HVAC Installation: Learn The Process In 6 Steps (2023)

Installing a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system in your home may seem complicated, but with a little guidance we think you can pull it off. Even if you have no HVAC experience, this step-by-step guide may provide the breath of fresh air that you’re craving. Keep in mind that your local government may require hiring a certified licensed HVAC technician. In this likely event, it’s still important to understand what is going on so that you can oversee the project.

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HVAC Installation: Learn The Process In 6 Steps (1)

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When to Install an HVAC System

Early spring is the best time to replace an old HVAC system—simply because it won’t be needed for the year’s highest or lowest temperatures while offline. Replacing an HVAC system can really be done any time of the year in moderate climates but, obviously, the sooner the better.

A new HVAC system can be one of the best investments made to a home and the happiness factor is high: Think convenience and comfort. Also, heating and air conditioning typically account for as much as 50% of an energy bill, so modernizing a low-efficiency system is going to pay off.

Early in the pandemic, we all learned how vital maintaining HVAC is to our health. The “air space” or common environment for everyone living in your home, is how germs spread and pollutants increase misery for those with asthma and allergies. Outdated HVAC systems don’t filter contaminants, so modernization can drastically improve the air quality within your home.

Advancements in HVAC systems in the past decade offer energy-efficiency, and new technology learns from your habits and adjusts accordingly.

Safety Considerations

If you have any doubts, remember you can always consult a licensed professional. And if you smell smoke or gas, contact the fire department. The best way to ensure a safe working environment is to stop and think: Do you smell gas? Are you aware of any electrical malfunctions in your home? Is anything in your home structurally unsafe?

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Each of these could potentially cause serious hazards while working on the HVAC system. Any problems should be shored up before beginning work on the HVAC system. Also, you can help protect yourself on the job with the following:

  • Safety glasses
  • Wear gloves when handling sharp tools or materials like ducting
  • Lift with your legs, not with your back
  • Don’t drink alcohol on the job;


  • Reciprocating saw
  • Vacuum pump
  • Refrigerant scale
  • Cordless drill
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pipe wrenches and pliers
  • Snips and shears
  • Multimeter and voltage tester
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Measuring tape
  • Flashlight(s)


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Correctly Size New System; Calculate Heating and Cooling Loads

It’s important to make sure to find the right-sized unit—the size of a new HVAC can make a home comfortable or feel suffocating.

Installing an incorrectly-sized unit leads to premature wear and tear, shorter lifespan of the system, increase in energy bills and inconsistent temperatures throughout the home during different seasons. A qualified technician should conduct load calculations by gathering the correct information before making a recommendation, so if you’re doing measurements yourself, be as thorough as possible.

This first part of an installation is to calculate the home’s Heating Load Worth (HLW), which considers the home’s location, age, size and construction materials, as well as nearby trees and sun exposure.

Investigate and Upgrade Current Ductwork

HVAC systems are expensive, so it’s important to make sure they’re working properly. First check the ductwork for any damage or debris that could be blocking airflow. Clear all obstructions, most of which you’ll find at outflow and info registers—often called sends and returns.

Look for leaks and repair and seal any problem areas before moving on to other maintenance, like cleaning. Even if you purchase the best unit possible, an HVAC system won’t obtain optimal performance without tightly sealed ducts and adequate insulation around them. Both factors improve efficiency by cutting down energy costs while ensuring proper operation.

One option for upgrading a system may simply be repairing an existing system.You may prefer a ductless heating and cooling system that entails simply cutting holes in the walls to connect indoor registers with outdoor heating and cooling units.

Find the Ideal Location for Your Unit

Choose the location for your unit, whether you’ve chosen an indoor or outdoor system. It would be ideal if you did a thorough site evaluation then mark out (using spray paint or chalk) where you want the unit to go. Be thorough with your measurements when deciding on the placement (measure twice, cut once).

Installing the Unit

Most modern units are wall-mounted, but in the event that you’ve chosen to install a brand-new duct system, we recommend you follow the instructions that come with the unit itself. Variation among existing manufacturers, and those who may be offering products in the future, necessitate this simple expedience.

Whether you’ve chosen a wall-mounted system or a more complicated full-house system, remember the steps above before picking up any tools. Manufacturer guidance should always be followed—both for ensuring proper function and maintaining the warranty.

Verify that the HVAC System is Running Smoothly

An incorrectly installed HVAC system can reduce performance by as much as 30%. You should first do a final check before flipping the switch on any brand-new HVAC, including listening for any unusual noises and ensuring that airflow and temperature are consistent in every room. Complete basic maintenance tasks to learn how best to take care of your new equipment.

HVAC Safety Hazards Every Homeowner Should know

Turn off the power to the circuit servicing your HVAC at the electrical circuit-breaker panel—that gray box in some closet that used to have fuses but now just means flipping switches. You can test if any current still flows through that line with an electrician-approved multimeter before touching anything related to the circuit.

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One of the main HVAC accidents is exposure to dangerous chemicals such as some refrigerants.To work with these substances, formal safety training must be completed. Some substances can cause serious burns or other injuries. Having an understanding of each chemical will help you make appropriate choices when handling it.

Some refrigerants are labeled “safe” by manufacturers, but may pose a hazard if exposed to heat in any form, whether solar radiation, electric heating coil or even human body temperature.

Be prepared for any potential accident. Don’t take any shortcuts to avoid additional costs.

When to Call A Pro

If you’re in over your head, hand your tape measure and gloves to someone who belongs to the nationwide organization of professional HVAC technicians. Hiring a technician to complete your job doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Use this guide to check his or her work, establish a timeline and make sure things are done properly.


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What are the steps in installing an HVAC system? ›

The 10 steps to a successful installation are:
  1. Calculate The Load. ...
  2. Find A Suitable Location For The Fan Coil Unit. ...
  3. Cut The Return Air Opening. ...
  4. Construct A Simple Platform. ...
  5. Attach Supply Plenum Ring. ...
  6. Connect The Condensate Drain. ...
  7. Connect Refrigerant Lines. ...
  8. Connect Supply Tubing And Plenum Duct.
Jan 17, 2005

What are the basics of HVAC systems? ›

Basically, the HVAC system moves hot and cold air through a systematized piping network in order to produce warm and cool air. The system also includes mechanical ventilation. Mechanical ventilation allows the air to circulate in order to maintain the air quality inside a building area.

What questions should I ask an HVAC installer? ›

Ask your HVAC contractor the following questions and you'll be on the right track to a new installation that's perfect for your home:
  • What size system do I need? ...
  • Can the new equipment fit where my other system was? ...
  • What is covered under warranty with a new system? ...
  • What equipment do you recommend, and why?

What are the 6 six basic parts of an air conditioning system? ›

The six main air conditioning components that homeowners should be aware of are the thermostat, air blowing unit, air filter evaporator, condenser coil, and compressor.

What are the major phases of system installation? ›

Here's a brief breakdown:
  • Planning Stage.
  • Feasibility or Requirements of Analysis Stage.
  • Design and Prototyping Stage.
  • Software Development Stage.
  • Software Testing Stage.
  • Implementation and Integration.
  • Operations and Maintenance Stage.

How do I start learning HVAC? ›

How to Become an HVAC Technician
  1. Earn a high school degree or equivalent. ...
  2. Complete an HVAC training program. ...
  3. Get an HVAC apprenticeship and experience. ...
  4. Earn required state licenses and industry certifications. ...
  5. Continue your education or complete additional degree programs. ...
  6. Latest Posts.
Dec 20, 2022

What are some HVAC skills? ›

10 Important HVAC Technician Skills to List on Your Resume
  • Wiring and Electricity. When you work in HVAC, you'll need to have some basic knowledge of other trades. ...
  • Pumping and Piping. ...
  • Preventative Maintenance. ...
  • Read Blueprints. ...
  • Testing Equipment and Tools. ...
  • Safety Protocol. ...
  • Computer Skills. ...
  • Problem Solving.
Jan 7, 2022

What are the six 6 types of HVAC systems for commercial building? ›

Types of Commercial HVAC Systems
  • Single-Split System. At the more modest end of commercial cooling budgets, single-split system AC is ideal for cafes, shops, small offices and similar cozy spaces. ...
  • Multi-Split System. Multiple indoor units connect to a single, larger outdoor unit. ...
  • VRF or VRV System. ...
  • VAV or CAV System.

What is the most important part of HVAC? ›

The heat exchanger is the most important part of your heater or furnace, because it's the tool that heats the air. Typical, furnaces pull air in from the outside. The heat exchanger heats the air quickly, and the air is blown into your home.

What are the 3 main parts of the entire HVAC system? ›

  • Heating. The heating element usually consists of a furnace or boiler in most residential HVAC systems. ...
  • Ventilation. An HVAC's ventilation mechanism is responsible for moving heated or cooled air in and out of your home. ...
  • Air Conditioning. This part of an HVAC system is what cools down the air inside your home.

What are 6 major indicators that it is time to replace your HVAC system? ›

10 Signs It's Time To Replace Your HVAC System
  • Heating & Cooling System Unit Is 10 Years + Old. ...
  • Blowing Warm Air Or Not Blowing Cool Air. ...
  • Poor Or Weak Air Flow. ...
  • Loud Or Unusual Noises. ...
  • Humidity In The Home. ...
  • Foul Odors. ...
  • Leaks. ...
  • Frequent Or Short Cycling.

What every HVAC technician should know? ›

5 Skills Every HVAC Technician Should Possess
  • In-Depth Knowledge of HVAC Systems and Methods. Doctors know medicine. ...
  • Acute Troubleshooting and Problem-Solving Skills. ...
  • Extensive Knowledge of Safety Standards and Protocols. ...
  • Soft Skills, Communication, and Flexibility. ...
  • Willingness to Continue HVAC Learning and Training.
Mar 10, 2020

How do you pass an HVAC test? ›

6 Study Tips for Taking an HVAC Certification Exam
  1. HVAC/R School Training. ...
  2. Hands-On Practice. ...
  3. HVAC Practice Exams. ...
  4. Review Notes, Homework and Relevant Exams During Training. ...
  5. Switch Between Topics of Study. ...
  6. Get Plenty of Sleep.
Jul 10, 2015

What are parts of HVAC system? ›

Some of the most important parts of your HVAC system are your heat exchanger, blower motor, combustion chamber, condenser, evaporator, and thermostat.

How many parts does a HVAC system have? ›

Every HVAC system contains six primary parts that it needs to operate. When one or more of these parts stop functioning properly, there are problems ranging from uneven temperature distribution to poor air flow.

What are the six phases of the system development? ›

There are usually six stages in this cycle: requirement analysis, design, development and testing, implementation, documentation, and evaluation.

What are the 6 steps in the software development cycle? ›

While each development company may use a slightly different software process, each have at least 6 stages in common: planning, designing, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance.

How long does it take to install an HVAC system? ›

Generally, the process of heating and air conditioning installation can take up to three days, depending on several factors. It involves some important steps the contractor must carefully tread. For starters, the contractor must calculate your heating and cooling needs.

Is HVAC easy to learn? ›

For many, HVAC training is not hard to complete. In fact, HVAC is no more difficult to learn than any other trade, but you should be prepared to learn in various ways. Some people assume because HVAC is very hands-on work that, it's possible to learn just by taking a system apart and putting it back together again.

How long does it take to learn the basics of HVAC? ›

You can choose to earn an HVAC certification or sign up for a program in refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating technology from a trade school or vocational school. Such training programs usually take anywhere between 6 months and three years to complete.

Is it easy to install HVAC? ›

Installing a central AC system is hard work. You'll probably be required to do a lot of manual labour, including lifting heavy equipment, pouring a concrete foundation and even getting under the house. If this is not your idea of fun, you can pass this work over to the professionals.

What are the 2 types of HVAC system design? ›

Each type of HVAC system falls into one of two categories: ducted or ductless. In a ducted system, the main unit pushes air through a series of air ducts to cool or heat a building. Ductless systems, on the other hand, lack air ducts and use alternative methods to distribute treated air throughout a space.

What are the two main types of HVAC systems? ›

Type of HVAC systems can be divided into central HVAC systems and local HVAC systems. This classification depends on zone types and the location of HVAC equipment. The central HVAC systems can serve multiple and single zones and locate away from the building, which needs distribution devices.

What are the duties of a HVAC Installer? ›

Installing, maintaining and repairing ventilation and air conditioning systems and equipment. Diagnosing electrical and mechanical faults for HVAC systems. Cleaning, adjusting and repairing systems, and performing warranty services. Providing technical direction and on-the-job training.

What are HVAC interview questions? ›

General questions
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why are you looking for new opportunities?
  • Why do you want to work with us?
  • What are your wage expectations?
  • Are you actively interviewing?
  • Why did you leave your previous employers?
  • How would former clients and employers describe you ?
  • What shifts are you available?
May 17, 2021

What are 5 things that HVAC technicians have to do on a daily basis? ›

Some of the typical daily duties of an HVAC technician include:
  • Oversee installation of HVAC systems.
  • Provide good customer care.
  • Run after-hours calls as needed.
  • Troubleshoot and repair HVAC equipment.
  • Provide technical support when in the field.
  • Work with Sales and Engineering to develop products to meet market needs.
Dec 10, 2019

What are the 4 phases of planned maintenance HVAC? ›

What Are the 4 Phases of Planned Maintenance?
  • Corrective maintenance.
  • Preventive maintenance.
  • Risk-based maintenance.
  • Predictive maintenance.

What is HVAC system in construction? ›

HVAC is an acronym that stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. This means that the mechanical system provides comfortable, safe indoor air quality for a building.

What are the four types of problems in HVAC? ›

Four Most Common HVAC Issues and How To Deal With Them
  • #1. A Problem with the Refrigerant. Refrigerant is delivered to the evaporator coils in your unit so that those coils can remove heat and humidity from your home. ...
  • #2. Your Thermostat. ...
  • #3. Drainage Issues. ...
  • #4. A Dirty AC Filter.

What is the top pay for HVAC technician? ›

HVAC technician salary overview

On average, an HVAC technician typically earns between $46,000 and $68,000 per year depending on experience. In 2020, the lowest 10% of HVAC technicians earned around $31,000 per year, while the top 10% earned around $80,000 per year.

What is the most common problem HVAC system? ›

The most common cause is a dirty air filter. When the air filter is dirty your blower has to work harder to force air through the filter. This increases the blower's energy consumption and can sometimes trip the circuit breaker. Check your filter and replace it with a clean one before resetting your circuit breaker.

Where is HVAC paid the most? ›

Where do HVAC installers make the most money? According to the BLS, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, and Massachusetts pay the highest average annual salaries for HVAC technicians. The District of Columbia also tops the list with an average salary of $73,460 a year.

What are HVAC pipes called? ›

The pipes which distribute air in the room are called air conditioning ducts. The distribution system is made of an HVAC ductwork air return supply, filters, dampers and registers.

How many types of HVAC ducts are there? ›

There are three types of duct systems. Namely, flexible ductwork, rigid ductwork, and semi-rigid ductwork. We've compiled information on each of these duct systems. These ducts are typically tube-shaped and made of a wire coil covered with a bendable, durable plastic, and surrounded by insulation.

What are the most important things to remember when going on HVAC service calls? ›

6 Important Things to Check Before Scheduling a Service Call
  • Check Your Thermostat. First things first, check the settings on your thermostat. ...
  • Check Your Thermostat Batteries. ...
  • Check Your Circuit Breakers. ...
  • Check Your Filters. ...
  • Check Indoor and Outdoor Switches. ...
  • Check the Drain Line for Obstructions.

What must HVAC technicians do before they install or repair an HVAC system? ›

Before performing the installation, a technician will complete the calculations required to determine which HVAC system is appropriate. Once the unit is installed, he/she will test the system's piping and connections and connect the HVAC unit to the ductwork or distribution system.

Do you need to know math for HVAC? ›

Yes. HVAC technicians need a solid grasp of basic math, including adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. The job does not typically require more advanced equations used in engineering. However, HVAC technicians often plug data into formulas such as Ohm's law, which can help them troubleshoot electrical issues.

What are the hazards of HVAC? ›

Carbon monoxide poisoning, mould inhalation and asbestos exposure are just some of the risks that technicians can come across. When working with old units or working in enclosed spades, you can become more likely to be exposed to harmful respiratory hazards.

Is HVAC work difficult? ›

HVAC technicians commonly work heavy amounts of overtime during peak heating and cooling seasons. Logging long work hours is undoubtedly strenuous for HVAC technicians and their bodies, though it is not without benefit, as they are compensated accordingly to reward their hard work. Think of it as a double-edged sword.

How many questions is the HVAC test? ›

The Exam consists of 25 multiple choice questions. You must get at least 21 correct in order to pass the exam.

Does HVAC use a lot of math? ›

An HVAC career doesn't typically require advanced math skills. HVACR technicians do need basic math skills, like the ability to read a tape measure, calculate basic load requirements and use fractions. Those are covered in HVACR technician training, so you're prepared to enter the field.

Do you need to be strong to work in HVAC? ›

There are no physical fitness requirements in the HVAC field, but it will help if you're in good shape. The HVAC program at Charter College will give you a good idea of the physical demands of the job. It'll prepare you for an entry-level position as an HVAC mechanic.

How long does it take to install a complete HVAC system? ›

Generally, the process of heating and air conditioning installation can take up to three days, depending on several factors. It involves some important steps the contractor must carefully tread. For starters, the contractor must calculate your heating and cooling needs.

How many hours does it take to install a new HVAC system? ›

First, your new air conditioner can likely be installed in just one day, with the vast majority of installations taking 4-8 hours. Don't worry, you're not going to be left to fend for yourself in the sweltering heat of your own living room for long.

What can expect during my HVAC installation? ›

The installation crew will replace the old equipment first with your new air conditioner and heating unit. They will cut the power of the old HVAC unit, remove any refrigerant and disassemble and remove the old equipment. The technician will lay drop cloths and protective paper to protect the flooring.

How many HVAC systems are installed correctly? ›

According to consumer groups and HVAC industry consultants, 90% of air conditioners and furnaces are improperly sized and installed. Bigger is not better in the HVAC world, in fact it is worse.

How hard is it to install an HVAC system? ›

Additionally, installing an HVAC unit is extremely technical. To properly install an HVAC system, you will need to have extensive industry knowledge. Without proper experience, you could have a system with leaky air ducts, poor energy efficiency, and a bunch of other problems.

How long does it take to install a new AC unit and ductwork? ›

Between 4 and 8 Hours

On average, it will take between 4 to 8 hours to replace an air conditioner. If you are replacing both your furnace and air conditioning unit at the same time, then the job will take between 8 to 14 hours.

How long does it take to install HVAC and furnace? ›

It will usually take a full day (6-10 hours) if you're installing a full system with a furnace and A/C unit, and will occasionally stretch into two days if a lot of modifications are needed.

How long does it take to install heat pump? ›

The time it takes to install a Heat Pump can be as short as 3 to 4 hours for a very simple back to back installation (e.g. indoor and outdoor units located on either side of the same wall and effectively back to back). It can be up to an entire day for larger, more complicated installations.

Is learning HVAC difficult? ›

For many, HVAC training is not hard to complete. In fact, HVAC is no more difficult to learn than any other trade, but you should be prepared to learn in various ways. Some people assume because HVAC is very hands-on work that, it's possible to learn just by taking a system apart and putting it back together again.


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