When it comes to your air conditioner installation, getting the job done right the first time can help save you plenty of time and frustration. That means avoiding many of the pitfalls that could turn an otherwise effortless installation into a potentially expensive and time-consuming disaster. Here are 3 common installation mistakes you and your HVAC contractor should take great pains to steer clear of.
Mistake #1: Installing the Wrong Size Air Conditioner
Size definitely matters when it comes to an A/C installation, especially when the size of your system can easily influence your home's overall energy efficiency. Installing an air conditioner that's too large for your home could easily result in a wide variety of problems for your A/C unit, including short cycling, excess moisture and freezing issues. Installing one that's too small not only prevents your home from cooling down properly, but your A/C system will also use more energy and experience faster wear and tear on his crucial components.
Sizing your A/C system properly should always be the first step in the installation process. Your HVAC contractor can help you choose the right system size that fits your home's unique needs by using Manual J load calculation and Manual S equipment selection guidelines.
Mistake #2: Using Too Little or Too Much Refrigerant
Although most A/C systems come pre-charged with the proper amount of refrigerant from the factory, there are still plenty of units that are delivered without refrigerant. Adding too much refrigerant can add unnecessary pressure to the compressor, various seals and other air conditioning components tasked with handling refrigerant. Adding too little can cause the evaporator coil to freeze, resulting in significantly reduced cooling performance.
Make sure that your HVAC contractor adds the right amount of refrigerant to your A/C system. If necessary, have the refrigerant levels double-checked prior to starting the system for the first time.
Mistake #3: Using the Wrong Refrigerant
Using the wrong refrigerant can also doom your brand-new A/C system to an early grave. The vast majority of new systems use R-410a, an environmentally-friendlier alternative to the R-22 refrigerant that was once widely used in air conditioning and heat pump systems. There are still plenty of systems that continue to use R-22 or a compatible blend, and many of these blends cannot be interchanged with R-410a.
Before having your A/C system charged, make sure your HVAC contractor is using the right refrigerant intended for your particular system. Consult with the manufacturer's user manual and double-check the compatible refrigerants allowed for your A/C system.
Mistake #4: Poor Condenser Cabinet Positioning
Your A/C system's condenser cabinet might not exactly match the scenery in your backyard, but keeping the cabinet hidden within shrubbery or up against nearby walls could actually rob your A/C system of his performance. For starters, your A/C system needs a steady and uninterrupted supply of fresh air to carry built-up heat away from the condenser coil. Having a bunch of shrubbery or a solid wall in the way of airflow could block it from reaching your cabinet.
If you decide to mask the sight of your A/C condenser cabinet with a few well-placed shrubs, make sure they're at least 2 to 3 feet away from the cabinet's base. Also make sure that the immediate area surrounding the cabinet is free of any vegetation or loose debris. As for walls and other solid barriers, your cabinet should be at least 2 feet away from those potential obstructions.
You should also keep your A/C condenser cabinet out of direct sunlight, since the warm rays could easily impact your system's overall performance. Pick a shady spot located on the north or east side of your home. However, this doesn't mean you should tuck your cabinet underneath a balcony or directly under a tree. In fact, you'll want to keep at least 6 to 10 feet of clear air space above your condenser cabinet while keeping the unit itself 30 feet away from any trees.
If you have run into any issues since installation, consider contacting a 24 hour air conditioning repair company who can assist you in repairs.