How to Prepare for an Air Conditioning Replacement

Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning

Gaithersburg HVAC Contractors


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man repairing air conditioning unitWhen you’re seeking an air conditioning replacement, it’s likely the first time you’ve found yourself in this situation. After all, you don’t have to worry about it until you go from renting to owning a home. The average lifespan of an air conditioning unit is 10 to 15 years, and HVAC systems typically last 15 to 20 years.

Since air conditioning replacement is an expensive project, averaging $3,000 to $7,000, you should know ahead of time how to prepare. We have outlined information that will be useful to know about replacing your air conditioning, what to expect when working with a contractor, as well as helpful tips.

Helpful Steps to Follow

When you are ready for an air conditioning replacement, it’s important to take a step-by-step approach to prepare for your project. Here’s an outline of these steps, with more detailed information to follow:

  • Get an estimate to determine your replacement costs
  • Size up the air conditioning unit accurately
  • Prepare the replacement area for the new unit
  • Test the system once the installation is complete

Estimate Replacement Costs

Since the cost of air conditioning replacement can vary, you should get a written estimate so you are not surprised by the cost when the replacement is completed. Most HVAC contractors will give you a free estimate of what it will cost to replace your unit.

When the contractor arrives at your home, they will start by measuring the square footage of your property. They will determine load calculations for your new unit by considering your area’s climate, the size of your home, and how well your home will be able to contain conditioned air.

Air conditioning replacement costsUsing this assessment, your contractor will be able to make a recommendation on the type of HVAC system and size. They will also be able to present information about the repairs that are necessary for your current exterior envelope or ductwork. Additionally, your contractor may make recommendations about resealing windows and doors or enhancing the insulation found in the crawl space or attic.

A list of furnace or air conditioner recommendations may also be provided. Based on your budget and the energy efficiency you’re looking for, you can find the right new unit for you.
The replacement costs should also include all information about the project work itself such as:

  • Job start and completion date
  • Each task for the job and relative cost
  • Cost of new HVAC system
  • Material costs
  • Clean-up costs including removal of the old unit
  • Warranty coverage

Size Air Conditioning Unit

A contractor will calculate the right size for your air conditioning replacement, but you should know what to expect. Take into consideration the climate of your home to decide whether the tonnage can handle the varying temperatures in that specific area. Here’s an estimate of the tonnage coverage that’s based on the square feet of your home:

  • 1.5 tons – 600 to 1100 square feet
  • 2 tons – 901 to 1400 square feet
  • 2.5 tons – 1201 to 1650 square feet
  • 3 tons – 1501 to 2100 square feet
  • 3.5 tons – 1801 to 2300 square feet
  • 4 tons – 2101 to 2700 square feet
  • 5 tons – 2401 to 3300 square feet

Getting the right size unit for your home will ensure that it runs with energy efficiency. A unit that’s too small or large for the size of your home can result in higher utility bills.

Prepare Replacement Area

An air conditioning unit usually takes about a day to complete but this depends on how much time it takes to prepare the area in advance, which could add as much as an extra day to the installation.

Air conditioning replacement crewThe crew will begin by having one or two assistants come and assess the job site. They will set up the work area by laying down drop cloths or protective paper.

Furniture or other items that are near the work location will be moved out of the way. If the furniture or object is too heavy, it will be covered in plastic to protect it.

There are a number of things you can do to help prepare the area for the installation crew and speed up the process of replacing your air conditioner. The most straightforward thing you can do is to move all of your valuable objects out of the way to prevent the possibility of an accident where a worker breaks a priceless object. Also, be sure to move any pets away from the work area in advance.

Once all the flooring and household objects are protected, they can start their work.
The first thing the crew must do is to remove the old equipment. To do this, they may have to get into crawl spaces and basements, which are where HVAC systems are usually placed. They will cut the power from the unit, remove refrigerant in the system, and start to disassemble the old equipment.

If the project involves replacing ductwork, this work can now begin. The new unit can be installed once the ductwork is complete. Be aware that like most home improvement projects, an unexpected repair might come up. Drywall repairs, rotten wall studs, and other replacements can’t always be assessed until the project begins.

Test the System

Once the unit has been installed, it’s time to test the new AC system. Pressure and vacuum tests are performed first. Once the unit has passed these tests and a thorough inspection has been completed, the system can be charged with refrigerant.

With refrigerant added, the system will then be activated. It will be retested to make sure that every component is working correctly. With the testing finally finished, your contractor will go over the new system with you. This includes providing instructions on how to properly operate the system, information about the warranty, and answers for any questions you may have.

Work with the Air Conditioning Replacement Experts

If you think it might be time to look at replacing your air conditioning unit, contact Presidential Heating and Air. Our professionals can inspect your existing unit and make recommendations based on your budget and home needs. Our experts will get your home circulating energy-efficient cold air fast.

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