Installing an air conditioner in rigidly cold weather, like in winter, is not a good idea. In fact, both manufacturers of central air conditioning units and HVAC contractors advise against it. There are legitimate reasons for doing so, so if you want to install a new air conditioning system, it is best to wait to install it until there is warmer weather afoot. Here are the reasons why installing an air conditioner in winter is not such a good idea.
Condensers need oil to operate. Much like the engine in your vehicle, it requires oil to lubricate its internal components. Unfortunately, these air conditioners are only designed to use and function with lightweight, or "summer-weight," oil. Your car's engine uses heavier oil in summer, and lighter oil in winter. The air conditioners cannot, and do not, fluctuate or adjust to changes in oil weight. Hence, the heavier oil in an air conditioner in winter prevents the air conditioner from effectively being tested after installation. You would have to wait until spring to see if the appliance is working right.
Newer Air Conditioners Will Not Run in Cold Weather
The latest models of central air conditioners have built-in sensors that forbid the operation of the air conditioners when the outside temps are less than sixty degrees. Trying to force an air conditioner with this type of sensor to work in cold weather may cause the air conditioner to break. Breaking a new air conditioner just after it is installed is probably not something you want to do.
It Is Common Practice Not to Operate or Test Air Conditioners in Cold Weather
HVAC contractors will not turn on an air conditioner in cold weather. It is a safety precaution for the appliance as well as a standard practice in the industry. Ask any HVAC contractor or technician if he/she will turn on the air conditioner in the middle of winter, and the answer is a definitive, "no." That being the case, it is unlikely that you will find any HVAC contractor who is willing to install a central air unit in the winter.
However, if you want a heat pump, that is a different sort of task completely. Most HVAC contractors will install and test a heat pump because heat pumps use lighter oil and can function very well, even in the coldest of outside temperatures. Heat pumps will also circulate heat and cold, keeping the heat pump warmed up for use. Contact an air conditioning replacement service for more help.