Most central air installations fall into two broad categories: hardware replacements or new installs in homes without existing systems. While it might not initially seem like there's a vast gap between these two situations, the differences can be significant. In most cases, retrofitting a central air conditioner in a home without one requires more time, money, and effort.
Of course, the added costs are often worthwhile since they can improve your home's resale value while also making it more comfortable. However, it's essential to understand what extra steps may be necessary to bring central air-conditioning into your home. Below are three major differences between hardware replacements and fresh installs.
1. You May Not Have Ductwork
Ductwork is by far one of the most labor-intensive aspects of any central air-conditioning retrofit job. If your home doesn't already have a ductwork system serving a forced-air heating system, you'll need to install a new one. This process usually requires at least some small amount of disruption and demolition to install ducts behind walls, ceilings, and so on.
Fortunately, contractors have several options at their disposal to minimize the impact on your home. Common choices include installing ductwork risers in closets to avoid tearing down walls and running as much ducting as possible in unfinished spaces, such as attics or basements. Your contractor will work with you to design a system for your home that's efficient and cost-effective.
2. You Won't Have a Line Set
While your home might already have ductwork for forced-air heating, it won't have an existing line set. The line set is the plumbing that carries the lifeblood of your air-conditioning system. Line set installations aren't nearly as complex as ductwork installations, but they still tend to add some extra time to any installation procedure.
The time and effort required to install a line set will vary based on numerous factors, including where you choose to place your evaporator and condenser units. Longer line sets traveling along complex paths are usually more expensive to install. On the other hand, installing a short line set from a basement to an adjacent condenser unit is relatively cheap and easy.
3. You'll Need a Full Cooling Load Evaluation
Contractors can evaluate the HVAC load for a house. This procedure takes many factors into account, including everything from the size of your home to the number of windows receiving direct sunlight. A complete calculation is critical for new installs to determine the proper size for your new air-conditioning system.
Although retrofitting an air-conditioning system might seem like a lot of work, you'll get to enjoy a home HVAC system that can provide convenience, comfort, and reliability in any season.
For more information on HVAC installation, contact an HVAC contractor in your area.