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Wondering what to expect with a new air conditioner installation in Fort Worth, TX? If you are like most people you probably have mixed feelings about the ordeal. After all, the idea of getting a new highly efficient air conditioning system is thrilling, but along with that process comes a bit of hassle and a very high price tag. If you know what to expect the process won’t seem quite as bad, and you can rest assured that you are making the right decision.
How Long Does Air Conditioner Installation Take?
The process of installing an air conditioner is not short. If you are installing a new energy-efficient unit there are a lot of factors that might influence the installation. Whether the new air conditioner installation is an upgrade or a new installation altogether, it is not unreasonable to estimate that the process will take a good portion of the day. It is not uncommon for air conditioner installation to take between eight to 14 hours.
New units are larger than old units, have different hookups, may require adjustments with the ductwork, and have indoor and outdoor components. It is an intricate process that you don’t want anyone to rush, but the side effect is that your home may be virtually unusable for the day. At the end of the process, however, you will be able to enjoy cool air in your Fort Worth, TX home so it is worth it.
New Needs of Modern Air Conditioner Installation
As mentioned briefly, even if you have an A/C system there is no such thing as an even trade when it comes to air conditioner installation. The existing A/C systems in homes across Fort Worth, TX range in age from eight years old to 30 years old. A lot has changed in just one decade, so homes with older HVAC systems may need a lot of changes to keep up with modern needs.
In general modern models are anywhere from about 20-50% larger because they utilize a larger coil. This larger coil is what makes the system more energy efficient. This alone can cause a slight problem because the area where your old A/C was located may not fit the new one. This is one thing that your air conditioning installation technician should discuss with you during the preliminary estimate. Once the location is chosen, you may need to move things around in preparation for the air conditioner installation. Keep in mind that some models and state regulations also require space clearance around the unit, which can further complicate matters.
Second, depending on the age of your old model, some modifications may be needed in the ductwork. Considering your ductwork runs throughout the home, this itself can add some time to the process. So what’s the final payoff if you are choosing air conditioner installation of a new unit while the old one still works? New A/C systems are much quieter and extremely energy-efficient which means that you will save money on all of your heating bills which can make the installation much more worthwhile.
What Happens Before the Installation Team Arrives?
Before your air conditioner installation team shows up, you should receive some type of notification letting you know about the appointment. It also should inform you that the team is on your way and give you a head’s up on all the safety precautions that the team is taking as a result of the current COVID pandemic. The installation team will want you to feel as comfortable as you can with them since they will be in your home for quite some time, so if you have any questions feel free to ask.
Once the air conditioner installation team is at your Fort Worth, TX home they will review the job details with you. This will include all of the job details, the type of A/C system that is going to be installed, equipment details, any add-on accessories, and special instructions that the estimator may have noted while you were initially planning the installation. At this point, you will have the opportunity to ask any additional questions. Keep in mind that from this point forward all electrical circuits that run to the old HVAC system and main gas line will be shut off so you may not have access to certain features of your home until the process is over.
Removal of the Old Central Air Conditioner
Before the team can start your new air conditioner installation, they have to remove the old system. There is a very specific process to this because of the refrigerant. The EPA requires that the refrigerant be properly removed before the system can be taken out and it can not be vented out into the air. Therefore, a recovery machine must be brought into the home that can legally drain the old refrigerant out of the system. Once this is complete then the actual process of removing the old central air unit can begin. This is actually one reason that you need a professional team for air conditioner installation because federal law dictates that the refrigerant remover must have an EPA certification.
After this process is complete, electrical wiring must be disconnected and the disconnect box needs to be turned off. If there is not a disconnect box, new safety codes will require a new one to be created for the new air conditioner. Now that everything is safely off the old unit can be removed.
Prepping the Area
Now that the old unit is out of your home it is time to prep the area so that the actual air conditioner installation of the new unit can begin. Usually, this means replacing the pad so that it properly fits the new air conditioner. It also might mean leveling off the ground. A gravel base is often used to ensure that the new A/C unit will sit firmly on the ground. Other companies use a concrete pad, but the problem with this is that concrete can shift and crack which creates a separate issue.
Once the new A/C is in place it cannot be moved without causing internal damage due to the extreme pressurization of the unit, so it is very important that air conditioner installation is done correctly the first time around.
Replacing the Indoor Components
Now that the outdoor unit is in place, it is time to head indoors to finish the rest of the air conditioner installation. This process will generally start with the indoor evaporator coil which is the part of your A/C system that is located above the furnace. There are some models where it may be located under the furnace, but you can usually tell which it is by where the refrigerant lines are. The coil itself has two variations. One of these will be cased and the other will not be cased. Both need to be disconnected so that a new coil can be installed.
While this sounds like a fairly straightforward process, it can be complicated if you cannot easily get to the coil. Usually, this occurs if there is a closet built around the system or if the HVAC system is hidden away in a finished basement. This can make it harder for the air conditioner installation team to get to the coil and sometimes an additional charge will be added on. Newer indoor coils that are more energy-efficient also tend to be taller which can lead to some additional work by the team as well. Even more so if they have to hide the newer piece in an area that was not designed for it initially.
Setting in the A/C Condenser
At this point in the air conditioner installation, the pad should be set, the refrigeration lines should be run, the coil should be replaced and all wires are ready to be plugged into your A/C condenser. To start this process the A/C will be set out on the pad and inspected for damage. On occasion panels or coils can be damaged due to transportation. Any issues should be reported immediately at which point the decision to halt the air conditioning installation or continue will need to be made.
It is not uncommon for a unit to get slightly dented, and as a consumer, you should know that sometimes a slight dent will not affect performance in any way. Most dents are cosmetic the same way a small ding in the side of your car door is frustrating but does not affect a single thing about the car’s overall performance. You have every right to ask for a new unit that is not damaged, but this could delay the entire process and leave you without A/C in Fort Worth, TX for a few days while the new unit is ordered. So you may want to consider your options carefully if you find yourself in this spot.
Provided there are no major issues and the unit is ready to go, it will be set down on the pad and the valves and connection points will be connected. The refrigerant is already inside of the unit so that it remains isolated from the indoor coil which makes things easier for future repair. In order to ensure the line set is complete and firm, the lines will be welded into place and the copper line will be heated to the service valves at extremely high temperatures.
Installation of the Condensate Drain Line
At this point, a lot has been done to connect the outdoor unit to the indoor unit and the indoor unit to the rest of your home. Hours have likely passed, but the new system is getting closer to being ready to go. Now the air conditioning installation team is going to install a plastic PVC pipe that allows the condensate to exit your home. Usually, the condensate line will be directed to a floor drain so it can safely leave the coils and travel out of your home. If you don’t have a nearby floor drain, then a condensation pump will be used in place. However, if a pump is needed it is important to remember that it needs to be serviced twice a year to function properly.
After a few more standard procedures, the air conditioner installation team will be able to turn on the new A/C unit and take it for a test run. They will need to check out a broad list of items before leaving your home that includes things like the suction and liquid line temperatures, pressures, indoor and outdoor ambient dry bulb temperature, and air temperature of the return. This is just a shortlist, in reality, the air conditioning installation team will probably be checking a hundred items of their checklist. While this takes a great deal of time, it ensures that your new A/C is working the way it is supposed to and that it is safely installed within your home. It is better that all of these factors be checked out now instead of waiting until later.
If you are ready for a new air conditioner installation in Fort Worth, One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Fort Worth, TX is able to help. We will first schedule a pre-air conditioning installation meeting so that we can inspect your home and talk about what model is the best choice. During this meet BTUs, space, and energy-efficiency requirements will be addressed so that the appropriate model is chosen. You will be given a very detailed quote and then we will schedule the final installation date. Give us a call today to get the process started.