Commercial AC Installation Mistakes That Cost You

commercial ac installation

When it comes to commercial AC installation, did you know that the quality of the installation process matters just as much as the equipment you choose? That’s true whether you’re replacing an existing commercial air conditioning system or installing AC for new construction.

If the air conditioning installation crew is inexperienced, not properly trained, or inadequately supervised, they can make mistakes that cause system performance problems later.

Here are 10 common mistakes, how they hurt system performance, and the steps your commercial AC installation company should take to prevent them.

10 commercial AC installation mistakes & how they impact performance

1. Skipping system prep

Your installation team should vacuum your new equipment components to remove any moisture before adding refrigerant to the system.

If this step is skipped, moisture can cause high pressure that can damage the compressor. It can also lead to corrosion, frozen coils, increased wear and tear on the parts, and excess energy usage. You might not notice these effects immediately, so when they happen you may not realize that the cause was an installation mistake.

2. Not providing adequate drainage

Air conditioning works by removing moisture from the air. So where does all that moisture go? It should be properly drained away and removed from your space. 

If your installers don’t design and install an adequate drainage system, you may experience water leaks. That can cause a big mess, with expensive damage to ceilings, walls, floors, woodwork and furnishings.

3. Incorrect refrigerant levels

Today’s sophisticated air conditioning technology requires a great deal of attention to detail. One area where inexperienced technicians tend to make mistakes is when adding refrigerant chemicals to the system (known as “refrigerant charge”). 

With too little refrigerant, your system won’t cool properly. With too much, it will be constantly cycling, use excess power, and fail to remove humidity. 

If they have not been adequately trained (and especially if they have only worked on residential systems), installers may not realize that correct refrigerant levels vary by manufacturer and system type. Proper procedure is to follow manufacturer’s instructions for refrigerant charge.

4. Not insulating lines and ducts

Refrigerant lines and ventilation ducts are often installed in areas that get exposed to the elements: outdoors, on rooftops, and inside walls and crawl spaces. 

For the best performance, it’s important for these components to be protected with insulation. That prevents heat and cooling loss that drive up your energy costs. Without insulation, your air conditioning system also has to work harder to cool the space, which causes wear and tear on the parts and reduces the lifespan of the equipment.

5. Installing controls in the wrong place

When thermostats and other sensors are installed in the wrong locations, they can give misleading information to the system. That can lead to poor cooling or even too much cooling, as well as inconsistent temperatures. 

Where should AC controls be located? Away from sources of heat, such as direct sunlight and electronic equipment, and away from drafts from doors and windows. It’s also important to install them at the correct height (typically 52 to 60 inches from the floor).

6. Poor placement of condenser units

If your building has split system air conditioning, the placement of the outdoor units is very important for performance and to prevent damage. They need to be protected from too much sunlight, and installed on raised platforms to prevent water from accumulating around the base of the unit. It’s also smart to avoid placing under large trees to prevent damage from falling limbs.

Outdoor units also need proper clearance around and above the unit to ensure adequate air flow. The amount varies by unit type and size, so installers should consult the manufacturer’s instructions. Without enough air flow, the system can’t release heat properly. That makes it work less efficiently which drives up your electricity bill and causes wear and tear on the parts.

7. Poor placement of supply and return vents

The vents that supply cool air and the vents that return air back to the system must be properly located based on the design of your space, how it’s being used, and how many people are occupying the space on a regular basis. 

It’s also important to take into account where furniture and equipment will be placed. If vents are blocked by furniture, that impedes air flow and system performance will suffer.

8. Failing to seal ducts

Ducts transport cooled air from the unit to the space where it’s needed. But ducts can develop holes and cracks that cause your expensive conditioned air to leak into the crawl space. 

Sealing ducts prevents that problem, optimizing performance and reducing energy consumption.

9. Not adjusting for adequate air flow

Proper air flow is critical to how well your system cools the space. Getting that exactly right requires carefully testing components and making adjustments to fan speeds and damper openings.

When installers take the time to do this, the result is consistent cooling throughout the space. When they don’t, you will notice areas that are too warm, cold spots, and drafts.

10. Not testing for refrigerant leaks

Construction conditions can be challenging and it’s easy for a tiny leak in a line or coil to happen during the installation process. So it’s absolutely essential to test the integrity of the refrigerant charge once the equipment installation is complete. 

If a leak is missed, then you’ll notice your new system failing to cool properly before too long.

Trust Worthing Air to do your commercial AC installation right

Air conditioning installation, especially for commercial spaces, is a complex process that requires a great deal of know-how and experience. Worthing Air has over four decades of experience installing commercial HVAC systems.

Plus, we service the systems we install, which means we’re committed to doing things right so there are no problems later! Find out why so many NJ business owners and building contractors trust Worthing.

Call Worthing Air today at 973-575-5276.


Worthing Air is the HVAC service partner more NJ companies rely on. Efficiency, quality, and integrity have been the backbone of our operation for over 40 years. Our technical expertise ensures safe, high-quality, and timely workmanship on every project.