How Are AC Systems Installed?

You’ve probably had the privilege of hoisting a window air conditioning unit in and out of the windows of your home a few times, and you may feel a little nervous when thinking about getting a central AC system installed.

Many people with forced hot air worry about the modifications to the system that an AC unit will make to their ducts, while people without any ductwork worry that the process of installing ducts will destroy their homes. Thankfully, installing central air conditioning units is faster and easier than you think. In fact, a trained professional can probably do the work in about 2 – 3 days for a house with ducts, and in about 4 – 6 days when duct installation is needed.


Ducts are an integral part of your AC unit. They are what carries the cooled air through your home, and where your AC unit pulls air in to cool. If you already have a forced hot air furnace, you’re aware of how ducts work and how they’re laid out in your home. Adding air conditioning to your existing ductwork is actually simple, and it will not compromise your heat in any way.

If you don’t have ducts, you can still get central air. Technicians are trained to run the ducts unobtrusively through your home. They’ll run them through the attics, crawl spaces, closets, and behind a few walls with minimal cuts in your drywall or flooring. You may be surprised just how well ducts can blend in with your existing house.

Type of System

How your AC is ultimately installed will depend on a few things, one of which is the type of system that you purchase. Package systems bundle the condenser with the fan and coil, and attach your ducts right to it. These types of systems are rare, however, and most people opt for a split system which puts the condenser outside your home and the fan and coil inside.

If you already have a forced air furnace, the pipes and cooling coil system can be fit right into your furnace’s air handler system. If you don’t have forced air, the fan and coil are usually installed in the attic, where they’ll run through your ducts.

Placement of the System

No matter how quiet the air conditioner you purchase is, it’s going to generate some noise. Therefore, you’ll want to work with your contractor to find a place for the condenser that isn’t right outside a bedroom or a quiet study area. You’ll also want to ensure that you don’t put it beneath an enclosed deck area, because proper ventilation is key to helping the unit run efficiently. 

If you don’t have forced hot air, the condenser will have to run pipes up to the attic. This is usually done by disguising them next to the gutters, so take this into consideration when choosing the best spot.


In addition to installing the fan, coil and the condenser, your AC technician may perform some other jobs or modifications on the furnace and ductwork to make sure everything is working properly. These may include:

  • Upgrading the blower fan on the furnace to handle a larger air flow
  • Sealing and repairing the ducts to ensure they deliver the air without losing energy
  • Swapping out and enlarging old registers for newer ones that allow more air to pass through
  • Adding returns if necessary to give the system enough air and to help reduce noise

All in all, the entire process takes just a few days depending upon what kind of system you already have installed, and the kind of shape it’s in. Even if you need to have ducts installed, this can be accomplished without too much time or mess by running the ducts along the attic, then plunging them through the closets down to the first floor. 

Consider Upgrading Your System

Installing central air conditioning isn’t so invasive or difficult that it’s going to tear your house apart or displace you for any length of time. Consider having central air conditioning installed in your home and enjoy comfort all summer long.

Precision Air & Plumbing October 7, 2017


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