Can I Install My Own Air Conditioner? | Thiele

Can I Install My Own Air Conditioner?

Can I Install My Own Air Conditioner?

An air conditioning unit is one of the more expensive appliances in your home. When you consider making a new AC unit purchase, finding the best ways to save money is likely top of mind. Your central AC system is designed to last for many years and provide reliable cool air through the hottest summer days. As air conditioner experts, the team at Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning helps homeowners make wise decisions and save money on air conditioning installation the smart way. This means choosing a new cooling system that will be durable, efficient and effective for many years.

Installing a New Air Conditioning Unit

There are many DIY projects that help homeowners save. It is important to change your AC filter regularly so your HVAC system runs smoothly. Regularly cleaning around the outside unit helps to keep your system protected and provides better cooling power. Most homeowners know how to check drain lines and pans to prevent water from overflowing. When your existing AC unit begins to wear down, some ambitious homeowners consider DIY AC installation.

While it may be possible to purchase an air conditioner and install it yourself, there are significant risks, complications and ultimately downsides to trying to install the unit yourself. Many professional technicians have at least one story of encountering an air conditioning unit that was improperly installed by a homeowner or handyman. Air conditioning installation is a complex process that requires specialized knowledge and skills. If installed incorrectly, it can lead to problems such as inefficient cooling, high energy bills, safety hazards, and even failure of the appliance.

Professional HVAC technicians have the training, experience and tools to install air conditioning systems properly. When you work with a local HVAC company, they help you understand the best air conditioner for your home and will analyze your entire central air conditioning system. Since your existing AC unit is likely more than a decade old, the rest of your system may benefit from changes as well. HVAC professionals know how to completely evaluate your mounting, power supply, air ducts, thermostat and air handler to make sure you are getting the most out of your new AC unit.

Hiring a professional to install your air conditioner may also save you money in the long run. A poorly installed air conditioning system can lead to frequent breakdowns and repairs, while a properly installed system is more likely to run efficiently and have a longer lifespan.

Should you attempt to install your own air conditioner, you will need to consider that any manufacturer warranty may be voided. Most manufacturers require an approved contractor to install the equipment.

In some areas, installing an air conditioner yourself may not be permitted due to safety regulations. While researching a new AC unit, you should familiarize yourself with all codes where you live.

In short, there are a number of reasons not to attempt to buy and install your own AC unit.

How Hard Is It To Install Your Own AC Unit?

Installing your own air conditioner will be a difficult and complex process, even if you have experience with HVAC systems. There are several factors to consider when installing an air conditioner, including the unit size, placement, wiring, and ductwork. As technology continues to advance, professional contractors train at least once a year with manufacturers, and the best technicians become NATE Certified to provide the highest quality of service.

Technicians earn NATE certification through merit including passing a test after rigorous training. It is a voluntary program that is recognized as a standard of excellence in the HVAC industry. The program is dedicated to improving the quality of repairs and installations and helps consumers feel confident in the contractor of their choosing.

Some of the challenges of DIY air conditioner installation include:

  1. New AC Unit Size: Selecting the best AC unit is not simply about BTUs. The wrong size unit, both too big or too small for the size and design of your home, can be detrimental. An undersized unit will struggle to provide cool air throughout your home. If a unit is too large, you may experience additional performance issues where the system cycles on and off too frequently. Wasted energy and damage to your HVAC system are expensive concerns.
  2. Improper Mounting: Mounting your new air conditioner requires proper mounting. Outdated concrete pad mounting of your existing unit may not be ideal for your new system. Connecting your new central AC unit requires proper wiring and electrical components to ensure safe operation. If installed incorrectly, it can pose a fire hazard or lead to electrical shock.
  3. Securing the Central AC System: AC units need refrigerant to cool the air, proper ductwork, thermostats and air handlers. Handling any of these components improperly can lead to refrigerant leaks, wasted energy and other frustrations.

There are additional concerns beyond electrical lines and properly sealed refrigerants when attempting this DIY project. A professional HVAC expert carefully considers all facets of your home when installing a new unit. Both the indoor unit, thermostat, ductwork, and, most importantly, the air conditioning unit can be optimized to the needs of your family and the layout of your home. Lowering energy costs every month and reducing the risk of repairs makes the labor costs of a professional HVAC contractor valuable.

Why Hire a NATE-Certified HVAC Technician

Another common question is whether a handyman can install a new air conditioner. When it comes to AC installation, there is a significant advantage to hiring a NATE-certified HVAC technician.

Handymen may have some basic knowledge of electrical and plumbing work, but they do not have the specialized training or certification required to properly install an air conditioning system. An HVAC installer who has taken the time to become certified provides far more than just manual labor. Most air conditioning installs are initiated by a malfunction or breakdown in the existing system. NATE-certified HVAC technicians have undergone extensive training and testing to earn their certification. They have the knowledge and skills required to properly evaluate your air conditioner and provide the best advice.

Sometimes you only need a simple repair. In other cases, the breakdown of the air conditioner has been caused by a bad electrical connection or another flaw in your system. When you work with NATE-certified professionals, the technician will install an air conditioning system that is perfect for you. This includes selecting the right unit size, placing and securing the unit, installing the ductwork and electrical components, and testing the system for proper operation. They are also familiar with the latest technologies so they can match you with a system that provides the best long-term benefit in terms of energy savings, comfort and durability.

Hiring a NATE-certified HVAC technician to install your AC unit also may not cost more than other options. In fact, it can save you money in the long run by ensuring that the unit is installed properly and running efficiently. A properly installed AC unit is less likely to break down, require repairs, or waste energy, resulting in lower energy bills and fewer repair costs.

Keys to Choosing the Best Air Conditioning System

There are a number of key steps to installing central air conditioning in your home. Whether you are planning on buying a new system or updating an older central air conditioning unit, these 6 Steps are the best way to a long-term solution for your home.

  1. Proper sizing: Professional HVAC technicians have the knowledge and expertise to properly size your AC unit for your home. The square footage and design of your home are considered. This includes the number of doors and windows in your home, the amount of insulation and the layout of your home. Proper sizing is the first step to ensure that the unit is able to effectively cool your space, reducing energy waste and keeping you comfortable.
  2. Efficient operation: A properly installed AC unit operates more efficiently, reducing energy consumption and lowering your energy bills. It is not just the air conditioning unit to consider. Your entire central AC system should be considered to achieve the ultimate comfort and reduce your energy bills. Professional installation will identify flaws in your current system like leaking air ducts, improper layout and outdated thermostats. Programmable and smart thermostat installation is an important way to reduce your energy consumption. Professional installation guards against overuse and breakdown.
  3. Safety: Your cooling system needs to provide safe and steady air conditioning. The safe operation of your new outdoor unit and your interior unit should be considered during installation. AC systems have many moving parts along with refrigerant lines, electrical wiring and mounting to consider. Professional installation by HVAC companies reduces the risk of safety hazards and makes sure you have years of safe operation.
  4. Warranty protection: Your new unit will be protected by a warranty. Many AC manufacturers require professional installation by a certified technician to maintain the warranty on the unit. DIY AC installation will almost always void the warranty and risk paying for expensive repairs out of pocket. Professional installation ensures that the warranty will be valid if any repairs or replacements are needed.
  5. Expertise: More air conditioning options exist now than ever before. Finding the best system can be frustrating, and, at the very least, confusing. Professional HVAC technicians have the specialized knowledge and skills required to properly install your AC unit, including knowledge of the most energy-efficient and powerful systems available. Gaining advice from trusted local companies makes sure you get the best new central AC system for your weather climate and local regulations.
  6. Peace of mind: When you hire a local HVAC expert, you gain a partner to care for your AC system for years to come. When you need annual maintenance, warranty help or other repairs, your local HVAC expert will always be available to help. You are also more likely to receive the best AC unit cost and fair installation fees when you hire a local business.

How Long Does It Take a Professional to Install an Air Conditioner?

The time it takes a professional to install an air conditioner can vary, but typically expect technicians to work for most of the day. Depending on several factors, including the type and size of the unit, the complexity of the installation, and the number of AC systems installed. For most AC replacements that do not require additional modifications, the installation will usually take 4 to 8 hours. This includes the installation of the outdoor condenser unit, the indoor evaporator coil, the ductwork, and the electrical components.

If additional work is needed to install new ductwork, upgrade electrical panels or mount the exterior unit around obstacles, professional contractors can provide a clear estimate. If your home has restrictions due to accessing the property, you should advise your contractor and work to find the best solution. Speed is never the top priority in AC unit installation. Instead, you should look for a team of talented contractors who work diligently to install the best AC system for your unique property.


One of the greatest benefits of professional HVAC contractors is their ongoing commitment to your property. Once you find a local contractor for your home services, you will discover how regular maintenance, including annual tune-ups, of your central AC and heating systems improves performance. Professional maintenance is affordable and prevents worn or damaged parts from stopping your system from working properly.


At Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning, we proudly serve the central Indiana area. Whether you need help installing an air conditioner unit or simply need repairs, our team is deeply committed to our neighbors.

When you trust a local company, you will receive high-quality AC installation, timely repairs in cases of a breakdown or malfunction, and warranty protection. As a locally owned and operated business, we provide expert service based on more than a century of hard work and honest customer service. Thiele works with top manufacturers to calibrate your AC unit and optimize settings. We understand the long-term value of energy-efficient heating and cooling solutions.