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Old 07-25-2013, 06:44 PM   #1
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


I am a DIYer. I would like to put in a more efficient heat pump. My old one is about 15 years old. I am extremely handy. This does not seem like it would be too hard. I understand the importance of the proper size unit. Any helpful tips would be appreciated! Thx

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Old 07-25-2013, 07:08 PM   #2
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


i do not recommend trying it... i do however like you ambition...good luck


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Old 07-25-2013, 07:39 PM   #3
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


Do you have an HVAC license?
Just cracking the line and releasing the old Freon into the air is against the law.
Do you own a vacuum pump, a set of gauges, know what pressure to set it at?
A whole lot more to it then just switching out a unit like a water heater.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:26 PM   #4
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


Your point is well taken. I have acess to the proper gauges and equipment for this type of job. The one thing I do not have is the license. With that in mind, I think I will buy the unit and let the pros install it, thx for the advice,
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:27 AM   #5
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


I attempted to do this too....You may run unfortunatley into trouble even going that route as well! The higher end brands like Trane, Carrier, Lennox, etc have their dealer network "locked down" and won't sell bare equipment outright to an individual. You will be left buying low-end equipment like Goodman.

My idea was to buy the equipment, install all the ductwork, and then get a professional to come in and run the lineset, and hook up the natural gas...no dice! nobody would do it! So, my other thought was like yours, buy the equipment I wanted and have them do it from start to finish. Still no dice. Apparently, most dealers don't want to back up an installation on equipment they didn't sell themselves. Kind of lousy...I purchase car parts all the time, and get a mechanic to install them for me if I don't feel like doing the work, but I see where they are coming at. They don't want to be on the loosing end of a warranty quagmire.
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:55 AM   #6
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


Quote:
Originally Posted by av-geek View Post
I attempted to do this too....You may run unfortunatley into trouble even going that route as well! The higher end brands like Trane, Carrier, Lennox, etc have their dealer network "locked down" and won't sell bare equipment outright to an individual. You will be left buying low-end equipment like Goodman.

My idea was to buy the equipment, install all the ductwork, and then get a professional to come in and run the lineset, and hook up the natural gas...no dice! nobody would do it! So, my other thought was like yours, buy the equipment I wanted and have them do it from start to finish. Still no dice. Apparently, most dealers don't want to back up an installation on equipment they didn't sell themselves. Kind of lousy...I purchase car parts all the time, and get a mechanic to install them for me if I don't feel like doing the work, but I see where they are coming at. They don't want to be on the loosing end of a warranty quagmire.
Manufacturer pays for that (warrranty) if equip is initially installed correctly by a certified tech and turns out to be defective, right? What could be a warranty issue is you being the initial purchaser instead of the license installer? Thats why you would want to use them if you can to install your equipment. If they install correctly and no defects they get paid, move on and have a new client.

I believe the biggest 2 issues why it would be hard to find someone are: one, potential for mismatched size equipment for the job that you purchase and supply and 2, no profit made on the equipment which is part of their livelyhood and usual sale.

I would assume and hope that if you did find a license tech, certified by the equipment manufacturer to install the equioment ,that they would do it correctly and warrant their work..
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by av-geek View Post
I attempted to do this too....You may run unfortunatley into trouble even going that route as well! The higher end brands like Trane, Carrier, Lennox, etc have their dealer network "locked down" and won't sell bare equipment outright to an individual. You will be left buying low-end equipment like Goodman.
It isn't like auto parts where URO=crap. It is like auto parts in that no brand name guarantees top of the line (unless you install original equipment in your car).

Carrier, Lennox and even Trane have contractor grade equipment, mid grade equipment, and high end equipment. So does Goodman/Amana. Goodman doesn't yet have DC powered variable speed compressors like Carrier's Greenspeed, nor does Goodman have outdoor unit corrosion protection equal to Trane and Carrier's coastal models, but Goodman is mostly competitive.

Anybody who thinks their Goodman is crap got a crap installation, not crap equipment. Like the guy in this HVAC-talk thread.

Last edited by taxmantoo; 07-26-2013 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:05 AM   #8
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


If you buy online and pay an installing contractor to do the work, I don't see where the savings are.
If you pay more than the dealer pays for the equipment, and they do all the work, either they take a pay cut for a deal they don't really want to be involved in or you pay more money.
If the dealer who bought the equipment from the distributor isn't the installing contractor, no warranty for you.

Now, back to Nascar's situation.
Let us assume he buys the equipment and the line set, and his equipment matches the old closely enough that he can DIY the duct connections. Further, let us assume he uses the run time percentage of his current equipment on a hot July day and/or a good Manual J to appropriately downsize/rightsize the equipment.

He finds somebody to recover the R22 in exchange for the refrigerant. Could even be some hack he found on Craigslist. Now he can legally remove the old equipment.

He installs the new, runs the line set, etc, does everything but uncap the lines and fittings and braze it up. He then has a good tech come out for $60-100 an hour to cut and fit the line ends, purge with nitrogen, braze, pressure test, vacuum, release the R410a, start the system and adjust subcool/superheat. Obviously, he needs to hire the tech, and maybe find a backup tech in case the first one backs out, before he orders the equipment.

In my case, there was a $2k difference between installed and internet pricing of contractor grade Goodman equipment, and the prevailing labor rates are about $80 an hour for somebody who actually brazes with nitrogen and not in open air, so I've got potential savings great enough to offset the loss of warranty.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


What amazes me is there are some who reply to these postings really offended. Most people are trying to save a few bucks for their family. I appreciate all the responses I get back, good or bad. I am not offended by the brutally honest people either. Thanks for all the suggestions. I will definitely use a qualified contractor. As for buying the unit myself or not, I have not decided. I still think there are plenty of qualified people happy to make 70-90$ an hour for a labor rate.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:32 PM   #10
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


Quote:
Originally Posted by av-geek View Post
I attempted to do this too....You may run unfortunatley into trouble even going that route as well! The higher end brands like Trane, Carrier, Lennox, etc have their dealer network "locked down" and won't sell bare equipment outright to an individual. You will be left buying low-end equipment like Goodman.

My idea was to buy the equipment, install all the ductwork, and then get a professional to come in and run the lineset, and hook up the natural gas...no dice! nobody would do it! So, my other thought was like yours, buy the equipment I wanted and have them do it from start to finish. Still no dice. Apparently, most dealers don't want to back up an installation on equipment they didn't sell themselves. Kind of lousy...I purchase car parts all the time, and get a mechanic to install them for me if I don't feel like doing the work, but I see where they are coming at. They don't want to be on the loosing end of a warranty quagmire.
Maybe craigs list. Not Professional companies.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:08 PM   #11
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


Wow I would hate to insult someone with 90$ an hour.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:13 AM   #12
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


If you were installing straight A/C I would say go ahead and try it DIY with caution. A heat pump is a more technical piece of equipment that needs many more wires and controls and procedures during installation.
I know, I know people you talk to will say it's just a glorified A/C go ahead and do it. Not really, it takes an A/C mechanic many years of schools and OJT to install and service heat pumps and to be certified by the manufactures. Good Luck what ever you do.

PS: Purchasing your own equipment is a mistake.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:20 AM   #13
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Thanks for the response. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:13 AM   #14
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Maybe craigs list. Not Professional companies.
I know somebody who rehabs houses and flips them. The work he subcontracts (plumbing and HVAC) he hires off CL, I think he only uses licensed techs. The work he does himself (everything else) is done to a very high standard. I've wondered about the HVAC, but it looks OK to my eyes.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:22 AM   #15
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Change out outdated outdoor heat pump


Quote:
Originally Posted by nascartallyred View Post
What amazes me is there are some who reply to these postings really offended. Most people are trying to save a few bucks for their family. I appreciate all the responses I get back, good or bad. I am not offended by the brutally honest people either. Thanks for all the suggestions. I will definitely use a qualified contractor. As for buying the unit myself or not, I have not decided. I still think there are plenty of qualified people happy to make 70-90$ an hour for a labor rate.
And there are plenty of unqualified people happy to make that too.

My actual labor rate is higher than that. You have to understand the business of HVAC to survive as a viable company.

My labor rate would be lower....if you brought your stuff to my location. However, since this is all custom work integrated into your home, I have to come to you with parts and tools and licenses and insurance in a truck that doesn't get that good of gas mileage to carry all that stuff.

Manufacturer's warranty? All they do is hand you a part.....after you take the old one off, take it to a distributor, fill out a mile of paperwork and hope to get your money back.....all of this takes TIME and Mileage and figures into the hourly rate.

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