If you're tired of dealing with inefficient window air conditioners all summer, then it's probably time to convert to central air conditioning. It may not be as much of an expense and bother to have it installed as you imagine, especially if ducts are already in place for your heating system. Here are a few things you might want to think about when you have a new AC installed.
Placement Of The Condenser
Most central air conditioning systems are split. Part of the unit is placed outdoors and part of it is indoors. The condenser is outdoors and it can be noisy when it kicks on and runs. You'll want to pick a spot for the condenser where the noise won't bother you. A wall opposite a kitchen or bathroom would be better than a wall opposite your bedroom. Also, there needs to be adequate airflow around the condenser. While you might want to hide it behind plants, you'll need to leave plenty of room for air circulation around the cage. For that reason, it isn't a good idea to place the condenser where heat can get trapped such as in a small alcove. You might want to avoid placing it on the south side of your home too where it will be in direct sunlight all day. A cooler, shady spot is a better location.
Choice Of Ducts
If your home already has ducts for your furnace, the contractor might be able to use those for the air conditioner too. However, they will probably need to be adapted unless they are already large. The contractor will inspect the ducts to make sure they are suitable for the high flow from an air conditioner. The registers may need to be replaced with ones that have larger openings and parts of the ducts may need to be enlarged too. If your AC system needs new ducts, your contractor can install them in the attic or inside closets so they are out of sight. You'll have a choice between metal ducts and smaller coil ducts. Metal ducts are much more durable but if your home is tight on space, coil ducts may be a good alternative. Just keep in mind that they are more easily damaged by rodents and other pests that might get in your attic.
Of course, one of the most important things about having a new air conditioning system installed is to choose the right size. This isn't based on square footage of your home. Instead, you'll need a contractor to inspect your home and calculate the right size based on several factors such as insulation and the number of south-facing windows.