping the indoor environment comfortable. A unit that is too small/insufficient will overwork itself to keep up with the temperature setting, leading to breakdowns. An undersized unit would likely cause more energy use and a higher bill. An oversized unit may push conditioned air too quickly, causing uneven temperatures throughout indoor spaces.
Before installing any part of the HVAC system, you need to calculate the home’s Heating Load Worth (HLW). This calculation takes into account the location, size, age, and construction materials of the home as well as how much sun exposure or if there are any nearby trees.
Check Home Energy Efficiency
To find a home’s energy efficiency, use the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). Here’s how you measure SEER—take the total heat removed from the conditioned space during the annual cooling season and divide it by the total electrical energy consumed by the air conditioner during that season.
A higher SEER unit is more efficient. This is usually due to it using a two-stage compressor and variable-speed blower. This allows the air conditioner to consume less energy when temperatures are lower.
Find a Place for the AC Unit and Thermostat
Location is an important factor when installing any part of the HVAC system. Whether you want to place your unit indoors or outdoors, you need to find a space that has enough room and would make it easily accessible for repairs and maintenance. Once you’ve selected a location, mark the spot with chalk or spray paint. Always measure twice when making this decision so you aren’t doing double the work.
For thermostat installation, you want to find a frequently used room where it can take accurate temperatures. Place the thermostat on an interior wall that wouldn’t be obstructed by other household items.
HVAC Installation for Central Unit
After taking care of the above steps, you can begin the central unit installation process. For the interior unit, ensure the evaporator coil fits inside the furnace plenum. The plenum is the section of the furnace on either side of the air handler, where the air is brought in and sent back out into the home. Place the evaporator coil into the supply plenum or the “outflow” of the furnace.
For the exterior unit, you’ll place it based on the following factors:
- The length of run to the interior unit and electrical service panel
- How level is the ground surface
- The noise level of the exterior unit concerning windows and doors
- Your local building codes regarding the required distance from the gas or water meter
Next, you’ll connect the line set. A split system has two halves connected by a pair of copper pipes, which creates a path for refrigerant cycling. The main determining factor for the path of the line will likely be the most direct route from the evaporator to the condenser.
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Installation of Ductwork
If you’re installing new duct work or modifying it, it should be minimal if there is an existing furnace or AC unit. You’ll usually not need any more than an additional return line. However, if you do need ducts installed, you’ll likely want to find a way to tuck them in a closet or soffits to avoid needing drywall repairs. If it’s a new home you’re installing ductwork in, it should be completed before drywall installation.
Central Air Installation Cost
Price will typically depend on the local market you’re in as well as the job specifications. A split system central air installation that uses an existing furnace could cost anywhere from $3,000 and $5,500. However, if you’re replacing an existing central air conditioning system, there could be an additional charge to remove and dispose of the old system and refrigerant. This charge would probably amount to upwards of $200.
Build Your HVAC Expertise at Erie Institute of Technology
Do you love working with your hands and want to make an impact on your community? EIT’s one-year HVAC/R Technology Program may be the right fit for you. In this program, you’ll develop your skills in HVAC/R technology and learn how to install, maintain, and repair the electronic and mechanical systems that help people stay comfortable in their homes or business.
After completing the program, you’ll have the training and skills that will catch the eye of employers. You’ll be prepared to work in various settings like homes, schools, hospitals, and any type of building that uses heating or air conditioning systems.
Learn more about HVAC/R Technology Program today.