What You Need to Know About Upgrading Window Units to Central AC
Do you want to upgrade your home’s AC from window units to a central system? Before you make the jump from a room-by-room approach to whole-home AC, take a look at what you need to know about this air conditioning transition.
Hire a Professional
Did you choose and install your window AC unit yourself? Most window air conditioners are fairly simple to install — requiring little more than a correct placement and a plug. Unlike window units, central air conditioners are complex systems and require a professional installation.
Why do you need to hire a licensed HVAC contractor to upgrade your home from window units to central AC? The top reasons include:
· Ducts. Lack of ducts is a common reason to choose window units. If your home is ductless, you need a contractor to add this crucial part of a central air conditioning system. The professional can inspect your home and recommend a way to add ducts.
· Electricity. A central AC uses electricity. Even though window units also use electricity, these types of air conditioners plug into outlets. You need a contractor to hardwire the central air conditioner into your home’s electrical system.
· Refrigerant. Refrigerant draws heat out of the air and allows an AC system to cool the interior space. This chemical poses a safety hazard if handled improperly. Only a licensed, qualified HVAC technician should work with AC refrigerant.
Along with these issues, the central AC’s manufacturer may require a professional installation to validate a warranty. Failure to hire a licensed contractor to install your air conditioner may invalidate the warranty and leave you paying for AC repairs or replacement.
Explore Your Options
Window air conditioners are less energy-efficient than central systems, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Between the limited cooling capacity and issues with air leaks, window units can increase your cooling costs — without increasing the ability to cool your home.
If you’re ready to improve your home’s energy efficiency but are not sure what to do, you have options. These include:
· Central air conditioning. A central system with ducts provides cooling to your entire house (provided the ducts extend into each area). If you want to set the thermostat and enjoy cool air in each room, this is an option to seriously explore.
· Ductless mini-split systems. Unlike traditional central AC systems, a ductless mini-split option doesn’t require air ducts. This is ideal for homes that don’t have ducts and homeowners who don’t want the added expense of duct installation.
· Continued window unit use. You could continue to use the same window units or upgrade them to new models. Even though this may seem like the easiest option, discuss central AC installation with the contractor before you settle on a less energy-efficient choice.
While you can research your AC options on your own, a professional contractor can fill in the blanks and help you to understand what works best for your home’s needs and your home improvement budget.
Know What to Expect
If you’ve chosen a new central AC system as your cooling upgrade, your next step is to prepare for the installation process. Again, central AC installation is much more complex than window unit placement. The installation includes:
· Indoor setup. The contractor will need plenty of space to add the interior unit. Clear furniture, boxes, or anything else in your basement or other air conditioner area.
· Duct installation. If your home doesn’t already have ducts, the contractor will need to install a new system. This may require the contractor to break through walls, ceilings, or floors.
· Exterior installation. Along with the interior unit, the contractor will need to add a condenser to your home’s exterior.
Discuss the installation process with the contractor before the installation day. The contractor can provide guidance on installation prep and help you to better understand the time frame. Are you ready to upgrade your home’s air conditioner? Contact Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar for more information.