Who can buy a refrigerant: a comprehensive guide

Who can buy a refrigerant: a comprehensive guide

Refrigerants are essential substances used in various types of refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pump equipment. Because of their impact on the environment, some countries, notably the European Union, have introduced legal restrictions and formal requirements for their purchase and use. This article aims to dispel doubts about existing restrictions on the purchase of refrigerant, explains what a f gas certificate is, what types of certificates there are and what rights and obligations arise from them.

Image by pressfoto on Freepik

Who Can Install an Air Conditioner? Your Guide to Professional AC Installation Services

Wondering who can install an air conditioner? The answer is clear: certified HVAC technicians, electricians, or plumbers—each skilled in different aspects of the installation process.

The right choice of installer will make a significant difference to your satisfaction with the efficient operation of your air conditioning system, its longevity and your comfort. This guide will walk you through choosing the best professional without drowning you in jargon and helps you make an informed decision.

Key Takeaways

  • Air conditioner installations are performed by specialized professionals such as HVAC technicians, electricians, and plumbers, each offering different skills tailored to specific needs of various AC systems.

  • There are different types of AC systems - portable, split, and ducted, window - with unique installation requirements and costs significantly influenced by the AC unit type, installation site accessibility, and additional services.

  • Proper understanding of warranties and the importance of regular maintenance is crucial to ensure the optimal performance and longevity of the installed air conditioning system. It is important to remember the importance of regular maintenance. It is crucial to ensure optimum performance and longevity of the installed air conditioning system.

Choosing the Right Professional for Air Conditioner Installation

Installing an air conditioner isn’t a one-size-fits-all task. The type of air conditioning system you choose dictates the set of skills required. So, which professionals are best suited to install your air conditioner? They typically fall into three categories: HVAC technicians, electricians, and plumbers.

Understanding the specific role of each professional and their contribution to your air conditioning system installation is crucial. Let’s explore.

HVAC Technicians

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technicians are the specialists of the air conditioning world. They are trained in all aspects of HVAC systems, including air conditioning compressors, the AC refrigeration cycle, and ductwork, ensuring the installation of energy-efficient systems. Whether you’re looking to install a central AC unit, a mini-split system, or a portable AC unit, HVAC technicians have got you covered.

By considering the unique requirements of your building, they ensure the correct design and installation of a new air conditioning system, including the process of installing air conditioning systems.


While HVAC technicians handle the broader aspects of air conditioner installation, electricians are specialists in the power supply and control of air-conditioning systems. They handle the electrical wiring, ensuring that the air conditioning units are correctly powered and operate safely and efficiently.

Professional electricians who install air conditioners should possess a valid license, practical skills, and knowledge in installing, servicing, and maintaining refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. When choosing an electrician, you should verify their license, inquire about the number and qualifications of persons employed, the scope of their services, and the details of their service fees.


You might be wondering, what do plumbers have to do with air conditioner installation? Well, certain types of air conditioning systems, especially central air conditioning mini-split systems, require the expertise of a plumber for specific aspects of their installation. They handle the installation and connection of plumbing fixtures, pipes, and appliances to ensure proper functionality.

A proficient plumber should hold qualifications such as an NVQ Level 2 Diploma in plumbing and may also find it advantageous to undergo further training in refrigeration and air conditioning installation.

Types of Air Conditioning Systems and Their Installation Requirements

Your cooling needs, budget, and property structure determine the type of air conditioning system you choose. Portable units, split systems, and ducted systems are the three primary types of air conditioning systems, each carrying unique installation requirements.

However, the system’s type and size are only the beginning. Each system has its own installation requirements, which we will explore in the ensuing sections.

Portable Air Conditioning Units

Portable air conditioning units are the epitome of convenience. They are freestanding and do not require any installation, unlike wall mounted air conditioner systems. All you need to do is plug them into a power source, and you’re good to go! This makes them a perfect choice for immediate cooling needs in a variety of settings.

Split System Air Conditioners

If you’re looking for a more permanent and efficient cooling solution, split system air conditioners might be your best bet. These systems are made up of an indoor and an outdoor unit and require professional installation for optimal performance and safety. The outdoor unit houses the compressor, condenser, and cooling fan, while the indoor unit houses the main indoor air conditioning unit.

These units operate by thermodynamic process taking place between the indoor and outdoor units, connected by piping and electric cable.

Ducted Air Conditioning Systems

Ducted air conditioning systems are the are the most versatile systems in the world of air conditioning. They offer efficient, discreet cooling throughout a property but are more complex and expensive to install. They operate by using two units to carry out a refrigeration cycle, with conditioned air circulated and distributed through a network of ducts and vents.

The installation process for a ducted air conditioning system involves:

  1. Strategic planning for the system’s location

  2. Installation of the outdoor unit

  3. Connecting the indoor unit to multiple ducts

The typical cost for installing a ducted air conditioning system in a small home office or double bedroom would cost few thousand £.

Factors Affecting Air Conditioner Installation Costs

A variety of factors can cause the cost of air conditioner installation to fluctuate significantly. These include the unit’s type and size, the installation site’s location and accessibility, and any supplementary services required.

In the following subsections, we’ll explore these factors in depth and their impact on the overall cost of your air conditioner installation.

Unit Type and Size

The type and size of the air conditioning unit you choose will have a significant impact on the overall cost of installation.

Factors such as property size, number of rooms, and complexity of ductwork design also influence the cost.

Location and Accessibility

The location and accessibility of the installation site can also affect the cost of air conditioner installation. Some factors to consider include:

  • Challenging access areas may require more time or specialized equipment, leading to higher labor costs.

  • Logistical hurdles encountered by technicians, such as limited parking or difficult building access, can also increase costs.

  • Prevailing local labor rates can vary, so the cost of installation may be higher in certain areas.

All of these factors should be taken into account when determining the overall cost of air conditioner installation.

In challenging access locations, additional expenses may arise due to the requirement for specialized equipment and extended time and labor.

Additional Services

Sometimes, the cost of air conditioner installation can be influenced by additional services such as electrical work or ductwork modifications. For instance, the electrical work required for air conditioner installation may encompass using a 2.5mm2 conductor, fitting a new 240-volt circuit breaker, and establishing a direct connection of the power supply to the indoor units. Similarly, the complexity of the ductwork design, the quantity of supply and return vents needed, and the dimensions of the ductwork can affect the overall cost.

How to Find and Hire a Qualified Aircon Installer

With an understanding of the types of air conditioning units and their installation requirements, you’re ready to find and hire a qualified professional for professional aircon installation. Various methods can assist you in finding a reliable installer, including using online directories and reviews, asking for recommendations from friends and family, and requesting quotes to compare services.

Online Directories and Reviews

Online directories and reviews are a great starting point in your search for a qualified air conditioner installer.

Some of the popular online directories recommended for locating air conditioning installers include:

  • Yelp.com

  • ACCA

  • Air Conditioning Professionals

  • CI HVAC Beta

  • Directory AC

  • HVAC Find Local


  • Angie’s List

  • Better Business Bureau

  • Google My Business

  • HomeAdvisor

  • HVAC Industry Marketplace

Recommendations from Friends and Family

Personal recommendations from friends and family can provide valuable insight into the reliability and professionalism of potential trade installation services providers. They can share their direct experiences and satisfaction with the services provided, helping you make a trustworthy hiring decision.

A suggested air conditioner installer guarantees accurate HVAC system installation and maintenance, leading to a more durable unit with improved efficiency. It is crucial to conduct thorough research, read customer reviews, gather referrals, and remain vigilant against biased or fraudulent online reviews.

Requesting Quotes and Comparing Services

Requesting quotes from multiple installers allows you to:

  • Assess and compare different services and prices

  • Identify the most suitable option for your requirements

  • Receive the quotes in real-time

  • Facilitate efficient decision-making

It is advisable to request and compare three to four quotes for air conditioner installation. The air conditioner installation cost varies, typically falling within the range of £800 to £3,000, contingent upon the size and type of the system.

Preparing for Air Conditioner Installation

Before the arrival of the installation crew, you can take certain steps to prepare your home to install air conditioning, specifically for the new air conditioning system. This preparation involves clearing the installation area and communicating your expectations and requirements with your chosen installer.

Clearing the Installation Area

Clearing the installation area of furniture and obstructions can ensure a smooth and efficient installation process. You should remove any items that could impede the installation area, such as:

  • furniture

  • side tables

  • chairs

  • rugs

  • decorations

The recommended space needed for air conditioner installation is:

  • A minimum of 1 foot on all sides, including behind the unit

  • A minimum of 1.5 feet for the sides and an alcove or adjacent wall

  • 2 feet of space between the sides

Discussing Expectations and Requirements

Before the installation process begins, it’s important to discuss your expectations and requirements with the installer. Homeowners commonly expect to receive a cost estimation that aligns with the size and design of their home, and ensure that HVAC contractors possess the required permits.

Prior to installation, it is essential to consider the following factors:

  1. Determining the placement of the indoor and outdoor units

  2. Obtaining necessary permissions

  3. Selecting the appropriate size of the AC system

  4. Ensuring the adequacy of the existing ductwork.

Effective communication with your installer ensures a more informed and assured decision-making process.

Understanding Warranties and Maintenance

Upon successful installation of your air conditioner, comprehension of the associated warranties and maintenance required to maintain its optimal condition is vital. This includes your manufacturer’s warranty, your installer’s guarantee, and the importance of regular maintenance.

Manufacturer's Warranty

A manufacturer’s warranty typically covers the machine’s parts on behalf of the HVAC brand. In certain instances, the warranty may also encompass labor, although this may differ based on the manufacturer. The standard air conditioner manufacturer’s warranty is typically effective for a duration ranging from 3 to 10 years, and in some cases, it can extend up to 15 years for defective parts.

There are several types of warranties offered by air conditioner manufacturers, including basic manufacturer’s warranties, extended warranties, and parts and labor warranties. In order to submit a claim under the warranty, it is necessary to adhere to the manufacturer’s specified procedure.

Installer's Guarantee

An installer’s guarantee commonly encompasses a range of elements related to the installation, such as:

  • ensuring completion to the customer’s satisfaction

  • guaranteeing freedom from defects

  • facilitating the payment of outstanding monies directly to the supplier

The typical duration of an installer’s guarantee for air conditioner installation can vary, but it is generally around 3-7 years.

In the event that an installer fails to meet their guarantee, it could result in a breach of contract, potentially leading to the obligation to rectify or replace the substandard work at no cost.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance plays a critical role in preserving the efficiency and longevity of air conditioning units. Failure to perform necessary maintenance can result in reduced performance and higher energy usage.

It is recommended to perform regular maintenance on an air conditioner at least once per year, with the additional recommendation to schedule two annual service appointments.


Getting an air conditioner installed is more than just a purchase—it’s an investment in your comfort. From choosing the right professional and understanding the different types of air conditioning systems to preparing for the installation and understanding the warranties and maintenance required, there’s a lot to consider. We hope this comprehensive guide has equipped you with the knowledge you need to make the right decisions regarding your air conditioner installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone install an air conditioner?

It's best to let a registered professional handle the installation, as it requires specific training and licensing to work with refrigerants and electrical systems. Trying to do it without the necessary expertise and certifications can be challenging and risky.

Who is the person who installs air conditioners?

The person who installs air conditioners is typically called an air-con engineer, HVAC engineer, or refrigeration and air-conditioning installer. They work on air quality and cooling systems in various settings.

What are the different types of air conditioning systems?

The different types of air conditioning systems available for installation include portable units, split systems, and ducted systems. Consider these options based on your specific needs.

What factors affect the cost of air conditioner installation?

The cost of air conditioner installation is influenced by factors such as unit type and size, location and accessibility, and additional services required. These factors can impact the overall expense significantly.

Why is regular maintenance of an air conditioner important?

Regular maintenance of an air conditioner is crucial for its optimal performance and longevity, preventing costly repairs and breakdowns.