What do you need to install an air conditioner

An air conditioner is a must-have when the heat of summer becomes too stifling and unbearable. What do you need to install an air conditioner, then?

There is actually a long list of tools that AC technicians use when installing an air conditioner. Read on below to get a good idea about the functions and purposes of these different tools.


This tool is used for poking holes in metal or wood or scoring the metal to mark the cut lines. 

Cordless or battery powered drill

A cordless drill is an important tool that allows HVAC installers to reach areas like awkward attic space or crawl space that corded drill cannot get to.

Caulking gun

A dripless caulking gun is used for sealing seams, plugging other openings, and doing ductwork.


Crimpers help form the crimped edge required for fitting directly to the un-crimpled part of another pipe. These can also act as metal cutters or wire strippers when needed.  

Electrical testers or multimeter

Electrical testers or multimeters are used for checking for electrical currents in all types of wiring and devices. This is crucial in preventing electrocution and pinpointing problem areas.

50-footer extension cord

A 50-footer extension cord can reach a good distance and is not that awkward to carry.

Folding bar

This is one of the simplest-looking tools required for installing an air conditioner that can come in handy when working with sheet metal.


This is a trusty classic tool that must be a part of any AC installation kit. It is best to carry one that is of lighter weight to lessen the burden on your part.   

Hand Seamers

Hand seamers must be kept handy when you work with sheet metal. This helps form straight seams at any angle you need and works better for the smaller bends compared to the folding bar.

Heavy duty staple gun

A heavy-duty staple is an essential tool if you need to tack up insulation or attach foil-covered cardboard panning or sheet metal to joists.

Hex head nut drivers

While there are AC units built with standard crews, there are some that have been put together using hex heads. A set of hex head nut drivers are required to install or repair such units. 


Most air conditioning units need leveling when being installed. Buy a magnetic level and place this on top of metal units to keep your hands free.

Pipe wrench

 Pipe wrenches are the most commonly used tip wrenches when it comes to installing an air conditioner. A pipe wrench is required whether you need to remove a pipe or attach one.


All HVAC installers must have a complete set of pliers. Some of the ones you will need include channel-lock, wire-stripping, and needle-nose pliers.

Reciprocating saw

An AC installer will have to cut through wood pieces, metal pipes, brick, wires, or even stray branches that may get in the way of your job when working outside. A reciprocating saw or Sawzall is a recommended tool to use for getting through all these materials.

Screw drivers

Screwdrivers are another must-have when installing an AC unit. Those that feature insulated handles can help prevent electric shock while working. Screwdrivers of different shapes and sizes are necessary for this job.

Step ladder

You will usually need to get to higher heights and to make it possible, you will need a four-foot step ladder. Fiberglass framed ladders are found to be more durable compared to wood ladders and are also safer than aluminum ladders when you work with electricity.

25-footer tape measure

Exact measurements are required when installing an air conditioner. A tape measure is necessary and you will need one with a length of 25 feet or more to ensure that you will be getting all the required exact lengths.

Tin snips

Regular scissors will never be enough when installing an air conditioner. Tin snips can get through the metal ductwork. Straight cutting, right cutting, and left cutting snips are among the options available.


Shears come in handy with those longer straight cuts that cannot be handled by tin snips. It is best to use a pair made of steel that comes with insulated handles.

Coil fin comb or fin straightener

This tiny tool straightens the bent fins on the air conditioner’s condensing unit. Bent compressor fins can restrict the airflow to the AC unit that may make it less efficient in doing its job.

Core removal tool

Valve cores can restrict the refrigerant flow by an extremely high percentage. Getting rid of these using a core removal tool will allow a faster evacuation process or recovery while making it possible to put the core back in position after the job is finished.

Manifold gauges

Analog or digital manifold gauges are used to test an air conditioning system and check for leaks. It is a useful contraption that also does evacuations and recharges.

Refrigerant recovery machine

The refrigerant recovery machine is not just useful as it is also required for safe recovery and proper disposal of the used refrigerant. The tools come in twin-cylinder and single-cylinder styles with different recovery times. 

Refrigerant scale

A reliable refrigerant scale is used to determine the amount of refrigerant for installing or recharging an air conditioner. The required model depends on the size and type of unit you are working on.

Tubing cutter

A tubing cutter is a tool specially made for installing an air conditioner that can cut the strong copper pipes that are used in Acc units. This can also be used for cutting other materials.

Vacuum pump

The air compressing vacuum pump can create a vacuum and get rid of any leftover water, air, or gas in the air conditioning unit.

Headlamps and flashlights

Good and reliable light sources are essential when working in dimly lit areas. Headlamps let you work with both hands-frees. 

Dry or wet vac

Although vacuums might not be a must-have tool for installing an air conditioner, these will help you clean up the mess once your job is completed.  

You may also like