Nobody's perfect, but a few innocent mistakes can cost you big bucks when it comes to your home's air conditioning system. To strive for a perfect installation, there are plenty of mistakes you and your HVAC contractor should avoid at all costs. The following covers a few of those mistakes in depth, along with some advice on how you can avoid making these mistakes in the first place.
Choosing an A/C System That's Too Big or Too Small
Bigger isn't always better, but far too many homeowners tend to go big when it comes to sizing up their air conditioning systems. The logic behind buying an oversized air conditioner is that it'll cool off indoor spaces faster. However, this comes with a couple of noteworthy catches:
- An oversized A/C unit will cool your home quickly, but it'll also leave it feeling damp and clammy due to the excess moisture left behind. A/C units usually dehumidify the air as it's being cooled, but oversized A/C systems don't run long enough to effectively remove excess moisture from indoor air.
- Oversized A/C units also have a tendency to short cycle, an issue where the unit cycles on and off constantly to maintain a desired temperature set point. Short cycling can cause unnecessary wear and tear, followed by a system breakdown if left unchecked.
- Oversized A/C systems also waste significant amounts of energy, leading to higher utility costs throughout the year.
Undersized air conditioners can also be just as much of a pain to deal with, since these units must run day and night just to keep up with your home's cooling demands. Unfortunately, many people purchase undersized A/C units in a misguided effort to reduce their energy costs, not realizing the increased run times and increased maintenance costs usually negate any sort of savings.
The best thing to do is to choose your air conditioning system based on your home's actual heating and cooling needs. Your HVAC contractor can help by using a variety of industry-standard tools to calculate cooling demand to help you choose an A/C unit that's appropriately sized for your home.
Putting Your A/C in the Wrong Spot
Believe it or not, but positioning is paramount when it comes to your air conditioner installation. Although it seems convenient to stick your indoor air handler and outdoor condenser cabinet in some far-flung corner, it can actually hurt your A/C system's performance in the long run. For instance, hours of exposure to direct sunlight can cause your brand-new A/C system to not work as well as it should.
Avoid installing the outdoor condenser cabinet in areas with exposure to direct sunlight. Instead, choose a shaded area on the east or north side of your home—places where sun exposure is less likely.
Not Giving Your A/C System Enough Space
Your air conditioner needs its space—just enough to avoid overheating and failing due to a lack of proper airflow. The indoor air handler uses its blower fan to draw indoor air through the return air intake duct, while the outdoor cabinet's condenser fan draws air from the bottom of the unit. Placing your A/C system near a bunch of shrubbery or in areas with poor ventilation can prevent it from running efficiently.
For maximum efficiency, you should keep your outdoor condenser cabinet at least two or three feet away from any shrubs, walls or other potential obstructions. Your outdoor cabinet should also be installed on a concrete pad or concrete blocks to avoid installation on soft ground or near tall grasses. You should also avoid placing furniture and other potential obstructions in front of your indoor air handler's return air intake duct.
For more information, contact a company like One Hour Air Conditioning and Heating.