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Old 02-19-2012, 11:03 PM   #1
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


I live in a 3000 square ft house that has two 3 ton HVAC units that are over 20 years old. Recently one of them pretty much exploded from a gas leak, all the wiring and the main heating components got fried. The HVAC tech actually condemned it because of carbon monoxide and said it would'nt be worth fixing.

My other unit is functional but only barely. Half the time it blows cold air out when the heat is on plus Im sure its highly inefficient so id like to replace that one as well.

Ive had a few people come out and give me quotes on how much it would cost to replace the two 3 ton units. The best quote I had was for $6300, which I suppose isnt too bad considering that the quote before it was for $14,000, but I noticed that I could get the same units he'd be installing for about $2,000 dollars each from acwholesalers.com.
http://www.acwholesalers.com/Goodman...er_p/11173.htm

I wouldnt know how to install a new unit from scratch but this seems like I can unhook my old units and slide these new units back into their place since theyre the same size. I dont know though, im sure its probably more complicated than that but thats why Im here asking you guys. If you think its to too complicated, would it be worth ordering the two units from acwholesalers.com and then have someone come out and hook them up? It seems like I could get someone to hook everything up for less than $2,300, or $2,150~ since id need to install 2 rubber pads as well.

Thanks

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Old 02-19-2012, 11:13 PM   #2
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


Does the 6300 include taxes, permits, removal and disposal of old equipment, retrofitting as necessary, commissioning, and possibly some kind of warranty for a period of time?

If you don't know what you are doing and aren't licensed, don't have the necessary tools and equipment, that sounds to me like a pretty good deal. That being said, I don't know what your job looks like, where you are located and how much work would be involved.

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Old 02-20-2012, 12:16 AM   #3
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


Im located in rural South Carolina so prices arent as steep as they are in other areas. The job doesnt include any duct work or thermostat changes, its mainly just switching the 2 units out for 2 newer ones and putting the proper pads in. The $6300 includes everything, and I think he said its a 10 year warranty.

Im not licensed or experienced but thats never stopped me from doing other things around my house, Im only asking with these HVAC units because they're so expensive. The acwholesalers website also offers a 10 year parts warranty and includes instructions for installation but Ive heard the warranty is a hassle to deal with since you pretty much have to order the parts yourself rather than have a serviceman do it.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:08 AM   #4
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


When we decided to go from three window units, to a central a/c, I had my guy deliver the A-Coil, and outside condenser unit, then I did the electric and install of the A-Coil over the furnace, he did the lineset. It actually worked out, due to it cut down on the costs.

When I helped my father remove a old furnace and a/c, for an install, we left the ac & a-coil hooked up to the line set, but did everything else that we could, until his guy got there to do the freon purge. Having a private contractor compared to a company, cuts down on costs, when doing this stuff.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:36 AM   #5
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


Madix, I've done exactly what you want to do, but with new construction. I bought the equipment at the site you mentioned, and I installed everything except the lineset. I installed the ductwork and everything, based on the plan established for an identical duplex down the street which I had built years earlier.

I had an hvac guy come and connect the lineset and paid about $200. I had the disconnect there for them, the holes through the wall, the outside unit set on a slab, the thermostat set up, everything.

The lineset and the government are the only things keeping this project from being a diy project.

So go for it. I reckon I saved over $4000 on the two units and my ductwork is hung a lot better than some of the work I've paid for in the past.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:46 AM   #6
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


Madix I started a thread a few days ago on a similar topic where I received a very high quote of $8900 and then found the furnace and A/C equipment at
acwholesalers for about $3000.

So I questioned how much is a fair markup and or profit for a hvac guy to do the job.

Turned into a heated debate with all the hvac guys defending what I though was an excessive markup of over $5000.

The thread is here if you are interested:

Told this much square footage means this size furnace
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:15 AM   #7
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


Yes you can install your own unit if you can or know someone to braze the lineset and check the charge.

You need to do a manual J load calculation to properly size your equipment, select the correct systems, place the order, receive the equipment, inspect it, return it if damaged and then pull permits, install it, run/test it, get final inspection and you will have to pay/perform all labor because you will have a parts only warranty (if the company will honor the warranty for a DIY install).


Goodman warranty:
"Neither warranty applies to, and no warranty is offered by Goodman
on, any unit ordered over the Internet, by telephone or other
electronic means unless the dealer selling the unit over the Internet,
by telephone or other electronic means is also the installing contractor

for the unit."

The money you save is what it cost to have someone perform all the above steps and provide you a warranty. With that being said I am a DIY guy and I installed a York modulating funace and added a AC system in my house for $4300. I pulled permits, ran wiriing, poured a AC slab, modified my plenum, etc. I had a friend of a friend come over and braze the lineset and start-up the AC system. I had two damaged shipments I had to send the condeser back twice, actually used the furnace with a few dents in the case I pounded out and had to straighten fins on the evaporator. It took me 3 trips to the freight yard to get all my equipment. It is much less expensive to pick-up at the freight yard than "Home Delivery", if you have the means to haul all of the equipment.


I have had zero problems but I followed the instructions to the letter and I researched brands, and gatherered info for a year before I started the project. My existing system was still operating so I was not in a hurry-up situation.

Last edited by m_peterson6; 02-20-2012 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:12 AM   #8
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


They didn't offer me any option other than "free" shipment via Fed Ex. I had to see the Fed Ex delivery to believe it. I had three units I ordered at one time for three different houses.

It was very frustrating ordering from them because I was having the order shipped to an address other than my credit card address. It took hours and hours on the telephone and even conference calls with the credit card company.

I was aware that there is no warranty. I'm also aware that with any warranty or insurance, the first priority they have is to deny the claim, if you can get them to answer the telephone or be connected to someone other than "Peggy".

That commercial with "Peggy" is not far off...
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:03 PM   #9
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


I didnt think about the lineset when I considered my options, I'd need someone to come out and hook that up but how much would that cost for 2 units? If I estimate the price based cleveman's installation x2 that would add about $400 to the price. Another $3-400 for the pads and whatever else I need makes that $800 dollars, or $1,000 to be safe. The units are on sale today for 5% off which makes them $3,866 + $1,000= $4,866. His estimate of $6,300 means that ill be paying him about $1,434 for 1 day worth of work. Id also be getting a better warranty but im not sure if thats worth $1,400.

I understand that a lot of you guys depend on people like me to earn a living but I can't afford to just hire people to do everything I need done. I live in a 60 year old house that has major issues, if I hired professionals to fix everything up Id be $200,000 further in debt than I am now. HVAC technicians arent the only ones struggling, ill most likely need to sell this house when I lose my job (when congress cuts my job from the post office in 1-2 years).

Ive been electrocuted, I almost blew myself up, ive come close to cutting my fingers off, and ive slid off ladders and my roof. Its really not all that great to do everything yourself, especially when you're a clutz like me, but I have no other option.

I need to discuss the options with my family before I make any further decisions. If you can think of any other added costs associated with ordering the units myself It would certainly help.

Thank you evryone for responding.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:12 PM   #10
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Madix View Post
I
Ive been electrocuted, I almost blew myself up, ive come close to cutting my fingers off, and ive slid off ladders and my roof.
Nothing to be ashamed of. I wonder how many professional, licensed owner-operator guys would admit the same.

keep on trucking.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:25 PM   #11
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


There' at least a couple members on here that have done furnas installs themselves. It is possible if you follow the directions exactly and have the correct tools.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:41 PM   #12
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


Did you get all your questions answered?

I've gotten 3 systems from ACWholesalers. I ordered a Heat Pump for me, ordered my brother-in-law a furnace and AC, helped my friend order an AC unit.. In all three cases we hired a guy we found on craigslist to do the brazing, charging, setup, etc..

Yes you don't have a warranty, but even for warranty work, you need to hire people to do the labor.. The warranty issue wasn't really a problem for me..
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:56 PM   #13
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


I would be hesitant. You are looking at running the refrigerant piping, new drain pan, new condensate hook-ups, vacuum pumps, torches, adjusting refrigerant pressures, thermostats, and most importantly... warranty.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:06 PM   #14
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


Short answer.

If you have the mechanical skills, and the tools or access to the tools, yes, you can install your own system.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:08 PM   #15
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Can I install an HVAC unit myself?


Madix. You were not electrocuted. If you had been electrocuted. You wouldn't be alive to post here. You got shocked, not electrocuted.

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