Keeping Your AC System Cleaner

3 Mistakes To Avoid When Installing A New AC System

by Yolanda White

Has your home's air conditioning finally failed just as the worst of summer's heat arrives? Replacing an old air conditioner might seem like a luxury in the dead of winter, but things like much different with the sun's heat bearing down. If you live in an area with warm summer weather, installing a new air conditioner to replace a failed one is necessary.

Unfortunately, rushing to get cool air back into your home can sometimes lead to costly mistakes. A new central air conditioning system is a significant investment, so it's critical to make the right choices to ensure its longevity. If you're hurrying to put a new unit to escape the heat, then make sure you avoid these three potential pitfalls.

1. Ignoring Your Old Ductwork

Ductwork might not have any moving parts, but it can fail just like any other part of your home's HVAC system. Ducts typically don't "go bad," but existing problems due to poor installation or system design can get worse over time. For example, kinks in flexible ductwork can become more restrictive after years of exposure to airflow.

When installing a new air conditioning system, it's always a good idea to have your contractor inspect your ductwork. You may want to consider a leak test to check for significant losses. You may find that your ducts are fine, but it's better to know about problems before you install a new system so you can make an informed decision about resolving them.

2. Paying No Attention to Capacity

If your old system had a capacity of 25,000 BTUs, then it stands to reason that you should replace it with an equivalent unit, right? Unfortunately, taking this straightforward approach can sometimes lead to costly problems. Both over and undersized systems will result in insufficient cooling performance, and they'll fail prematurely, as well.

Many factors can influence your home's cooling load over time, including degraded insulation, new additions, or even changes to your windows and doors. When installing a new system, always have your contractor calculate the necessary capacity to cool your home. This extra step will ensure your new system performs efficiently and reliably.

3. Replacing Only the Condenser

The condenser is your air conditioner's outdoor unit. This part of your system contains its most critical elements, including the compressor and condenser coils. It also tends to be the first part of an aging system to fail. Although you can save some cash by replacing just the condenser, it's almost always the costlier option over the long run.

AC manufacturers design their condenser and evaporator (indoor) units to work together. Replacing only one will result in a system that performs inefficiently. You'll also spend more on labor to replace the other half of the system when it inevitably fails. If you need to replace your home's old AC, always replace the entire system to guarantee the best possible performance, efficiency, and reliability.

For more information on AC installation, contact an HVAC contractor.