Central Air Installation

Central Air Conditioning:
Central air conditioning systems operate by circulating cool air throughout your home via a network of supply and return ducts. The supply ducts and registers, which are essentially openings in your walls, floors, or ceilings covered with grills, carry the chilled air from the air conditioner into your living spaces. As this cool air circulates through your home, it gradually warms up, and then it’s drawn back into the central air conditioner through the return ducts and registers. To explore how central air conditioners compare to other cooling methods, take a look at our Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Home Cooling.Best Home Central Air Conditioner, Central Air Conditioner for Home, Best Central Air Conditioner Brands | VRV Home

Dehumidification and Energy Use:
Air conditioners play a role in dehumidifying the air to enhance comfort. However, in regions with exceptionally high humidity, during periods of mild outdoor temperatures, or in cases where the air conditioner is oversized for the space, it may struggle to reduce humidity levels adequately for optimal comfort. In such situations, homeowners may find themselves lowering the thermostat setting or using a separate dehumidifier. It’s important to note that both of these solutions can lead to increased energy consumption—both due to the dehumidifier itself and because the air conditioner must work harder to cool the house.

Optimizing Your Central Air System:
If your home is equipped with a central air system, it’s advisable to set the fan mode to “auto.” In simpler terms, avoid using the central fan of the system for continuous air circulation, and instead, utilize circulating fans within individual rooms for improved efficiency.

Types of Central Air Conditioners

A central air conditioner is either a split-system unit or a packaged unit.


In a split-system central air conditioner, you’ll find an outdoor cabinet housing components like the outdoor heat exchanger, fan, and compressor, while an indoor cabinet contains the indoor heat exchanger and blower. In some split-system air conditioners, the indoor cabinet may also incorporate a furnace or the indoor heat exchanger of a heat pump. If your home already has a furnace but lacks an air conditioner, a split-system could be the most cost-effective central air conditioning solution to consider.

On the other hand, in a packaged central air conditioner, all the vital components, including the heat exchangers, compressor, fan, and blower, are consolidated within a single cabinet. This cabinet is often placed on a rooftop or a concrete slab near the house’s foundation. Packaged air conditioners are also utilized in small commercial buildings. Supply and return ducts are routed from indoors through the home’s exterior wall or roof to connect with the packaged air conditioner. These units frequently come with electric heating coils or a natural gas furnace. This all-in-one system, combining air conditioning and central heating, eliminates the need for a separate furnace.


Installation and Location of Air Conditioners

If your air conditioner is installed correctly, or if major installation problems are found and fixed, it should perform efficiently for years with only minor routine maintenance. However, many air conditioners are not installed correctly. As an unfortunate result, modern energy-efficient air conditioners can perform almost as poorly as older inefficient models.

Washington Homeowners: Buying Guide For Central Air Conditioning | Seattle, WA Patch

When installing a new central air conditioning system, be sure that your contractor:

  • Allows adequate indoor space for the installation, maintenance, and repair of the new system
  • Uses a duct-sizing methodology such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual D
  • Ensures there are enough supply registers to deliver cool air and enough return air registers to carry warm house air back to the air conditioner
  • Installs duct work within the conditioned space, not in the attic, wherever possible
  • Seals all ducts with duct mastic and heavily insulates ducts
  • Locates the condensing unit where its noise will not keep you or your neighbors awake at night, if possible
  • Locates the condensing unit where no nearby objects will block airflow to it
  • Verifies that the newly installed air conditioner has the exact refrigerant charge and airflow rate specified by the manufacturer
  • Locates the thermostat away from heat sources, such as windows or supply registers




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