Being handy is a vital skill for all homeowners. It helps save not only time and money but also makes you feel useful and productive around the house. Nevertheless, it is one thing to be DIY savvy and another to be stupid. The demarcation is a fine line that must be clearly understood and accepted by all.
A leaking faucet? Yes, you can handle it. All you need to do is either tighten it or change the washer. Conversely, installing the air conditioner or dishwasher? Refrain from the DIY bug, and please call a professional. So clearly, some things around the house, but NOT ALL.
If the condenser of your HVAC system or the central heating and cooling system needs installation, you should err on the side of caution and call a professional.
What Is The Condenser?
The condenser is the big bulky unit installed outdoors and connected to the indoor unit. When you talk about installing the condenser, you are talking about replacing the entire outdoor unit.
Consider the size of the unit and just take a moment to appreciate its cost. Now think about what will happen if you install it incorrectly. If you are okay with the repercussions of any mistake you might make, we have a few handy tips on AC condenser installation.
Tips On AC Condenser Installation
If your heart is set on completing the AC condenser installation yourself, the following tips will come quite handy:
1. Begin by opening a charge account at a hardware store near you. Replacing the AC condenser requires a lot of supplies like refrigerant gauge, ampere meter, and other specialty tools. Having a charge account will make things easy. In addition, you will also need a basic tool kit if you don’t already have one.
2. One vital piece of information to always keep at the back of your mind is not to cut the refrigerant lines from the old condenser until you are all set to fix the new one. It is necessary to bear this in mind to avoid moisture build-up in the refrigerant line as that can cause issues later. Also, if your old refrigerant line is damaged, you will need to install a new one. So you should have sufficient length of that too.
3. When the refrigerant line is cut, the refrigerant will flow out. Hence, there needs to be a refrigerant recovery system handy. Letting the refrigerant evaporate into the air violates the Clean Air Act of 1995 and causes legal troubles. The fine for this mistake runs into thousands of dollars. Also, the refrigerant is very costly and not always readily available (as with Freon). If you can recycle it, there’s nothing better than that.
4. If you have installed a new refrigerant line, you will have to test it for leaks. If there are leaks, your job is not yet done. To check the new refrigerant lines for leaks, fill them up with inert gas, pressurize them, and wait for one hour. Now check the gas pressure in each line. If there is a drop, there is a leak. Try to identify the source of the leak by coating the line with soapy water. The water will bubble at the point where the gas is escaping.
5. Now that your new condenser is in place, there is a slight chance that your conscience tries to get you thinking about replacing the R-22 refrigerant (which is now banned) in your system with R410-A (the recommended coolant). Unfortunately, even after a complete line replacement, this is still something that you cannot do. Your AC is made to work with a specific refrigerant. Changing it will damage the complete unit, leaving you with a useless piece of junk on your hands. The only way to move to the recommended refrigerant is by replacing the complete cooling system. There is no other way around it.
Can I Install The AC Condenser On My Own?
We think the question should ideally be, “Should I install the AC condenser on my own?” For “Can I,” the answer is, “Yes, you can.” But for “Should I,” the answer is “No, you should not.”
Why You Should Not Install The AC Condenser On Your Own
The only scenario where you can install the AC condenser independently is if you are a certified HVAC technician. If not, there is much that can go wrong. A couple of reasons why you shouldn’t tackle it are:
1. You have limited knowledge of the safety precautions. What you do know is what you have garnered from either hearsay or the YouTube videos. At best, you are just working with a fair assumption. There is still a lot that you don’t know, which could put you and the safety of the equipment, both at risk.
2. Suppose your lack of proper training and expertise leads to a mistake. In that case, the manufacturer will not honor the warranty agreement because it states explicitly that a professional HVAC contractor or technician must do all installation, repairs, and maintenance.
3. Improper installation of the condenser causes numerous problems in the working of the AC. If there is a problem with your installation, you will have to pay someone first to uninstall the AC and then reinstall it … so double the expense. Moreover, if some glitch has occurred in the unit, you have to pay for its repairs (because the machine is no longer under warranty).
AC condenser installation by professionals may seem expensive, but buying all the specialty tools and equipment and doing the job yourself is also not cheap. On top of that, there is always a concern about something going wrong. Thankfully, the professionals are trained experts and also have insurance, so there’s not much reason to worry. But with your limited skill and knowledge, there is always a clear and present danger. So refrain from installing the outdoor unit yourself. Instead, call a professional HVAC contractor to complete the job. Pay them, sit back, and relax this summer in the cool confines of your abode.