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How Big Of A Job Is It to Replace AC?

Replacing an air conditioner is one of the most complicated processes you’ll encounter as a homeowner. The project starts when you meet with one of our representatives to the final steps when we test the new system for optimal performance.

What’s Involved

The first step involves a thorough home assessment to find the best size for your system. The amount of insulation you have throughout makes a difference, as do the number, types and sizes of the windows. The floorplan layout and its total cubic footage are included in the analysis, which involves using software called Manual J to give us the right size for your new system.

If the system you select is too large, it will run in short cycles. Instead of saving energy, an oversized system actually uses more energy. It won’t run long enough to cool the parts of your home that are further from the air handler or thermostat and it will leave excessive humidity behind. An oversized system will also start more frequently, which uses a lot more electricity than the AC uses in mid-cycle.

Next Steps

Once the team has the size of the system, they move onto inspecting the ductwork to verify that it’s the right size, in good shape and free from air leaks. They use Manual J’s sister software called Manual D to size it. The team has testing equipment to identify where and how large any ductwork leaks are. As part of the inspection, they look for excessive dust inside the ducts and weaknesses.

Installation Day

At least one adult will need to be home during the installation that will probably take the greater part of the day. The first steps are to install the outdoor condenser and the indoor air handler. Next comes the wiring and attaching the air handler to the ductwork.

The technicians use their tools to verify that all the components are receiving the right amount of electricity and functioning as they should. They check the refrigerant pressure several times during the installation process. They’ll also use their tools to make sure that the air leakage rates through the ducts meet local and state guidelines.

Bottom Line

To learn more about an AC installation, contact O.C. McDonald at
408-295-2182, providing trusted HVAC, plumbing and electrical services for Bay Area and San Jose homeowners.

When Do You Need to Replace Your AC Compressor?

Your air conditioner’s compressor is a main component of your outside unit. If it breaks down, it is a major repair that comes with several big considerations. Many people believe that if your compressor breaks down, you need to replace your entire system. However, this is not always the case.

First, let’s go over a few signs that your AC compressor is failing, and then we can determine whether your compressor needs to be replaced or whether you should opt for a completely new system.

These are a few signs that your compressor is on its last legs:

  • Warm Air From Vents – A dying compressor cannot pump refrigerant adequately. If you are experiencing this symptom and no other, make sure your AC technician checks for a refrigerant leak to rule that out.
  • Vibrating Unit Upon Startup – Known as a hard start, this is typically something you see right before a complete compressor failure.
  • Frequently Tripping Breaker – A compressor that is having trouble starting is likely to trip a breaker. However, since there are many reasons your breaker could be tripping, it should really only be regarded as a sign in conjunction with other signs.
  • Rumbling Noise – This might indicate that an important component is loose within the motor.

Also, consider how old your AC unit is. If it is over 12 years old, a compressor failure is not unheard of. It is particularly likely if the unit is over 20 years old or has not had regular maintenance.

Which Should You Replace: Compressor or Entire Unit?

You should look into getting just a compressor replacement if that part is still under warranty. If you have already had multiple parts recently replaced, and your HVAC technician can give the rest of your system a clean bill of health, then a total replacement is probably not necessary. A circumstance that warrants a complete replacement is if the entire system is aging and won’t last very long. Two installations are going to be a bigger cost than having it done all in one go.

There are many other factors as well, so these considerations might be hard to determine by yourself. We’re here to help! Call us at 408-295-2182 to schedule a professional inspection.