What Types of Tools Are Needed for AC Installation?
At NexGen, we strongly advise against DIY installation, no matter what type of AC system you’ve purchased. Most air conditioning systems have numerous components. All these must be properly installed for the unit to work safely, reliably, and efficiently. Nonetheless, many clients ask us about the AC installation process, including the types of tools we use.
There are many items in a professional AC installer’s toolkit. Here’s a look at a few tools our technicians use:
- Screwdrivers/Nut Drivers: Chances are, you have a screwdriver or two sitting around in your home. At the very least, you’ll need a multi-purpose screwdriver (with flathead and Phillips bits). Cabinet Bit, Keystone Bit, Slotted Screw, or Allen Recess screwdrivers may also be needed. It’s wise to have a magnetic nut driver set as well; hex-head nut drivers may be required for some parts.
- Hacksaws: Saws help cut copper tubes and other metals. The type of metal determines the size of the blade required. Blades are rated by their size in inches and number of teeth; the thicker the metal, the more of each you’ll need. The pros use high-quality tungsten or molybdenum steel blades.
- Hand Seamers/Snips: With a hand seamer, an AC installer can bend or flatten sheet metal. Snips help cut it to the required size. Similarly, an awl is used for scoring sheet metal to help make a straight cut or punch holes in it, while a crimper helps conform metal parts to a section of piping. A high-quality tool has insulated grips.
- Wrenches: A wrench helps fasten copper or brass nuts to bolts in your HVAC system. Various-sized tools are often needed. A Box wrench has a strong, tight grip. Open-end wrenches slide onto a nut or bolt more easily. Socket-type wrenches are commonly found in homes and are suited for some HVAC fasteners. A set of pipe wrenches is also useful.
- Vises: These work tools hold parts with a jaw made of copper, aluminum, or another soft metal. The material a vise is made of avoids damaging parts being worked on during AC installation.
- Power Drills: HVAC technicians often use a cordless, battery-powered drill for versatility (they often keep a spare charged battery in their toolbox). A 24-volt drill with numerous types of bits is best. A twist drill may be used to install plastic or metal components.
- Taps: Made of hard alloy steel, a tap is used to cut threaded holes in metal parts. An HVAC tech may use a taper tap to start a cut, a plug type to cut blind holes, and a bottoming tap to cut full threads to the base of holes.
- Files: Various metal surfaces and parts may need to be cleaned and smoothed out. Single- or double-cut files can be used for this. They can range in length from 4 to 12 inches.
- Multimeter: Every AC system has a specific voltage requirement. It should be listed in the user manual, on the packaging, or on the unit. A multimeter helps verify the electrical current at the site you’re connecting the AC to matches the system’s requirements. If not, the unit won’t work properly or can cause serious electrical damage.
- Pressure Gauges: AC service techs often carry refrigeration gauges, manifold gauges, and similar tools to measure pressure and check for leaks. An experienced technician may carry multiple sets of gauges.
- Staple Gun: A staple gun allows an installer to assemble ductwork during AC installation. It also helps secure joists.
- Nitrogen Regulator: A nitrogen regulator reduces the pressure of gases or liquids so they are safer to work with. Without it, a high-pressure gas or liquid is released all at once.
- Psychrometer: A device that can measure air flow, evaluate an air mixture, and measure relative humidity.
- Safety Tools: HVAC technicians wear gloves, goggles, and masks to protect themselves from dust and debris. Ear protection is often worn when operating power tools. Heavy steel-toe work boots prevent slipping (especially when working on ladders) and offer protection if an object falls on a worker’s foot.
Hire NexGen for Your Next AC Installation
As you can see, an AC installer carries an arsenal of tools. It would be quite expensive to buy all these for a one-off install. Plus, you risk operational issues due to installation mistakes or causing damage that’s costly to fix. At NexGen, our crews are fully trained, licensed, and equipped to install any type of air conditioner. To schedule AC installation in Southern California, receive a friendly estimate, or learn about financing, call (805) 301-6788 today.