Electrician, Bethesda, MD
Written by Walt Meyer

Safely Prepare Your Home for an HVAC Upgrade – Part 1

Adding a central air system to your house will allow you to enjoy comfortable and cooler summers. If you have an older home, its electrical system may not be able to handle the power demand of a modern air conditioning unit during Maryland’s humid and hot summers.

The first step of an HVAC upgrade is asking a licensed electrician to evaluate your home’s electrical system. Several important factors about your house’s wiring may need to be upgraded to ensure your new air conditioning unit will operate efficiently and safely.

Electrical Needs of AC System

A new central air conditioning system will have an outdoor condenser unit requiring a direct connection of 220 volts at least to the service panel. Due to the condenser’s high power requirements, it will need a dedicated circuit.

As the condenser unit has the above requirement, it will determine much of what needs to be done for an electrical upgrade. Your home’s service panel will need the capacity to support an additional circuit. In addition, your electrical service will have to handle a new  220 or 240-volt connection. This connection will need 60 amps due to your new air conditioning unit’s capacity.

Modern houses are usually equipped with a 100-amp service. However, many older homes have just 60 amps or less electrical service. It is a general rule that homes with less than 100 amps need an upgrade to support a new HVAC system. A 200-amp service is required to provide sufficient electricity to the condenser unit and the other major home appliances.

Electrical System Evaluation

Before proceeding with an air conditioning upgrade, experts recommend scheduling a wiring evaluation by a licensed electrician. This professional will verify the existing level of electrical service to your home, determining if another circuit can be added to your service panel. If assistance is sufficient, but the service panel is full, the electrician will probably recommend adding a new subpanel for the air conditioning circuit.

Part 2 will cover more aspects of safely preparing your home for an HVAC upgrade.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.