A/C Replacement: Installation and Unit Location Makes a Difference
If an A/C replacement is in your near future, you’ll want to learn why the location and installation of the air conditioner will greatly affect its future performance. Think of the exercise as an opportunity, because today’s energy-efficient air conditioners can operate at 90 percent efficiency levels or more. This means that even if your central air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save between 20 and 40 percent on your cooling costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Those savings, however, can literally go right out the window if your new air conditioner is improperly installed or placed in the wrong spot. Take a proactive role during your A/C replacement and make sure that your contractor:
- Situates the condensing unit in a place free of obstructions, which can block airflow to your A/C.
- Situates the condensing unit where it stands the least chance of distracting you or your neighbors. In most cases, this means that it should be located away from bedroom windows.
- Allows plenty of room around the unit so that it can be easily accessed for repairs.
- Installs the thermostat far away from potentially interfering sources of hot and cold air, especially windows and registers.
- Refers to a reputable duct-sizing tool, such as the one provided by Air Conditioning Contractors of America.
- Installs ductwork in conditioned spaces only and not in the attic, if it can be avoided.
- Checks that there are adequate supply registers in your home to deliver cool air, as well as an adequate number of return air registers to carry warm indoor air back to the air conditioner.
- Seals all ducts with duct mastic and amply insulates attic ductwork.
- Installs an access door leading to the evaporator coil.
- Checks that your new A/C has a proper refrigerant charge and airflow rate, as outlined by the A/C manufacturer.
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