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A new heat pump or A/C-equipped HVAC system is only as efficient as its sizing, installation and the ductwork system that it’s connected to. Once the equipment is correctly sized, you’ll need to decide on the best locations to install the two main system components, the air handler and condenser, to maximize function and energy efficiency. Read through to learn the ins-and-outs of heat pumps and air conditioners, and the best practices for their installation.

Your new HVAC system

Heat pump and A/C systems utilize refrigerant, under pressure changes, to extract heat from one location (from inside your home), and move it to another location (outdoors) without combusting fuel like furnaces. Note that heat pumps heat homes, too, by pumping heat-carrying refrigerant from outside to inside.

To maximize energy efficiency in heat pumps and air conditioners, proper location of the two main system components, the air handler and condenser, is extremely important.

If possible, the air handler/evaporator should be installed in a central location and conditioned space. There are many advantages to this design:

  • Easy access for system maintenance
  • Conditioned space is a favorable environment
  • A central location allows for shorter ductwork runs, which is more energy efficient and optimizes airflow
  • If air leaks occur, they happen in a conditioned space, which minimizes energy waste

The condenser/compressor unit is the outdoor heat exchanger. This is where the refrigerant releases heat in the cooling process (and picks it up while heating). It’s important to keep the condensing coil clean and unobstructed. Obstructions may include the home itself if the outdoor unit is too close, fences, weather coverings, hedges, debris, leaves, weeds, and anything else that may obstruct airflow at the outdoor unit.

The outdoor unit should be well away, more than 10 feet, from dryer venting. Lint will be drawn to the outdoor unit and stick to the condensing coil. Debris on the condenser hinders heat exchange, and makes your air handler and condenser work longer and harder.

For more information, NisAir Air Conditioning & Heating, serving Martin, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties. We’ve provided quality HVAC services for Florida homeowners for nearly 40 years.