Staying Frosty with a DIY Air Conditioner Installation

Air-conditioning is a mandatory fixture in the vast majority of American homes. When it comes to air-conditioning purchasing and installation, most homeowners choose to leave it to the professionals such as an ac repair company rather than spend considerable time and effort to do it themselves. Nevertheless, many homeowners see it as opportunity to get the job done on their own.

It’s not every day that homeowners set out to install their own air conditioning systems. Depending on the type of system installed, the process can be lengthy and costly. If you’re comfortable with taking on mechanical home projects and you have the proper tools, you can accomplish the purchasing and installation yourself.

Choosing Your System

There are several types of permanent air-conditioning systems you can choose from:

  • Window unit: It’s the easiest and least expensive type to purchase and install. However, multiple units are usually required to comfortably cool an entire home.
  • Through-the-wall units: As the name implies, these systems are installed in a wall. These units do not take up precious window space, but they do require more intensive installation.
  • Central air conditioner: These units are common in most residential homes and they’re capable of cooling the entire home. However, these units are also the most expensive to purchase and take some time to install.
  • Ductless mini-split: These units are similar to central air conditioners, but without the ductwork to deliver conditioned air throughout the home. Multiple indoor units can be installed to create separate cooling zones in each room.

What You’ll Need

The tools you need to carry out a DIY installation usually depend on the type of air-conditioning system that’s being installed. However, the most common tools you need include:

  • Wire cutters
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • L-square
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Hole saws
  • Hex nut drivers
  • Sheet metal shears and benders

You also need the requisite mechanical and electrical equipment needed to install your air conditioning system.

The actual air conditioning installation process varies depending on the system type, so it is important to carefully follow instructions and, if necessary, seek the advice of a contractor. Window units are the easiest units to install, as they simply fit within the window opening in most cases. A central air-conditioning system, on the other hand, requires extensive indoor and outdoor set-up. The requisite ductwork may also be needed if it’s not in place already.

You also need to consult with your local municipality to obtain a building permit prior to installation. Most municipalities require you to obtain a building permit if you’re installing a new system, plus you may also need additional permits for the electrical and mechanical components of the job. In most cases, you can file a building permit yourself as long as the work is limited to your property.

Although you’ll be able to handle most of the installation process itself, you’ll still need an air conditioning services company to finish up the work. This usually includes inspection of the installation work, soldering copper refrigerant line connections, finishing all of the required electrical connections and charging the air-conditioning unit with refrigerant.

How Long Will It Take?

That all depends on the type of system you choose and the amount of work that’s needed for the installation.

How Much Does It Cost?

The overall cost of purchasing and installing an air conditioning system depends on a wide variety of factors. These include the cost of the air-conditioning system itself, the time and materials needed to have it installed and the condition and configuration of the building where it’s installed.

Assistance from a contractor will also push up the overall costs of installation, depending on the extent of the work that’s left. There’s also the cost of professionally evacuating refrigerant from the old air-conditioning unit before it’s removed and disposed of.

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