If you have a forced-air furnace, but rely on window air conditioners in the summer, it could be time to add central air conditioning to your home. Central AC works much better than window units, and part of the equipment in the furnace can be used for the air conditioner too. Here are some steps required to add air conditioning to your furnace.
Plan The Air Conditioner Installation
You'll need an HVAC contractor to calculate the right size for your new AC so it operates efficiently and keeps you comfortable. The contractor also has to make sure the existing ducts, registers, and furnace blower can handle the airflow output needed for the air conditioning equipment. The contractor will use as much existing equipment as possible to help keep costs lower.
Add Evaporator Coils To The Furnace
If the furnace blower is adequate, the only upgrade the furnace may need is to add the evaporator coils. The furnace and AC can share the same blower, but the furnace doesn't use evaporator coils, so these are added just for the air conditioner.
Refrigerant flows through these coils to the condenser outside. The evaporator coils create condensation that collects in a pan and then drains outside, so the drain line has to pass outdoors too. The contractor has to drill a hole in the wall so these lines can pass through.
Set Up The Condenser
The main part of the air conditioner rests on a pad outdoors. The pad is often a small concrete slab, but the contractor might use a plastic pad or an anti-vibration pad that helps the condenser operate more quietly. The condenser might also be on adjustable legs so it's easier to keep the unit level when the soil shifts.
While you won't have to choose a spot for the indoor part of the air conditioner since you're using an existing furnace, you'll need to choose the ideal location for the condenser. Ideally, it will be away from your bedroom so the noise doesn't bother you, and it will be in a slightly shady area so the condenser isn't in full sun all day long.
Once the condenser is set up and connected to the evaporator coils with copper lines, the lines are filled with refrigerant to the proper pressure.
Connect Electric Power
The condenser outside needs its own circuit in your electrical panel, and it also needs a disconnect box added that has a fuse in it. The disconnect box is near the AC, and it can be used as a safety measure when you need to clean the condenser or when the repair person performs maintenance and repairs. By pulling out the disconnect switch, you don't need to worry about the AC having power while you work on it.
Test The System
Once the air conditioner installation is complete, it's time to test its operation with the thermostat to make sure the AC cycles on and off properly. Your new air conditioner should last for several years, as long as you take good care of it by having annual maintenance by an HVAC professional and you remember to change the filter before it gets too dusty.
For more information, reach out to a local HVAC company, like Bud's Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning & Electric,