About 87% of American households have some form of AC unit installed. That works out to some 100 million units. And with the summers getting hotter every year, that percentage is only going to increase.
It’s no wonder why AC installation is such a huge business in the U.S. But by the same token, more and more homeowners are considering a DIY AC install for their next unit. These units don’t last forever, after all, and learning how to install an AC at home can save homeowners a tidy sum.
If this is the position you’re in, here are some tips on installing the two most common types of home AC units.
Installing Central AC
Most homes these days use a full-sized central AC unit. They’re the big metal boxes you’re used to seeing around the side of homes. And if you were to opt for professional AC installation, they’re likely the type of model you’d have put in.
Assuming that you’ve already bought your unit and had it delivered, here are the steps to install the unit.
Single Out a Location
You need to find a place outside that’s both out-of-the-way but which has easy access to your home’s ductwork. Ideally, your home’s designer will have left such a space when they planned your home.
Once you find the ideal spot, the best option is to install your unit on a poured concrete slab on ground level. While it is possible to install units on the roofs of certain homes, that’s probably outside most people’s idea of DIY AC installation unless you’re uncommonly ambitious.
In any case, the unit’s location needs to allow for adequate airflow and allow for easy access for maintenance.
Connect the System
With your location prepared, you can set up the system itself. Many of the specifics will depend on the model of unit you purchase, so be prepared to study the manual. However, there are some basic considerations in common regardless.
- First, you need to secure the unit on the platform that you prepared for it.
- After that, you need to configure the lengths of the refrigerant lines and drain piping.
- Connect the electrical lines and thermostat, and clear the refrigerant lines of any contaminants.
- Charge the unit with fresh refrigerant if it didn’t come precharged.
- Run a test to make sure that everything is functioning properly.
And in the broad strokes, that’s all it takes to install a central AC unit. As noted, you’ll get more detailed instructions in your unit manual, but the above are the major steps in any installation.
Even if you’re not immediately planning on installing a new unit, a basic understanding of the process is useful to have if you’re wondering when to replace an AC unit. Your system might be running well enough now, but even well cared for units only tend to last about 10-15 years, so it’s an issue you’ll likely have to face sooner or later.
A DIY AC Install Made Simple
Installing a new AC unit seems like it would be a job “for the pros” exclusively. But when you break down the steps, performing a DIY AC install becomes a lot more plausible. And if you wanted to, you could literally pat yourself on the back with the wad of cash that you save.
It might even have you considering more DIY projects that could save you a bundle on painting and improving your home. For more ideas on where to start, be sure to keep up with our latest home and garden guides, hacks, and DIY solutions.