Air conditioning installation is a job for certified HVAC technicians. It should not be considered a DIY project unless you have previous professional HVAC experience. Call billyGO at 817-761-0166 for fast service and leave the rest to billyGO’s AC installation professionals.
Professional AC installation is especially important to people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, considering that most AC and heating problems can be traced back to improper air conditioning installation, including:
- Inaccurate load calculation resulting in an over-sized or undersized AC unit – equipment must be the right size for the house it will cool (see Load Calculation below).
- Poorly-sized or sealed ductwork – ductwork must be sized for the equipment installed.
- Inadequate power supply or overloaded breaker box – the HVAC system must be on its own electrical circuit to prevent overloaded circuits.
- Lack of space around the inside or outside units – the AC components inside and out must have enough room to allow air to flow freely around them.
- Thermostat placement – must not be located in direct sunlight or adjacent to windows or doors.
Selecting an Air Conditioning System
There are four main factors to consider in selecting and installing air conditioning equipment for your home – system type, efficiency (SEER rating), size/capacity, and ductwork.
Main Types of AC Units
- Split system – the most common type of central air conditioning installation in the DFW metro area, featuring an outdoor metal cabinet that holds condenser coil, compressor, and a fan, plus an indoor cabinet for the evaporator. The system cools with a refrigerant that alternates between a liquid and gaseous states.
- Packaged system – one outdoor cabinet contains condenser, compressor, evaporator and fan – handy for locations where space is at a premium.
- Heat pump – these HVAC systems use outdoor air to heat homes in winter and cool them in summer by means of a reversible-flow design. The simple explanation is that heat pumps constantly move heated air from one place to another – into your home in winter and out of your home in summer.
- Ductless mini-split – this AC system requires no ductwork, which makes it a popular choice for room additions, cooling garages, utility buildings and places where adding to existing ductwork is not practical. These AC units have the condenser and compressor connected to the indoor air handler by a refrigerant line.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) Ratings
Air conditioner efficiency is critical to your home’s comfort and the size of your summer electric bills. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system. Higher efficiency air conditioning installations cost more up front but provide substantial operational cost savings and a more comfortable feel in your home.
The minimum SEER level in cooler northern states is 13 SEER, but 14 SEER for Dallas/Fort Worth and other parts of the southern and western United States. Some air conditioning equipment manufacturers offer AC units up to 25 SEER.
The chart below shows operational savings for SEER rating 10-21 compared to a baseline 8 SEER system. Most AC systems installed before Jan. 1, 2006, were 10 SEER or less. Since then, 13/14 SEER has been the minimum allowed. This SEER energy savings calculator allows you to see projected savings in dollars and percentages when comparing SEER ratings.
You are the best judge of what SEER rating is best for your home, weighing the operational versus installation costs. The difference in comfort or “feel” that a high-efficiency central air conditioning system provides is not quantifiable but is much greater than you may expect and well worth consideration.
That increased comfort comes from two important differences – two-stage or variable-speed compressors, plus variable-speed blowers. Single-stage equipment with lower SEER values is either running full-speed or it’s off. It cycles on and off more frequently, using more power for each startup while adding additional wear and tear on the equipment. It’s like flooring your car’s accelerator to pull away from a stop sign instead of applying power gradually.
Units with two-stage compressors (usually found at 17 SEER and higher) are designed to run at their lower speed about 80% of the time and kick into high-speed only when necessary. AC units of 18 SEER and up are available with variable-speed compressors that run only as fast as the cooling load demands.
Variable speed blower fans distribute the air through the duct system at higher speeds when more cooling is called for by the system. In addition to higher efficiency, variable-speed systems also run much more quietly.
Load Calculation and HVAC System Sizing
Calculating the load that will be placed on an AC unit is the crucial first step for air conditioning installation. The most accurate calculations are achieved with calculating room-by-room, considering factors such as wall thickness, ceiling height, insulation, ductwork, temperature extremes, roof color, amount of shade around the home, basement or slab construction, sun exposure, window sizes and a few more.
An oversized air conditioner will run in short bursts, always shutting off and on. It will never remove humidity fully and will wear out sooner. Under-sized central air conditioning equipment will run constantly, trying to keep up while increasing electricity bills and wearing out ahead of its time.
Most homeowners do not feel comfortable doing these calculations when such a significant investment is on the line. We recommend you leave this to a billyGO certified air conditioning professional.
This chart provides a working estimate that, while not precise, is useful for rough estimates you can do yourself.
See this article for more information about how central air conditioning works and how to choose a central air conditioner for your home. If you’re not certain whether to replace your air conditioner or repair it, this article provides 10 tips for deciding whether to replace an air conditioner or repair it. (Hint: you may save money with new equipment, even if your present air conditioning has some service left in it.)
Good ductwork is essential to getting the best performance from your AC unit. Here are the most common ductwork problems we find:
- Incorrect size– ductwork always must be sized for the equipment and designed by an air conditioning professional, not a builder. Heat pumps and air purifiers require more airflow, bigger ducts.
- Poor layout – location of the air handler should be planned to avoid long runs and numerous bends, whether ductwork is flexible, sheet metal or pressed fiberglass.
- Poor duct sealing – ducts must be sealed tight where they connect to the AC/furnace equipment and along each individual run. Sometimes flex ducts are spliced together with tape that comes loose, allowing cooled air to escape into the attic. We often can improve air conditioner efficiency as much as 30% by sealing ducts
- Too few air returns – must have sufficient air returns to keep the airflow balanced, into and out of the HVAC equipment.
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual D spells out in detail the requirements for properly-sized ductwork. The manual is lengthy, but this ACCA Manual D checklist provides a good overview.
Your billyGO air conditioning installation team will consider other factors before beginning installation, including space requirements and whether any carpentry may be required.
The Air Conditioning Installation Process
billyGO’s AC installation specialists will:
- Handle all city or county permitting for the HVAC work
- Dismantle, remove and recycle the existing air conditioning equipment
- Repair or replace existing ductwork
- Prepare the installation site, including the concrete pad for the condenser/compressor outside or installing rooftop supports for a packaged system
- Install the air handler and evaporator indoor unit
- Connect the indoor and outdoor units and ensure the appropriate size of refrigerant lines, drain piping, and electrical lines
- Connect the thermostat to the central HVAC system (new thermostats come with most new AC units)
- Remove any contaminants from the refrigerant lines and charge the new system
- Conduct an installation inspection to ensure proper installation and that the whole HVAC system functions properly
Get billyGO for Air Conditioning Installation in Dallas/Fort Worth
billyGO’s dedicated air conditioning installation crews install HVAC equipment every day. Their broad experience enables them to spot potential problems and eliminate them so your new air conditioner will perform at its full rated efficiency.
Use the free billyGO mobile app to schedule, or call billyGO at 817-761-0166 to get started now!