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Practicality of Moving your Air Conditioning Unit

Moving an air conditioning system is no easy feat. It’s a rare job that requires specialised skills and experience to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Air conditioner relocation is something that typically happens when the unit is in the wrong location. It may be susceptible to the elements, encroaching on a neighbour’s home, or providing you with poor climate control.

But with large, bulky outdoor units and complex parts, this is not the kind of job every average Joe can tackle. You want safe and secure movement even if the air conditioner is being shifted 5 metres away.

Understanding exactly what the task involves will help you plan and prepare. And once you’re armed with knowledge you can organise reliable relocation of your air conditioning system.

Why Would an Air Conditioner be Moved?

There are several reasons as to why your split system or ducted outdoor unit may need to be moved. Some are preferential personal choices while others are legal. Sometimes it’s also best to move an air conditioner to achieve a better level of safety at home.

Household Aesthetics

The least complicated reason for wanting to move an air conditioner is simply just not liking it’s location or the household aesthetics. For example, perhaps you have a split system located right in the entryway of your home. It’s the first thing visitors see yet you’d much rather have it elsewhere.

Meanwhile, your outdoor compressor unit may be located right next to a doorway or entertainment area. It’s both intrusive and takes up too much space. Sometimes air conditioning units can be at the front of a house, negatively impacting the street appeal of your exterior.

Legal Requirements

Building code regulations could impact where your air conditioning is located. For example, with sound pressure regulations in place you may have to move an external unit if it impacts on neighbours.

In Australia, allowable noise levels are:

45 dB: 10pm to 8am on any night except Saturday night, 10pm to 9am on Saturday night
60 dB: 8am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday, 9am to 10pm Sunday

Meanwhile, there are some key considerations which are not legal requirements, but rather common sense. This includes not installing air conditioners adjacent to neighbouring windows, bedrooms or living areas. Your home’s noise pollution should not impact on their living conditions.

Heating and Cooling Performance

Your air conditioner’s performance can be affected by several external factors. Overhanging trees may drop branches into the unit, while it could be overgrown with weeds and bushes. Even low lying homes in flood risk areas may find ground mounted units often become waterlogged.
Inside the home, poor location of the unit may negatively impact your climate control. A split system may be installed right above your doorway where a crossbreeze always negates the impact. Meanwhile, too often we see units installed in corners, above staircases and in unused rooms. Sometimes relocation just delivers better long term heating and cooling.

Safety Concerns

If you have small children or pets running around the home you want to keep them safe. It’s best to therefore have your external air conditioning motor unit out of reach. The simplest option would be building a structure around it, although moving it is a long term fix that also keeps everyone safe and sound.

Renovations, Extensions or Moving

Renovating or building a new extension on your home? It could be the perfect time to relocate a system so it sits in the perfect position. You don’t have to settle for second best with a prime heating and cooling unit.

Moving house also presents a quirky option if needed. If you own the air conditioning unit and your new house is lacking one, you could bring the old system with you. Of course, that’s not always practical, but it may be a good option depending on installation and transport.

Who Can Relocate an Air Conditioner?

Moving your air conditioner is a job best left to the professionals. It’s something you should even attempt without the proper experience and knowledge.

If your system is still under warranty, contact a licensed technician from Metropolitan Air Conditioning. We will advise you on the best course of action to ensure everything is performed properly. There are no shortcuts when it comes to safety and comfort.

Willing to attempt the job yourself? Don’t. This is why a professional technician should always relocate an air conditioning unit.

Warranties and Legal Requirements

Between manufacturer warranties and Building Code/installation legal requirements, you cannot afford to cut corners. Work completed by a licensed air conditioning technician will ensure all warranties remain in place. Otherwise you could be seriously out of pocket if anything were to go wrong.

Manual Labour Safety

Relocation work involves handling electrical wires and harmful refrigerant chemicals. Without the proper experience you do put yourself at risk of electrocution, or worse. Heavy lifting and manual labour is also incredibly challenging as these units require two people to be moved.

Experience and Knowledge

What would you do if you’re moving an air conditioner and you end up causing some serious damage to your home? Inexperience with power tools and other equipment could leave you with long term damage. It’s always a smart move to call in an experienced technician as they can plan ahead for any obstacle. They can comprehensively assess the situation at hand and determine the best course of action. You won’t be left in a tight spot if something goes wrong.

The actual process of relocation involves many installation basics. Often the job will also be paired with maintenance, servicing and cleaning to make sure everything is working in proper order.

Both the internal and external unit need to be considered when disconnecting and moving a split system air conditioner.

Moving an indoor split system unit is relatively non-invasive. Your technician will shut off the electricity before disconnecting any pipework. The wall split will be unmounted once all necessary cabling and pipework has been split.

Holes need to be drilled in the new location for accessibility and new connections will be made. Finally, the wall split will be safely mounted, connected and tested. If the external unit is also being moved, some additional work will be required.

When it comes to an outdoor unit, your air conditioning technician will first pump the refrigerant back into the compressor unit. If the pipework is damaged or leaking, they will pump the refrigerant out entirely and replace it once moved.

Next the electricity supply is switched off for safety purposes. This means pipework and any electrical cabling can be safely cut. Typically the unit will be cleaned prior to any relocation.

Wall mounted or ground mounted units will then be unattached from brackets and moving air conditioning is as simple as transporting it to the new location - a two-person job.

It will be mounted and installed, with all pipework and relevant cables reinstalled. The outdoor air con unit will also be performance tested to ensure everything operates properly.

So, just how much will moving air conditioning from location A to B cost? There is no definitive answer.

Each job will have a unique set of contributing factors. More “straightforward” relocations will require minimal additional equipment. However, difficult jobs could include multiple technicians and even crane hire. Extra hands and external equipment will increase job prices.

Meanwhile, any damaged parts that need to be replaced will influence the quote. It’s all part of the job, though. Therefore, expect any initial estimates to be lower than a final quote. The best course of action will be an on site assessment of your air conditioning.

Metropolitan Air Conditioning will provide an initial on-site assessment so we can determine the most appropriate solution for you. We will then present an upfront, obligation-free quote prior to commencement. That means you know just how much it costs to move an air conditioner before we begin.

If you have any questions regarding air conditioning relocation, just call us. Our licensed technicians are ready to assist with any heating and cooling issues.


Published: 10 Jan, 2022

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