Air Conditioner Installation
A Checklist To Ensure A Quality Job
Not all air conditioner installation jobs are equal. With these basic tips you
can feel confident about yours! It is a good idea to have the installer walk around the job with you to
look at these things. It is better to check them while the company representative is there so that issues
can be quickly be resolved. Most unit manufacturers require the installing company to pay for the labor for
repairs within the first month after installation. Our top twelve things to check will give you a reasonable
sense of the quality of the installer's work. If you are walking through the job with the installing
technician, you can point out these things and help to make them better at their job.
Air Conditioner Installation Checklist
- 1. The outdoor unit should be level. This is important for proper distribution of oil for
lubricating the compressor as well as for looks.
- 2. The outdoor unit should have a pad under it that is made of hardened plastic or concrete. This
is to provide a solid base for the unit.
- 3. The outdoor unit should be about 1 foot away from the house. This is to allow proper air
circulation through the condensing unit. Without proper airflow, the unit will have higher operating
pressures which will use more electricity and also cause more wear and tear on the unit.
- 4. There should be a refrigerant filter/drier in the system. This will look like a metal can
surrounding the smaller refrigerant line. If you do not see one on the lines outside the unit, look on the
inside of the unit as many brands now include them from the factory. This is important to ensure that there is
no moisture inside the refrigerant system. Moisture, when combined with refrigerant and elevated
temperatures can produce an acid. This acid can cause leaks in the system over time and costly repairs.
- 5. There should be an electrical disconnect within 3 feet of the outdoor unit. This is an
important safety requirement for repairs, maintenance, and emergency situations. It is required by most
residential and commercial building codes.
- 6. There should not be any scraps or trash from the installation left laying around. Someone that
does not pay attention to the small things is likely to perform a sub-standard air conditioner
- 7. The large copper line running from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit should be insulated and
there should not be any tears in the foam insulation. This is important for maintaining efficiency as
well as for proper compressor operation.
- 8. The copper lines should be supported about every 4 feet. Ensure that there are no sagging
places in the lines. A sagging line can trap oil that is needed to lubricate the compressor. If the
compressor does not have sufficient oil, it will fail.
- 9. The copper lines should be as short as possible.
- 10. Normally the copper lines should be the same size as the connections on the unit. If not, ask
why and ensure you understand the reason.
- 11. Both the main and emergency drain connections on the indoor coil should be connected to a
- 12. Run the system through a complete cooling cycle to ensure it works properly. During this
time, it is a good idea to check the temperature drop across the evaporator coil. This is done by measuring
the temperature of the air in the main supply duct and subtracting it from the temperature of the
air entering the furnace/air handler. (On a modern high efficiency unit, this should be around 12 to 14
If the air conditioner installation passes these twelve checks, you can be confident that the system
will operate efficiently and last a good long time.