3 AC Installation Tips For Condo Owners

Moving into a new condo unit can be exciting, but owning a condo can have differences from traditional homeownership. Since your new home likely shares walls (and other structural features) with neighbors, you won't always have the same freedom to make major modifications. These limitations can impact your options for installing new air conditioning systems.

Still, if your unit currently uses old-style window units or through-the-wall air conditioners, you'll probably want to look for ways to upgrade. Keep reading to learn three important tips to help you create a cooler home without also creating problems with your neighbors or the condo association.

1. Know Your Bylaws

Condominium bylaws will typically dictate what you can and cannot do with your unit and your responsibilities to other owners in the complex. These bylaws can vary substantially between condo complexes, so it's important to understand how they may affect your AC installation. For example, you may be unable to make certain modifications without first requesting approval.

Retrofitting a traditional central air conditioning installation will usually require modifications to walls and floors for ductwork, as well as installing an outdoor condenser unit. If you can't find information regarding these topics in your bylaws, contact your homeowner's association to determine if you need to request a permit or seek approval for these changes.

2. Understand Your Electrical Requirements

Since condominiums are smaller than most homes, many units will have fewer amps of service than larger houses. Fortunately, central air conditioning systems also come in many different sizes. A central air conditioning unit will require a dedicated circuit, but a 15-amp circuit may be sufficient for smaller units.

Working with a qualified HVAC installer is crucial to ensure your condo has enough capacity for this dedicated circuit. Since installing a correctly-sized unit is essential to maintaining your new system's efficiency and performance, you won't be able to choose a smaller system to save on electrical requirements. Instead, you may need to contact an electrician to upgrade your electrical service.

3. Consider Mini-Split Systems

If making major modifications to your unit for ductwork will be too expensive or go against your condominium's bylaws, you still have another option: mini-split systems. A mini-split (or ductless) system works like a central air conditioner but delivers air from a head unit located in the conditioned space instead of a central air handler.

Mini-splits require minimal modifications and may even be able to replace an existing through-the-wall air conditioner. However, they still require a location for an outdoor condenser unit. Still, mini-spits can often be an excellent option for condos and are worth considering if modifying your home for new ductwork is not viable.

Reach out to an air conditioning installation service near you to learn more.