Seventy-five percent of US households use a central air unit and, according to a Consumer Affairs study, 25% of homeowners require at least one HVAC repair per year. If your central setup is breaking down regularly and you’re spending a lot repairing it, consider replacing it.
If you’re daunted by the cost and logistics of replacing your central air unit, read below to learn more about what to expect, the installation process, and tips for protecting your investment for years to come.
Central air unit installation process
Installing a new central air unit takes 1-3 days, depending on the size of your property and the complexity of the layout. This is the process we follow and it applies to other types of HVAC, too:
- Removal of the old system by the technician. This might happen on the day of the new installation or beforehand. Where necessary, they’ll protect the work area from damage. Plus, they’ll clean up any debris and dispose of the old unit for you.
- Evaluation of the home’s infrastructure. In particular, the technician will look for any trouble spots, like leaks in cavity walls or poorly insulated areas. Should anything need repairing in advance, they’ll let you know.
- Installation of the new central air unit. How long this takes depends on how similar the new system is to the old one. This is particularly the case if the ductwork connections are a different shape or size, or if the electrical system requires modification. Once all components are fitted together, the technician will check the electrical connections and add refrigerant to the system in line with the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Test and inspection of the new system. The technician will make sure the system is running optimally and show you how to operate your new thermostat (if installed).
- Debrief. After completing the final checks, the technician will run you through the basic maintenance tasks and troubleshooting procedures.
Tips for maintaining your new central air unit
Installing a new central air unit or a ductless mini-split is a major expense for most homeowners. However, if well maintained, they can last for 15 years. To ensure your new central air unit performs reliably and achieves its maximum lifespan, follow our tips below:
- Change your filters each season. They remove large particles from your indoor air and improve the overall air quality. If you suffer from allergies, consider replacing or cleaning the filters monthly. A filter with a 1-8 MERV rating is sufficient for most home systems. Allergy sufferers may benefit from a higher-rated filter. Before replacing it, make sure the new filter’s MERV rating is compatible with your setup. If you’re unsure, check the manual or consult your HVAC company.
- Keep your outdoor unit clean and free of obstructions. Overgrown vegetation and leaf build-up around your outdoor unit interfere with your system’s airflow. Also, trim back any high pollen-producing trees, like cottonwood, elm, or oak, as they clog up condensing units. Lightly spraying the outside with a water hose is a good way to shift any pollen, but don’t use a pressure washer as you risk damaging sensitive internal parts, such as the condenser fan.
- Clean your evaporator coil’s drain pan and drainpipe. Your technician can show you where it is when they come to visit. Mold and algae build up inside of the drainpipe, but it’s easy to suction out with a wet-dry vacuum cleaner.
- Ask for help. Unless you’re a highly enthusiastic DIYer, hiring a professional to look after your new central air unit is a wise choice. They know how to complete routine maintenance tasks efficiently without causing damage.
Signing up for an annual HVAC maintenance plan is a surefire way to ensure your investment is kept in good condition. Our plans start at just $125 per year and include checking the condition and safe functioning of all internal and external components, as well as cleaning dust and debris from the unit. We service five counties, including Denver.
Once you’re signed up, you don’t have to do anything else, as we’ll call you to schedule an appointment. We offer an Ultimate Membership too, which includes a 10% discount on services and one waived trip charge for diagnosing faults. For additional savings, check out our HVAC promotions page.
Replacing your central air unit doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you’re having problems with your existing system, and aren’t sure whether it needs replacing, try our quick HVAC replacement quiz. Alternatively, send us a message or call us today at (720) 647-5099 to discuss.