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Old 07-09-2008, 09:39 AM   #1
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


Haha!!, before all you HVAC pros laugh at me, I am somewhat serious. I found a site www.wholesaleac.com and they claim that anyone can install. I'm going to put a 5 ton unit in my garage (you all helped me before with the size), but thought that if I am only going to put in an AC unit and no heat in my garage (i'm in Houston), then is it possible to do it by myself? Some of these units seem like they are a good price, however, I am not an AC guy.

So go easy on me, but also be serious? Can this and should this be done or should I just hire someone?

Thanks.

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Old 07-09-2008, 12:48 PM   #2
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


If it comes with pre-charged lines you can do it I am sure.

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Old 07-09-2008, 02:04 PM   #3
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


Specialized skills and tools to do a proper install make this a non-DIY project.
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Old 07-09-2008, 02:48 PM   #4
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


Over the expected life of your new unit the biggest single cost will be your utility bills. To simply install an off the shelf 5-ton AC unit is cheap in the short run but most likely going to be more expensive in the long run. My new unit with a variable speed fan has cut my utility bills by $100 a month with the same usage level and the house is more comfortable.

Professionals more often than not find installations with improperly sized systems or ducting and as a result there is less consistent temperatures from room to room, less humidity reduction, and higher electric bills.
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Old 07-09-2008, 03:10 PM   #5
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


Most of the units for sale on the net do not carry a manufactures warranty. Check the manufactures site for the unit you are looking at and they most likely have a disclaimer.

That being said this is NOT a DIY type of job. We go through years of training to be able to do this. I would hire it done.
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Old 07-09-2008, 03:15 PM   #6
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


to start off its illegal to sell refrigerent to anybody (even for there own house) to someone who is not epa universily licenced . they may get around that by not shipping the condensers with out any in them , but that leaves you with a problem. Second no manufacturer will warrantte a unit that is not profesionaly installed. Third allot of people think this is easy , to do it right is not just look at all the problems people have had on this site with systems that "pro's" installed. Third there are codes and if violated will be revealed if you ever sell the house. Fourth , well I guess im out of stuff but that should be enough.
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:21 PM   #7
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


Gonna try and take it "easy"....lol. How big is your garage? How did you come to the conclusion you need a 5 ton unit? Did anyone do a calculation or is it the bigger is better mentality? Do you own and know how to operate a vacuum pump? Do you own a micron gauge? Do you know what silfos is? What is the cfm of your air handler? What is the wet bulb in your existing space? Have you had enough? How about taking a step back and allowing people who are legally trained and can do a proper install to do their job? Otherwise, we will see you or your future home owner in this forum asking why in the heck their ac system has never worked properly and why it keeps icing up? Sorry....as gentle as I can get....Now I gotta run and meet the banker..I handle money every day but know enough to leave some of my money problems to the experts. Installs are the same.

Last edited by statman; 07-09-2008 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:17 PM   #8
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


I did just that!!! It was a disaster at first! My wife says lets get ac however I do not have the Money. Wife says payment plan and I say I will do it myself for only $2000.00. The problem started when I hired an ac designer that was a real moron and over-designed the system for a 1200 sq-ft house. He put a return in every bedroom and perimeter supplies around the whole house. Last summer I gave up on it because I kept on buying materials for this over designed system. Imagine telling your wife on a hot summer day that you have to put the ac on hold. This summer I finally finished and it works great!!! I simplified the system with the help of my ac cousin from Florida and used a main return. I must of put around 200 hours into this project spending my weekends and evenings in a hot attic. I used mail order and supply houses for parts. I had to hire an ac guy ($300.00) to perform the final hook up with the lineset. My brother is an engineer and he did all the electrical work. The major problem was becoming familiar with all the parts necessary to put a system together and how to assembe these parts. Even the supply house screwed me up by selling me a plenum that was suppose to be an exact fit but had to be modified. I did not save a dollar and had a lot of aggrivation in the process. The only good part is I feel like I made a big accomplishment and learned something new. Now that I finsihed the system I would install one again on my next house since I know what to do now. I think I missed my calling I should of been an ac guy instead of a shop teacher. If you install it yourself you should find a store that will design you the system and then specify every part for that system and then purchace everything at once. Or maybe just hire a trained professional. Good look!
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:47 PM   #9
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


Quote:
Originally Posted by statman View Post
Gonna try and take it "easy"....lol. How big is your garage? How did you come to the conclusion you need a 5 ton unit? Did anyone do a calculation or is it the bigger is better mentality? Do you own and know how to operate a vacuum pump? Do you own a micron gauge? Do you know what silfos is? What is the cfm of your air handler? What is the wet bulb in your existing space? Have you had enough? How about taking a step back and allowing people who are legally trained and can do a proper install to do their job? Otherwise, we will see you or your future home owner in this forum asking why in the heck their ac system has never worked properly and why it keeps icing up? Sorry....as gentle as I can get....Now I gotta run and meet the banker..I handle money every day but know enough to leave some of my money problems to the experts. Installs are the same.
Feel better? I find it interesting how some can convey their message well and others can't. Many got their message across to me with less words than you and it was much more friendly. Perhaps you should re-read my post again and you'll find out how I came to my conclusion on the size of unit I needed (some of the nice, friendly folks on here helped me in an earlier thread.) I must have a bigger is better mentality since my garage is 1800 sq/ft. Also, how is one supposed to get an answer without asking first? If you had asked me a question about flying, I cetainly wouldn't have answered you in the same "that's a stupid question" manner.

By the way, to everyone else, thanks for the replies. Very helpful and I will definately hire someone to do the job.
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:15 PM   #10
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


I had similar thoughts a few years ago and even went as far as buying a "Manual J" during my system sizing research (not cheap). I eventually came to the conclusion that the best use of my time (and $$$) was in researching contractors. I had had several not so confidence inspiring experiences with HVAC contractors and I had convinced myself that there aren't any good ones out there. Obviously, I was wrong but it took some time and effort to find the right one. Do enough homework to be able to ask some good questions i.e. How are you going to size my unit? They guys I went with said they would calculate it and he was the only contractor I talked to that knew what Manual J was (or any other for that matter). Ask for recommendations from other pros on boards like this. I'm skeptical about references, not because they don't tell the truth but rather, who really knows if they got a good HVAC job? I'll say I know more than most homeowners, but that's still not much!
This is our third summer with the AC unit and my choice in contractors was validated 2 weeks ago when they did the annual service. The tech accidently knocked the the coil drain loose on the unit while he was working (in the attic). A week later my wife notices bubbling paint, hmm.......
These guys were all over it!!! They never even hinted that I might have done it, they fixed the problem that day added an upgraded water sensor to the pan, added extra insulation to the air handler to reduce any condensation and sent a guy right out to fix the ceiling damage.

I'm always shocked that more businesses don't approach customer service this way. I just got an estimate from them to drop a duct down to my basement, I'll certainly renew my service contract and my father-in-law wants to sign up with them. I'd say they'll get a nice payback from what started out as a screw-up.

If anyone in the DC-VA-MD metro area want to know who the company is, please PM me.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:44 PM   #11
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


Yes, you can instal your AC yourself. I visited the site and really found it helpful and affordable. It would appear that if you give them the correct information, or better yet a print of your garage, they will send you everything you need.

As they clearly state, you must comply with local and state code requirements, and comply with federal E.P.A. standards. They also pass on any manufacturers warrantys. Good deal. Seriously.

If your also willing to invest in some tools, and allow yourself a learning curve, it will be one of the most rewarding and frustrating part time jobs you have ever had.

Pull your homeowners permit, hire a certified AC person to do the start up, and enjoy. If I can help in any way, look me up.

Good luck, looking forward to pics.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:24 PM   #12
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


Sorry if you took my message the wrong way..my point was that ac and refrigeration is a science, not a do it your self project.; Of course, there are electrical and other components that can be changed by diyers with a little help and which I am more than willing to provide. But as an experienced HVAC tech with over 20 years experience, I am also going to be very direct with anyone I feel is in over their heads on a project. And I do apologize if you were offended. You need tools to do the job and know how to use them...was just trying to save you alot of $$$$ in the long run. Cool?
One last thing.....I still have issues with a 5 ton ac unit for an 1800 sq ft space..didnt see the original post, but still sounds way overkill to me unless you live in the mohave desert. Of course, I'm just one of those idiot canadians who dont know what hot really is...lol. God luck on your job..hope it turns out.
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:17 AM   #13
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


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Originally Posted by 737Pilot View Post
Feel better? I find it interesting how some can convey their message well and others can't. Many got their message across to me with less words than you and it was much more friendly. Perhaps you should re-read my post again and you'll find out how I came to my conclusion on the size of unit I needed (some of the nice, friendly folks on here helped me in an earlier thread.) I must have a bigger is better mentality since my garage is 1800 sq/ft. Also, how is one supposed to get an answer without asking first? If you had asked me a question about flying, I cetainly wouldn't have answered you in the same "that's a stupid question" manner.

By the way, to everyone else, thanks for the replies. Very helpful and I will definately hire someone to do the job.
No one truly helped you correctly. I bet you never did a load calculation so you all ready started on the wrong foot. any one who suggested you need 5 tons cooling with out doing a load calculation was guessing at it from the other end of the computer with out knowing the structure. what info was provided? you have 4 walls and it is this big. if you wanta be a pro do it right from the begining. if you did in fact do a load calculation then disregard this email
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:25 AM   #14
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


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Originally Posted by 8 Ball View Post
Yes, you can instal your AC yourself. I visited the site and really found it helpful and affordable. It would appear that if you give them the correct information, or better yet a print of your garage, they will send you everything you need.

As they clearly state, you must comply with local and state code requirements, and comply with federal E.P.A. standards. They also pass on any manufacturers warrantys. Good deal. Seriously.

If your also willing to invest in some tools, and allow yourself a learning curve, it will be one of the most rewarding and frustrating part time jobs you have ever had.

Pull your homeowners permit, hire a certified AC person to do the start up, and enjoy. If I can help in any way, look me up.

Good luck, looking forward to pics.

They only say that they will pass on the manufactures warranty. If you go to the manufactures web site they will have a disclaimer on internet sold equipment saying that it will not be covered.
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:32 AM   #15
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Can a non-HVAC guy install an AC?


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No one truly helped you correctly. I bet you never did a load calculation so you all ready started on the wrong foot. any one who suggested you need 5 tons cooling with out doing a load calculation was guessing at it from the other end of the computer with out knowing the structure. what info was provided? you have 4 walls and it is this big. if you wanta be a pro do it right from the begining. if you did in fact do a load calculation then disregard this email
Well, I'm convinced that no one truely knows. I had two AC guys come out and one said 3.5 ton unit, the other said 5 ton unit. My garage is 30x 60 feet with 2 windows and 10' ceilings. Everyone says hire a pro, so I did, two of them and they both had different answers. So I came on here in an earlier thread and explaned that I only wanted to use the AC when I was working on cars in the garage, not running it all the time like a house. So most everone recommended a 5 ton since it would cool down much quicker. So 5 ton is the answer I got the most so that's what I figured I'd go with.

I read and hear 400 sq/ft per ton or 600 sq/ft per ton....So with that, that's a huge difference especially when you get into bigger square footages....So how the hell is a non AC guy supposed to get help correctly when every person gives a different answer??? Hell, even most AC websites are all different answers...so who am I supposed to believe???

Oh yeah, it's just gonna be an AC unit...no heat...have plenty of that since we're a quarter mile from the sun.

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