When planning to install a central air conditioner in an older home, you may run into a few bumps in the road. Some common mistakes people make when installing central AC are buying an improperly sized unit, installing ductwork unnecessarily, and overpaying. Here, we’ve compiled some information to help you avoid making these mistakes yourself!
Make Sure to Choose The Right Size UnitOne of the most common mistakes people make when installing a new AC system is installing a unit that is either too big or too small for their needs. If your AC unit is too big, it will run in shorter cycles, running up your electric bill as well as putting unnecessary wear and tear on your compressor.
If the unit is too small, it will run nearly constantly in an attempt to keep up with cooling your entire house. This will also drive its energy cost up and put excess stress on the system.
To calculate the correct size unit for your home, you should multiply the square footage of your home by 30, divide that number by 12,000 (the number of BTUs that a 1-ton unit can cool per hour), then add 1.0. For example, if you live in a 1,500 sq ft home, your calculations would look something like this:
1,500 x 30 / 12,000 + 1.0 = 4.75
In this case, a 4.5-ton or 5-ton unit would be ideal for your home.
You May Not Even Need Ducts!Usually, when we think of centralized air conditioning, we tend to think of the air duct system that generally accompanies it. Nowadays, however, air ducts are not necessarily a given for central AC!
With a ductless split-system air conditioner, you can have the convenience of central AC combined with the flexibility of an individual room unit. Mini-split systems are comprised of multiple fan-coil units, placed throughout your home, and connected to a single outdoor unit through refrigerant lines.
If energy efficiency is something you value in an HVAC system, some mini-splits come with a SEER rating as high as 18 or 19. There are even tax breaks available for having a split-system with a SEER rating above a 16!
Don’t Overpay For ACAnother common mistake made by homeowners installing central AC is that they unknowingly overpay for their new system. All in all, the average cost for central AC is around $4,500 at most. In some cases, it may cost as little as $3,000.
The actual cost of installing central AC depends on a few factors including the brand, size, and type of the unit you purchase, where you live, whether you are also going to be installing ductwork, and even the HVAC company you hire to install it.
Keep in mind, when looking into central ac installation, that it is worth paying a little more to make sure you’re getting a quality system. Make sure that any unit you buy has strong enough air flow, and enough refrigerant to cool your home. Also ensure that it is the right size unit for your home and that your air ducts, if you have any, are in good condition.