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2 Things to Keep in Mind About DIY AC Condenser Installation

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If you plan to install an outdoor AC condenser unit, it's important that you do the job right to prevent problems after installation. The condenser unit must be able to effectively reject heat from your home during operation. In addition, the installation area must be free of obstacles and other things that interfere with the unit's processes. Here are two important things to keep in mind during and after installation.

Create Sufficient Clearance Between the Unit & House

Your condenser unit must have sufficient space or clearance around it to reject heat out of system. The unit uses a special apparatus called the condenser coil, which wraps around the unit like a blanket. On the outside of the coil are tiny, teeth-like pieces called fins. The fins allow heat to travel through them to the outside environment. If there isn't enough space around the unit, the coil traps heat.

The trapped heat can travel back into the compressor unit, which receives hot refrigerant from the indoor AC unit. If the compressor can release its heated refrigerant to the condenser coil for processing, it overheats. An overheating compressor can break down and prevent your entire cooling system from working.

You want to avoid damaging your compressor by placing your condenser unit about 2 feet away from the side of your house, shrubs, and other items. Be sure to place a barrier between the unit and ground before you install it. Some sources suggest using concrete as a padding source. However, constructing a concrete pad can take some time and manpower to complete.

You can save time and money by placing a thick rubber mounting pad on the ground. Local home and garden stores generally sell the pads online or in person for your convenience. If thick grass or another obstacle cover the installation site, remove it. The padding should lie flush against the ground to prevent the unit from tipping over or tugging on the connections attached to it.

After you complete the steps above, you can complete your installation.

Insulate & Secure the Connection Lines

After you complete the steps above and connect the suction and refrigerant lines to the unit, you may wonder if you should insulate both lines or just one. Insulation should always cover the suction line. If the refrigerant line lies close to the suction line, or if you plan to clip the lines together to save space, it's a good idea that you insulate both lines. Heat from the refrigerant line could possibly transfer to the suction line over time.

There are different types of insulation you can use to complete your job, including slit-foam pipe insulation. This type of insulation is thick, efficient, and may be easier to install on your lines. If the insulation wears away or deteriorates in the future, you can replace it.

Also, position the insulation so that it covers the entire length of the lines for maximum protection. The suction line transports cool vapor that can freeze up without sufficient coverage. The refrigerant line carries heated gas or liquid and can lose some of its heat without enough insulation. In addition, both lines can rust or deteriorate, which interferes with your cooling needs.

Once you complete the insulation steps, check the lines to see if they have enough slack between the unit and house. The lines shouldn't pull too tightly or too loosely. You may need to move the unit to ensure that there's enough slack in the lines. 

If you have any problems during your installation or need to learn more, contact an air conditioning company like A-1 American Services for assistance.


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