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Can you add air conditioning to an existing circuit?

Published by Lee Kelly on 21 February 2020

Whether in a commercial or residential space, it is nice to be able to exercise a bit of control over the climate. In our homes, we want to feel comfortable, relaxed, and able to unwind. In shops or businesses, we want to make sure that our teams are able to work at their full capacity, or that customers and visitors feel welcome in the environment – two elements that require a steady climate.

But, what happens when your needs change? What happens when you need to expand your heating or cooling system? Can you just add an air conditioning unit to an existing circuit?

The simple answer is yes, you can, or at least in some cases. Let's take a look at this in a bit more detail.

Critical Power Supplies - Air conditioning installation

Adding an air conditioning unit to an existing electrical circuit

Adding an air conditioning unit to an existing electrical circuit can be simple, or it can be tricky. This depends on the amperage. If the amperage is less than seven amps or is under half of the existing circuit size, there should be no problem with simply plugging the unit into the existing circuit and running it from a mains outlet for portable air conditioning units.  For Permanent Air conditioning installations a fused spur is required.

It is important to note this may not always be the case. Other factors include the age of the property and the infrastructure, the number of circuits there are already in the space, and how many of the existing outlets are already in use together with changes in Electrical installations legislation and best practice.

If you find that you need a new circuit before you can add your air conditioning unit, there are other considerations you need to take into account as well.

First, you need to check the location of the electrical panel. This will dictate where the air conditioning unit can or should be installed and whether the air flow into the room is optimised for maximum cooling.

Next, you need to assess the available capacity of the electrical distribution board. Overloading the distribution board can be dangerous with instances of nuisance tripping and potentially expensive, either for your business or your time correcting issues.

In order to install the new circuit, the approved electrician will need to gain access to the distribution board and cabling routes. This must be considered when you are thinking of adding a new circuit to accommodate a new air conditioning unit and whether a new replacement distribution board with the future expansion is a good idea rather than just a new circuit.

REMEMBER: Only a qualified electrician should carry out any electrical repairs, maintenance, or monitoring on your property. Electricians need to be registered to the NICEIC or ECA and hold the latest qualifications, using sub standard materials or installation practices or non registered contactors can worst case invalidate your building insurance y or even cause an electrical fire.

Critical Power Supplies - Air conditioning being filled

Adding an air conditioning unit to an existing AC system

If you are already benefiting from an air conditioning system, and you simply want to scale the system up to accommodate more unit/’s or to cover a larger space, the solution tends to be straight forward depending on the legacy AC units installed. This is because you already have the infrastructure in place to accommodate the unit, making installation easier.

Ductwork, piping and other infrastructure can be tricky and time-consuming to install when we think of routes to the new air handling unit for fitting, maintaining or the aesthetics. If the systems are already there and waiting to be deployed, you should not experience these problems, and your business or residential property should experience minimal downtime and disruption during the process but there still be some downtime. Consideration for installation disturbance or work outside hours or even at the weekends.

It is still important to get the space assessed by a qualified electrician and air conditioning company, however,  they will be able to advise you on the installation work, as well as on any other concerns or questions you may have. Critical Power Supplies is a single point of call for your air conditioning and power requirements.

Using a split system for an air conditioning unit

Several Daikin air conditioning units, you can connect multiple indoor air conditioning units on one system. With the ability to add up to 5 devices, this leaves you with the flexibility and future expansion at a reasonable cost. Split air conditioning also is a ductless system meaning you don’t have to run ducts through the building and instead you would use smaller pipes.

There are usually three things that can happen with split air conditioning systems if not installed properly:

  • The system won’t be heating or cooling at the actual capacity of the unit.
  • Inefficiencies in this system, you will experience an increased cost in energy bills.
  • If the units aren’t working the way intended, then your AC system will have a decreased life span due to stress put on the system.

By using a certified professional, you can rest easy that you’re in the right hands.

Want to learn more about adding an air conditioning unit to the electrical circuits in your space? Get in touch with our team today on 0808 164 0608 or drop them an email here.