Get the Job Done by an AC Expert
Professional air conditioner installation is not only important, in most cases it’s also legally required. When you’re considering a new air conditioning system, make sure you include the cost of installation in your budget.
There are exceptions to the rule, but most air conditioner installations should be done by a fully qualified air conditioning technician. Installing a heating and cooling system involves working with your electrical system, cabling, refrigerant, duct work, safety switches and may require extra power outlets. These are all reasons that a DIYer should not attempt it.
It is also mandated by law around Australia. For example, South Australian regulations stipulate that “only licensed electricians, gas fitters and plumbers can do work on electrical, gas and plumbing appliances, or electrical, gas and plumbing installations”.
Let’s take a look at two of the most popular types of energy efficient heating and cooling – split systems and ducted systems – and why it’s important to always employ a qualified professional for air conditioning installation.
Split System Installation
A split system air conditioner is easier to install than a ducted system but still must be carried out by a HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technician.
These popular air conditioning units are also easier to maintain than a ducted system, but regular servicing is still recommended to keep them running at optimal level.
Before even choosing your split system, consult with a specialist to ensure you’re buying a unit with the appropriate power level to sufficiently heat or cool the room or area.
If you desire climate control for more than one room, you might choose a multi-head split system air conditioning unit, which involves connecting more than one indoor unit to a single outdoor unit (also known as the condenser).
The basics of installing split system air conditioners include:
- Removal of the old air conditioner (if there is one)
- Install the outdoor unit (adding a concrete base if needed)
- Install the indoor unit, connecting the two units with Australian standard refrigeration copper pipe
- Add a safety switch and any necessary electrical wiring, including a new power outlet if needed
- Install insulation on refrigerant pipes
- Test the system
- Remove all rubbish
- Provide the owner with a certificate of compliance
Along with having the experience to solve any unforeseen problems, a HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technician will arrive in a van fully stocked with the tools and equipment necessary for the installation.
Ducted System Installation
Installing a ducted air conditioning system is even more complicated and must never be attempted by an amateur. Much like a split system, this involves connecting an outdoor unit (condenser) and an indoor unit (usually in your ceiling space).
However, it’s a much more complex process than a standard split system air conditioner. It also involves connecting the indoor unit to multiple ducts which will distribute cooled or heated air to all or most rooms in the house. This air will be delivered through ceiling or wall vents, which must also be installed.
The HVAC technician will need to accurately measure each room and carefully mark out where each of the ducts will go before starting the installation process. Along with connecting the entire ducted system, the licensed technician will most likely add insulation for extra protection against heat loss.
The homeowner’s main contribution should be to prepare the home for the installation process. They can do this by protecting furniture, appliances and any valuable objects with a canvas drop cloth or dust cover. The client should also know where they want the condenser and central controller located.
What are the Exceptions?
The notable exceptions to the rule are window air conditioners and portable heaters and coolers.
In the case of a window air conditioner, it is a single unit that only has to be installed in a window space and plugged in. However, it is highly recommended to use mounting brackets and attach the side of the unit to the window frame to make it more secure. When in doubt, consult an air conditioning professional for help.
Portable air conditioners and heaters usually only have to be plugged in and require no installation.
There are portable gas heaters which are unflued – meaning they don’t need to be connected to the outdoors through a pipe to exhaust unwanted by-products (such as carbon monoxide) – but these should only be used in larger spaces and not in small rooms.
Is It Worth the Risk?
Should you attempt to install your new air conditioner in order to save money? The simple answer is: No. For a start, it’s illegal. It’s also not worth risking injury or possibly damaging your new air conditioner.
You will also void the warranty and you’re unlikely to know if you’re complying with current industry standards. If you’re replacing an old unit, do you know how to dispose of it legally?
In the long run, you’ll probably end up spending more money than you would have with a professional installation. You could be facing various problems caused by poor installation and you’ll be doing so without a warranty.
This advice also applies to hydronic heating, cassette systems and evaporative cooling as much as it does to ducted and split systems. When it comes to air conditioner installation, leave it to those in the know.
If you’re considering air conditioner installation, contact the heating and cooling experts at Mr Emergency today. We can supply and install air conditioning systems to suit your needs.
Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.