AC Installation & Location
|Installation and Location of Air Conditioners
If your air conditioner is installed correctly, or if major installation problems are found and fixed, it will perform efficiently for years with only
minor routine maintenance. However, many air conditioners are not installed correctly. As an unfortunate result, modern energy-efficient air
conditioners can perform almost as poorly as older inefficient models.
Be sure that your contractor performs the following procedures when installing a new central air conditioning system:
1. allows adequate indoor space for the installation, maintenance, and repair of the new system, and installs an access door in the
furnace or duct to provide a way to clean the evaporator coil.
2. uses a duct-sizing methodology such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual D.
3. ensures there are enough supply registers to deliver cool air and enough return air registers to carry warm house air back to the air
4. installs duct work within the conditioned space, not in the attic, wherever possible – insulating it where it must be run outside the
5. seals all ducts with duct mastic and heavily insulates attic ducts.
6. locates the condensing unit where its noise will not keep you or your neighbors awake at night, if possible.
7. places the condensing unit in a shady spot, if possible, which can reduce your air conditioning costs by 1% to 2%.
8. verifies that the newly installed air conditioner has the exact refrigerant charge and air-flow rate specified by the manufacturer.
9. locates the thermostat away from heat sources, such as windows, or supply registers.
If you are replacing an older or failed split system, be sure that the evaporator coil is replaced with a new one that exactly matches the
condenser coil in the new condensing unit. (The air conditioner's efficiency will likely not improve if the existing evaporator coil is left in
place; in fact, the old coil could cause the new compressor to fail prematurely.)
If you install a new room air conditioner, try to:
1. locate the air conditioner in a window or wall area near the center of the room and on the shadiest side of the house.
2. minimize air leakage by fitting the room air conditioner snugly into its opening and sealing gaps with a foam weather stripping
Paying attention to your air conditioning system saves you money and reduces environmental pollution. Notice whether your existing
system is running properly, and maintain it regularly. Or, if you need to purchase a new air conditioner, be sure it is sized and installed
correctly and has a good EER or SEER rating.
Using Your Air Conditioner
Unless, your contractor has sized your air conditioner to maximize humidity control instead of just cooling the air temperature, an air
conditioner will cool the air in your home fairly quickly. For economical operation, turn it on only when your home is occupied. You may
consider installing a programmable thermostat. These allow you to set the time when the air conditioner will turn on before you arrive
home from work on a hot day. Contact EREC (see Source List) for the fact sheet Automatic and Programmable Thermostats. During the
day, keep the drapes or blinds closed on windows that face east, south, and west. This will help reduce solar heat gain into your home.