How to Install an Air Conditioner (Best Step-by-step Guides)

To install an air conditioner might sound like a difficult thing to do yourself. But if you’re handy and trust yourself enough to follow instructions, you’ll get it done in no time.

install air conditioner

This easy to follow guide will teach you how to install both window and split air conditioners.  Armed with this knowledge, you won’t have to pay professionals a whopping sum to the installation for you again.

Get your tools out, with a little extra motivation, you’ll be well on your way to spending cozy time in your home while it’s searing outside.

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be confident enough to handle this DIY project from start and finish it successfully.

What is a Split System Air Conditioner?

A split air conditioner is a ductless type of air conditioner that has one part indoors and the other outside, thus the “split” in its name.

It is a great AC option to get in preparation for the scorching summer. If you’re looking to get one, we have a guide to measuring the cooling capacity you need for your home or office. With it, you’ll find the sweet spot between performance and cost-effectiveness.

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How to Install an Air Conditioner: Split System

Courtesy: Alpine Home Air

A split air conditioner is easier to install if you have some plumbing or electrical experience. Even if you don’t but you’re confident with your DIY prowess, with our help, you can make this happen.

In this section, you’ll find out how to install the air conditioner in your house and the compressor and condenser on the outside. That’s not all, we’ll also tell you how to connect the 2 with a power cable and piping.

One more thing; no matter how experienced a DIYer you think you are, don’t start this process before you first read the manual. The success of this installation depends on it. That said, it’s time to dive in.

Set up the indoor unit

  1. Choose a location to install the indoor unit

You will have to bore a hole through the wall to connect it to the unit on the other side of the same wall outside. So, make sure the wall of choice meets this consideration.

Other things you have to think of when choosing a wall face include:

  • The wall is not exposed to direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • The interior part of the wall is high enough to position the unit 7 feet above the floor.
  • There are at least 6 inches of space on all sides of the unit to ensure proper airflow.
  • Be sure the wall face is strong enough to hold the weight of the unit.
  • Choose a spot that is at least 3.5 feet away from antennas, power lines connected to TVs, home security systems, telephones, or radios. Electrical noise from these sources can affect the operational performance of the AC.
  • Make sure the location is not close to where gas can leak or there’s Sulphur or oil mist.
  • Finally, choose a location that is central and air can easily flow through your home. The living room is a good place.
  1. Install the mounting plate on the chosen location

Hopefully, it was easy choosing a wall face that meets the above criteria. A mounting plate should come with split air conditioners.

Place it against the wall and use a level to ensure that it is vertically and horizontally aligned. Now, use a pencil to mark the position where the screws need to go.

Take the plate off the wall and then drill holes for the screws. Position the plate back on the wall and insert the plastic anchors. Put in the screws to tightly secure the mounting plate.

  1. Drill a hole on the wall for connecting both units

The hole should be about 2 to 3 inches wide. The hole should be located a bit lower and to the side of the mounting plate. You first need to make a small hole approximately at the center of the hole you are going to drill. Mount a hole saw bit on a drilling machine and use it to make the hole. Drill it slightly downwards to allow for proper condensate drainage. Of course, you must have made sure there’s no obstruction on the other side.

  1. Set the electrical connections in place

Lift off the front panel of the air conditioner. Now do the same for the wiring cover to expose the electrical terminals. Insert the color-coded multi-conductor wire through the inlet hole at the back of the air handler. Pull the wire some inches through to the other side. The actual connection will be done later.

  1. Bound the connection lines together

Carefully unfold the refrigerant pipe. Now hold the electrical wire, refrigerant tube, and drain tubing together and fasten them with electrical tape.

  1. Mount the cooling unit

You can use an installation support bracket if you can’t find someone to help you hold the unit in place. Lift the unit in place and pass the bounded connection through the hole you drilled earlier. Make sure the air conditioner is firmly in place and the connections are completely through to the other side.

  1. Complete the electrical connections

Strip the multiconductor wire to expose the individual wires in it. Connect each to the appropriate terminal. Follow the diagram in the user manual. The wires are colored so this should be easy. Secure the wiring with a screwdriver and close the wiring clip. Also, close the top panel of the air conditioning unit.

Now you’re done with the indoor part. It’s time to proceed outdoors.

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Install the air conditioner condenser outdoor

You can install this part on the floor outside or if you live closer to the roof, you can place it there too. Using a wall mount is another option as long as it is applicable.

Kindly follow your local installation guidelines as well as your building code. If you’re going with the floor, you can place it on a pad. For the sake of this guide, we’ll use the floor.

  1. Fasten the outside unit to the pad

This is the first thing you do to keep the air conditioner condenser unit secure before you continue the connection.

  1. Connect the copper end from the air conditioner indoors

The unit comes pressurized with Nitrogen so you’d hear it release when you loosen its cover. Connect the ends of the line set using an adjustable wrench. Be careful with this process so you don’t twist the tubing.

  1. Connect the drain hose

This doesn’t require much as, in most designs, it is merely a push-fit connection. Secure the connection with tape.

  1. Neatly bind all the connectors

Use an electrical tape for this and gently bend them to be flush to the wall. You can use a line set bracket to encase the connection. This is optional but it makes the installation look neat and professional.

  1. Join the connectors to the outdoor AC unit

You’ll have to first remove the cover for the valves and wires. Also, remove the screw cap of the valve. Then connect the copper line set to the outdoor unit. Tighten the union nut by hand and finish off with a wrench. Now connect the conductor wires coming from the indoor unit. Double-check the color-coding to ensure you connected the wires correctly.

You’re done with your part of the installation. The rest of it will have to be done by an AC unit professional. Look at the bright side, you can be proud of your accomplishment and the expert won’t charge you as much as if they did the entire installation.

Complete the installation

Even though this part will be done by a pro, we’ll still walk you through the process. Let’s get started.

  1. Create a flare connection

It is possible the lines are not flared or you might need to do this if you cut the connection to length.

Use a pipe cutter to cut it to your desired length. Then use a shaper to deburr the cut. Put the union nut in and insert the end of the pipe into a flare tool. If the pipe is not flared properly, it can lead to refrigerant leakage. This is the main cause of air conditioners to freeze up. See why you have to let the pros handle this?

  1. Test for leaks

For air conditioners to perform optimally, the refrigerant system must be completely sealed. Do a pressure test to check for this.

  • Use a yellow jacket adapter to connect the service equipment to the mini-split service ports.
  • Pressurize the line set and air handler with dry Nitrogen. Set the pressurizer to 100 to 200 psi.
  • Spray all the joints with a seal bubble solution and watch for air bubbles. If there are bubbles, tighten the nuts or flare the copper pipe again. If not, let’s proceed.
  1. Use gauges and a vacuum pump to release all air and moisture from the setup. Then close the manifold gauge valve.
  1. Use an adjustable wrench to remove the service valve caps. Then use an Allen wrench or a hex key to fully open the service valves that take in the refrigerant.
  1. Connect the outdoor air conditioner part to a power source.

The AC unit requires a 220V power from a dedicated socket. This will be run through an exterior manual disconnect box. The circuit breaker is what will make a high voltage connection to the air conditioner condenser.

Now that the refrigerant has been released into the system and all connections made, it’s time for the initial startup.

Start the air conditioner. If all goes well, your home should start getting cool in no time at all.

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How to Install an Air Conditioner: Window Unit

Courtesy: LG

As the name implies, this is an air conditioner that fits in your window and cools your room from there. This type is smaller than other types of air conditioners and usually serves a smaller area.

It is a single unit, though one side of it is indoors while the other is exposed outside. Now let’s go into the details of installing a window air conditioner.

  1. Unbox the unit

The air conditioner will come with more than just the AC unit. There will be some other installation panels and brackets in the package too. As a best practice, first read the installation manual to take inventory of what you should have. The manual will also explain the procedure, safety measures, and some other things peculiar to the particular brand and model. So, don’t skip this part.

  1. Attach the mounting rail

There will usually be a top mounting rail with a self-adhesive foam seal. Peel off the backing paper and stick it on the bottom of the rail that attaches to the unit.

Use the screws that came with the package to attach the rail to the unit. You could also use an electronic screwdriver; that makes it a lot easier. Do this to attach the mounting rails to the top and bottom of the unit.

  1. Attach the accordion panels

There will be 2 of these for each side. They’re labeled, that way, you won’t mix them up. Their job is to seal any gap on either side of the window.

To attach the panels, pull it off its base and slide the edge into a pre-installed bracket on the side of the air conditioner. Slide it all the way down.

Now align the protruding plastic of the panel with the top and bottom mounting rail. It should fit snugly as all these items have been measured to fit. Do this process for both sides and fold the accordion panels so it doesn’t take space.

  1. Place the air conditioner in the window

This is the heavy-lifting part of the process so be sure you’re strong enough to carry it. Better still, get a helping hand.

This process works with a hung window. You must have known if the AC unit will fit the window before buying it. So, the measuring part is out of it. You’ll have to improvise and place a wood (or anything else solid) into the groove created by the up-shooting lip of the window pane.

Once you achieve the flat surface, peel off and attach the self-adhesive cushion that came with the unit.

Now, place the air conditioner in the window such that the mounting rails align with the window pane.

  1. Secure it with screws

The unit should come with an L-bracket that you’d screw to the top of the window so you cannot slide it up anymore. There are other smaller screws you will use to attach the mounting rails to the window pane.

Make sure the part of the air conditioning unit outside tilts downward a little. This is to ensure that rainwater and condensate do not flow back into the house.

  1. Open the accordion pane

If there are spaces on the sides of the unit after centering it in the window, the pane will cover it. If you have to open them, screw the ends to the window pane to keep them in place.

Now you’re done with the installation. It’s time to give the window air conditioner its first run. Plug it in, turn it on, and set it to the desired temperature. If all goes well, it’s going to be cozy at bedtime.

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What is a Central Air Conditioner?

Central air conditioner, as the name implies, is an air conditioner where the cooling is done in one location and spread to all the rooms in a home through duct work or fans.

One advantage of this type of air conditioner is that it can stay out of sight while you enjoy its effect all over the house.

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How to Install an Air Conditioner: Central Unit

This is a higher-level and larger system so you cannot install this one yourself. In fact, not just anyone can install central air conditioners because of the extent of work it requires.

If you’re sure a central air conditioner is what you need, then you have to reach out to a licensed professional HVAC company to do the installation.


Air conditioners are great to have. In fact, in certain areas, they’re a must-have. Getting it is one thing, knowing how to install an air conditioner is another thing entirely. After a while, you’ll need to clean the coils to keep your AC working optimally. If you found this piece valuable, kindly share with others and have them benefit too. If you want to know more about air quality and the devices that can give you that, explore our site. Thank you for your time. We’d love to see you again.

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