When you want to install an air conditioner in your home, doing it yourself gives you control over the project and allows you to learn something new. Hiring a professional installer may assure you of proper maintenance and, going the DIY route will enable you to learn some technical skills on the project and to save on the costs. It is not easy to install yourself, but it is doable.
Some state and local government regulations surrounding the installation of air conditioning systems exist- it also involves some technicalities. These two factors combine to make it easier when done by a contracted professional. However, you can follow the right systematic guides and use the right materials and tools to complete your project.
You Need to Acquire the Right AC System
Most homes do not have a pre-existing duct system unless they install through a costly remodel project. For this reason, DIY installers prefer getting the ductless split system. It is quite a challenge meeting trustworthy dealers to supply the appropriate equipment- but it is more costly, in the end, to acquire sub-standard equipment. However, follow a few tips to guide you in buying the right system.
- Consult your local professional installers (whom you are avoiding to hire). These professionals may lead you to their genuine suppliers- they usually deal with quality materials.
- Visit your nearest home improvement store and place your request. Even if they may not be stocking it by the time you request, they can make a special request for an air conditioner with your specifications.
- Shop online for trustworthy suppliers, but be prepared to incur an extra cost to cater for shipment.
Installing Air Conditioning System by Yourself
The ductless split air conditioning system comprises of two central units:
- The interior cooling unit
- Outside condensing and compressing unit.
The Interior Cooling Unit
- You will have to select the right location indoors for this cooler. The ideal position is a “middle ground” to supply fresh air uniformly around the whole house. Also, a place that has a shield from direct sunlight and other sources of heat in the house.
- Install the mounting block on the selected spot and use a level to align it- fasten it in place using the screws found in the mounting kit.
- Drill a hole big enough through the center of the mounting block and the wall to the outside.
- Refer to the instructions on the installation manual and pass the two pipes and power cable through the hole to the outside- attach them using electrician’s sealing tape and ensure the tube meant for drainage is at the bottom.
- Now, fix the interior cooling unit to the wall through the mounting block- you may need an extra helping hand to ensure you install it with a proper tilt that will position the drainage pipe accordingly.
The Outside Condenser/ Compressor
This installation does not have to be directly at the spot where you made the hole, as long as it is within 15 meters. Other position-specific conditions to create include:
- Non-exposure to direct sunlight
- Less human or pet activities
- A place that is not dusty
With the position ready, follow the following steps:
- You will require that you use the right tools and that you may possess some necessary construction skills to complete this process.
- Make a concrete “cushion” raised above the ground significantly to protect the installation from direct contact with weak soil, and water- You can find a ready-made option from any dealers of construction materials.
- Using concrete screws and drill, fasten the outside condenser/compressor to the concrete, with something like rubber in between to reduce friction effects.
- Refer again to the manual instructions and connect the pipes/ cables from the interior cooling unit to the outside unit.
- Link the power cable to the mains supply. Do not worry about the insulation since the wires are pre-insulated effectively.
Getting the Air Conditioner Ready
Your air conditioning system is now in place but not ready to use yet. The remaining steps, though not as labor-intensive as the previous ones, are the most critical.
- Remove air and other contaminating factors from the refrigerants. The instructions of the manual come with diagrams and do this- using a vacuum pump through the service port, remove air until the reading is 10 mm Hg, then cap the service port so that the vacuum condition maintains.
- The AC comes with refrigerant already charged as most suppliers do these days- so no need to recharge.
- Make sure you run a test to check for any leakage.
- To hold the pipes and cable in place, use the clamps that come with the AC kit. You should fasten them firmly to avoid possible disconnection and moving out of position.
- Do not forget to seal the hole that you had made through the wall- use all-purpose polyurethane foam since it is easy to remove, before covering it up with duct seal.
- Turn on the air conditioning system from the interior cooling unit. Before turning it on, adjust the temperature to the level that you would like. The air conditioner should be working within the first 15 minutes after turning on. For confirmation, test from the outside using the senses of hearing and feeling for:
- Any abnormal sound coming from the fan- this could be indicative of some fault.
- Warm air at the top of the outside unit- it is evidence that the system is working.
Other than just hiring someone to do all the labor in the installation of the air-conditioning system, you can get yourself dirty and do the job. The DIY installation requires keen attention to detail in following the instructions on the manual- any misstep could lead to failure and take you back to starting all over again or compel you to hire a professional. This failure will negate the whole idea of adopting a cost-saving, hands-on approach that you desire.