How To Install Central Air Conditioning Yourself

It is no surprise that you are trying to install a central air conditioning system, seeing as about 87% of the American population have some form of air conditioning installed in their homes. So, in this article, we’re going to show you how to install central air conditioning yourself.

But first, why not just seek the services of a professional to install your new system? There are a lot of advantages to having someone who has a lot of experience do the grunt work of installing your new central air conditioning. 

We will highlight some of these advantages so you can make an informed decision on whether or not you still want to go ahead to install central air conditioning in your home by yourself.

Advantages Of Hiring A Professional

You Don’t Have To Worry About The Red Tape

In most cases, to install central air conditioning, you need to obtain some paperwork – permits and such. Rather than go through the stress of bureaucracy, hiring an HVAC professional to install your central air conditioner saves you the stress, here’s why.

These professionals already know the hurdles to cross and they can get these permits to install your new system faster than you ever could. In the long run, you get to have your new system installed in record time.

Save Yourself From The Grunt Work

Let us get something straight. It takes a lot of work to install central air conditioning, you’re going to break a lot of sweat while doing this. 

If for some reason you cannot do this yourself, then hiring a professional to install central AC in your home is your best bet. Doing so will relieve you from the tasks of crawling into tight spaces (may the force be with you if you are claustrophobic), lifting heavy hardware, and so on. 

All you have to do is sip lemonade and pay them when they are doing with installing your air conditioner. 

Easier Maintenance 

Most HVAC professionals will offer you maintenance plans after installing your central air conditioner. Seeing as they are already familiar with your air conditioning system, it will be easier for them to carry out maintenance on your air conditioning system whenever you may require them to.

This also ensures that your central air conditioner has a longer lifespan, as there will be no need to mess with hardware when a diagnosis is needed.

Disadvantages Of Hiring A Professional

Like everything in life, whatever has pros will have corresponding cons, so let us walk you through the drawbacks of hiring HVAC professionals to install your central AC unit.

Finding Experienced Professionals Can Be Hard

This might come as a shock but it is a fact, especially if you live in a rural area. All that peace comes with a price, my friends, and having an HVAC profession to install your central air conditioner is one of them. 

It is Going To Cost You A Pretty Penny

You might get your central air conditioner at a lower cost while purchasing it from your HVAC contractor. However, do not be deceived, you are going to feel the weight when it comes to installation costs.

The labor is going to cost you. The re-installation work such as having a concrete slab constructed on your roof (in some cases), or having modifications made to your roof to accommodate the new air conditioner will cost you money.

The cost of installing a central air conditioner is averaged between $1,800 to $4,000.

Seeing how much money you have to pour into installing your central air conditioner might dissuade you from getting one but you don’t have to be. Installing your central air conditional also has its perks, should your decision swing that way. 

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Perks Of Installing Your Central Air Conditioning Yourself

It Will Cost You, Less

This is the first perk worth mentioning because, in the end, everything revolves around cost. Even though you might have to shell out more money while buying your air conditioner straight from the company, fear not.

The cost of installing will be greatly reduced since you are going to get the job done on your own. You can save about $2,000 in the process, that’s quite a number.

Keep in mind that it may take more time to get done but hey, you’re not paying anyone to get it done.

The World Is Your Oyster

Contrary to having your central air conditioner picked out for you by an HVAC professional, you have a wide palette to pick from when installing your central air conditioner by yourself.

Also, in cases where your local HVAC cannot install a specific brand that you would like to purchase, going DIY is the best option.

You Understand The Mechanics Of Your Home

One of the biggest perks of being a DIY homeowner is the knowledge that you gain in the process. Installing your central air conditioner yourself will teach you a lot about how it works. 

Therefore, in cases where maintenance is needed, you know exactly what to do, seeing as you put it together in the first place.

You are getting excited about putting your central air conditioner together now, aren’t you? Hold on a second, here are some things that may give the process some hiccups. 

Downsides To Installing Your Central Air Conditioner Yourself

Paperwork Will Take Time

In some areas, you will require a permit for the central AC unit itself and also a permit for the platform in which you will install the air conditioner.

Seeing as you most likely do not have experience with installing central AC it will take you a while to get these permits in order.

A bulk of your time will be spent on making enquires before even commencing with the paperwork to get your permit. So, you might as well brace yourself for a long wait. 

It Will Take Your Time 

Installing a new central air conditioner will take a lot of your time if you do not have enough experience.

You should ensure that you have enough time on your hands to get it done before venturing on this quest or it might end up costing you more than it would to hire a professional. 

Seeing as there are two types of central AC units: Split system and Package (HVAC) system, we will be walking you through how to install each type of central conditioning system.

Having said all these, we can guide you through how to install central air conditioning on your own. 

How To Install Split System Air Conditioning Unit

  • Install the outdoor unit by either having it set on a pad on a flat, sturdy surface, or hanging it on the outside wall with a wall bracket. Whichever way you choose, the goal is to ensure that its line set reaches the condenser easily.
  • Ensure that there is enough clearance between the condenser and the wall. Do not install your condenser where packed snow or ice can fall on the unit. The north or east side of your house is recommended, to ensure that its cooling efficiency is maximized.
  • Have the refrigerant lines connected to the outdoor unit. Ensure that you inspect the electrical connections and the refrigerant line for damage or dents before turning on the air conditioner.
  • Ensure that you seal the holes on the inside and insulate the line using layers of plastic. To get a neater, finer look, enclose the insulated line with a wire-trunk. 

You have now properly installed your Split System Air Conditioning Unit. Let’s move to the HVAC system.

How To Install an HVAC Air Conditioning By Yourself

Before you go into the installation of your central air conditioner, there are some factors you need to keep in mind. You must carry out these steps’ pre-installation.

Pick The Right Spot To Place Your Air Conditioning Unit 

It is quite obvious that your central AC unit will be placed outside the house. However, there are options available to you when choosing a location for your air conditioner. You can place it on the roof or a concrete slab at the side of the house.

Most people prefer having their air conditioning unit placed on the roof to make it less visible and also to save floor space in the yard.

Regardless of where you decide to place your unit, ensure that there is adequate airflow to ensure ventilation. Also, it should be easily accessible and have enough workaround space, should you need to carry out maintenance.

Energy Efficiency Is Key

No, we are not talking about power supply now. To have an energy-efficient installation of your central AC unit, you need to ensure that the existing ductwork in your house is properly sealed.

If your ducts are leaking, your air conditioner will end up cooling the exterior of the house and will pass less fresh air into the house. The repercussions of this are that you’ll have to crank up the air conditioner to compensate for this leakage and your energy bill will cost more.

Therefore, we recommend that you carefully inspect the ductwork in your house to ensure that there is no leakage. Also, if there are any bent ducts, it will deplete the performance of the air conditioner which is why we recommend that you replace any bent or damaged ducts.

Purge Refrigerant From Previous Central Air Conditioner

To do this, you are required to have an EPA refrigerant handling certification, this isn’t just for a fancy diploma, mishandling a refrigerant can be very dangerous.

If you are replacing an old central air conditioner then you must complete this step. If it is beyond your capability to do this, then we recommend that you seek the services of someone who is certified to carry this out.

If you are installing a new central air conditioner, then you might not need to handle refrigerants because most new units already have refrigerants in them.

To begin your installation, you will require the following hardware: 

  • Condensing Unit
  • An Evaporator Coil
  • A Base
  • Electrical Safety Shutoff 
  • Two Electric Whips
  • Flexible Copper Tubing for the Line Set

Let us get to it.

  • Ensure that the ductwork is installed properly and shut down the power before proceeding to work with any electrical component.
  • Install the condenser outside on a condenser pad, preferably placed on a level concrete slab. Ensure that there us at least a foot of clearance between the condenser and the wall of the house.

We recommend that you place it in a well-shaded area.

  • Using a hole saw, create a small hole in the wall close to where the condenser is situated. This hole will be used to pass wires and connecting lines used to connect the compressor and air handler.
  • Install the evaporator coil into your furnace’s supply plenum. To get this done, you might have to use metal shears to cut a hole through the plenum and construct a placement shelf.

This is unnecessary if you already have an air handler as there will already be an evaporator coil installed in it. Simply have the coil placed in a position that enables the evaporator lines to face outward.

  • Run the suction line from the condensing through the hole around the ceiling to connect it to the evaporator. Ensure that you use mounting brackets to secure them to the ceiling.
  • The condensing unit houses the surface valve; therefore, you need to run the suction line to the surface valve.
  • Link the liquid line to the appropriate condensing valve. Run it through the house by making use of ceiling brackets. 
  • Have low-voltage electricity lines run from your main power circuit to the evaporator units and the compressor.
  • Install your thermostat and connect the thermostat to the air handler and main power line.

All done, folks. Your HVAC system has been successfully installed


Installing a central air conditioning system takes a lot of patience and time. If you know that you are not up to the task or have health issues that will impede you from doing a lot of heavy lifting, please refrain from carrying out an installation on your own.

We hope that this article has been of use to you. If you require a visual narrative, please refer to this video: 

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