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How To Install A 220VAC Circuit For An Outdoor Air Conditioner - Part 2

Part 1

Step 6:

You now have to run the wires from the disconnect to the electrical load center. If the cable will run in an unfinished basement, through the floor joists or in a crawl space under a home you can use the basic cable. However, anywhere where the cable is in a location where it can be damaged it must be protected. I personally recommend that you run conduit from the disconnect switch to just inside your home. You can use rigid PVC conduit or the flexible conduit to an electrical junction box and from that point on to the load center.

Fasten the conduit to the wall in the same manner as you did for the flexible conduit that goes from the disconnect switch to the air conditioner condenser.

In areas where the cable is running in a crawl space or in floor joists the cable must mechanically secure using clamps or staples ever 36″ and within 12″ of any electrical box or the load center panel.

You must use proper cable connectors when the cable enters or leaves an electrical junction box or the load center.

Step 7:

You should now have cable and/or wires running from the air conditioner condenser to the air conditioner disconnect and from the air conditioner disconnect to the load center.

Turn the power OFF at the load center. This is accomplished by either turning OFF the main breaker or at a disconnect switch located between the utilities electrical meter and the load center.

Warning: Turning the main breaker to the OFF position does not remove all power from the load center. Power has been turned OFF to the individual circuit breakers, but there is still live power on the incoming lugs of the main breaker.

Remove the inner load center panel that covers the electrical connections to the circuit breakers.

Warning: When you have turned the power to the OFF position, ensure that there is no power at the breakers by using a volt meter.

Once you have verified that you that the power is OFF to all the circuit breakers you can proceed to Step 8.

double pole circuit breaker
Figure 5 - Double pole circuit breaker

Step 8:

You must install a double pole breaker, as shown in Figure 5, in the load center panel. Either a 30 or 45 amp depending on the electrical requirements of your air conditioner condenser.

A double pole circuit breaker takes up two vertical positions in the load center. If you have two horizontal positions available you can move one of the current circuit breakers in order to free up two vertical breaker positions.

Note: If you do not have two vacant breaker positions in your load center you will have to add a breaker sub-panel. Additional information on how to install a circuit breaker sub-panel. Do not install two wires on one circuit breaker in order to free up space!

Note: You must purchase a double pole circuit breaker that is designed to specifically operate in your load center. There is no standard mounting configuration for circuit breakers in load centers. A circuit breaker from manufacturer X, will not fit in a load center designed by manufacture Y.

Once you have installed the new double pole circuit breakers connect the load wires, one to each of the circuit breaker lugs.

Step 9:

Connect the ground wire to the ground bar or lug in the load center panel.

Step 10:

Replace the circuit breaker cover panel.

Note: You will have to remove the punch out locations on the panel to allow the new circuit breaker to come through the load center panel.

Note: Leave the new double pole circuit breaker in the OFF position and allow your air conditioner installation team to turn it to the ON position after they have done the balance of the air conditioning system installation.

Step 11:

Turn the main breaker or the main disconnect switch back to the ON position.

The installation is now complete.