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Old 08-17-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
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Choice of DIY AC?


Hi Guys,

Continuing web research makes me doubt my plan of installing Goodman equipment. I was interested in them mostly because of Alpine's very good and helpful website. But now I read complaints that the stuff doesn't last, or it works intermittantly, or..... yuck.

What's the class act in central AC? I don't need super high efficiency, or super fancy - just solid stuff that keeps working. Don't want to do all this work and install crap.

Another part of the equation is what information is available, and whether I can buy the equipment at all ( on a DIY basis ).

Thanks in advance for your suggestions,

- JerryK

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Old 08-17-2011, 08:16 PM   #2
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Choice of DIY AC?


I used alpine on my father inlaws heat pump and had someone do the charge.So far has been good .

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Old 08-17-2011, 08:43 PM   #3
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Brand is the least important part of the equation. The equipment is only going to be as good as the installation.
Goodman equipment is usually sold by lower-tier contractors to very price sensitive customers. (In non politically correct terms, hacks sell them to cheapskates)
The cheapskates did not want to pay for a good installation, by qualified personell. And then they don't ever have anyone perform maintenance on the system.
So after a few years they have a junked out system. The coils are filthy, compressor is damaged and all other kinds of problems result from neglect, and poor installation. The same can be said of a Trane, Carrier, Lennox etc., if not installed properly, and maintained.

Now that being said, the one unit I would stay away from is a York. In the last 12 months I have probably changed 20 compressors on unit less than one year old. That's a lot considering I don't get a lot of smaller unit calls. I don't think danfoss did a good job making a single phase compressor. (The scroll was their invention too).
But other wise, most brands are using copeland compressors and ge fan motors. Where the coils are made is anyones guess.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:34 PM   #4
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Brand is the least important part of the equation. The equipment is only going to be as good as the installation.
Goodman equipment is usually sold by lower-tier contractors to very price sensitive customers.
*** So a Goodman unit installed with care would be OK? There's also a guy back east selling Carrier R22 units. They're only 12 SEER, but I doubt I'd even notice the difference. I'd have to call the Building department and ask if a slightly lower-SEER unit would pass muster.


- JerryK
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:43 PM   #5
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Goodman is fine but don't buy the base el cheapo unit as with any other builders grade unit they are ALL noisy. The mid range and high end units are fine. The high end furnace with ECM motor is comparable to anybody"s unit. They joined with Amana a few yrs back and Amana has always been high end quality. Goodman w/o Amana quality and engineering now that's another story.

I guess you have to get one base unit for the dry R22 job. I would go up a standard or 2 for the other unit and furnace.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:46 PM   #6
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I've got a Gibson heat pump....I think it was installed by the original owners father...who's a carpenter. Had no problem whatsoever for 9 years.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:00 PM   #7
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Goodman is fine but don't buy the base el cheapo unit as with any other builders grade unit they are ALL noisy. The mid range and high end units are fine. The high end furnace with ECM motor is comparable to anybody"s unit. They joined with Amana a few yrs back and Amana has always been high end quality. Goodman w/o Amana quality and engineering now that's another story.

I guess you have to get one base unit for the dry R22 job. I would go up a standard or 2 for the other unit and furnace.
*** How about a Carrier 38TRA? Just comparing weights, the Goodman
GSC130301 has a shipping weight of 136 pounds - and the Carrier: 210 pounds. Thicker sheetmetal? Carrier quotes 68DBA noise - Goodman: doesn't say. One thing - I am having a hard time finding an installation manual for the Carrier.

- JerryK
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:25 PM   #8
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In 1986 I installed a Sears furnace and air conditioner kit replacing a 1940s gravity furnace. My father had installed a similar Sears furnace and air conditioner kit back in the '60s. The parts of the air conditioning loop were all delivered sealed and filled with Freon. The joints were designed so that as the nuts were tightened, daggers pierced the seals, opening the tubes. No charging was required. Took all summer to install the furnace and air conditioner and replace all the duct work in the house. Sold the house to in-laws so I know the system lasted over 20 years. That's what I know about DIY air conditioning.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:28 PM   #9
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These are the best LOL

American Standard
Lennox
Trane
Rheem
Carrier
York
Bryant
Rudd
Amana
GE
Goodman
Luxaire
Honeywell
Robertshaw
Unico
Spacepac
Tempstar
Whirlpool
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:34 PM   #10
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68 DB is pretty quiet, Installed a Carrier 25APA last week rated at 67 DB, beatiful machine for a mid tier unit. Installed a Carrier 25 HNA6 2 spd air to air heat pump yesterday rated at 70 DB. Another nice unit in the upper tier group. I don't think you could expect anything much quieter than 68 DB in any type of reasonable cost range.

As other posters have said, there are a lot of good manufacturers out there, just need to find the good contractor. Make sure you check out if you need to register your new product to get additional warranty above standard.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:55 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by jerryk1234 View Post
*** So a Goodman unit installed with care would be OK? There's also a guy back east selling Carrier R22 units. They're only 12 SEER, but I doubt I'd even notice the difference. I'd have to call the Building department and ask if a slightly lower-SEER unit would pass muster.


- JerryK
An r22 unit is not going to be the answer.
Say you do an outstanding job but in 7-8 years you develop a leak.We don't know but r22 could cost $75 a lb.Not worth it.
Plus I don't believe you can get an OK for 12 seer as 13 seer is minimum in most codes.
Before you buy any unit it would be worth your time to find out how warranties are handeled and if you could get the parts you need..
This question has nothing to do with profits,it has everything to do with liability.All manufacturers are scared to death of being sued if somebody gets hurt.
The story I keep hearing is that it is harder then heck to get parts if you are not a contractor and also its a big pain in the butt to get warrant parts over the internet even if you are a contractor.I also know that in most big scities that there is always a wholesale house that will help you out if you keep quiet so that any contractor that is there will not hear you.The deal there is that that contractor will be buying thousands of dollars of stuff and you are only going to buy maybe one hunred dollars every 3-4 years.Most contractors would say you should be their customer and the wholesale house shouldn't be in competition with them.
Anyway good luck.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:59 AM   #12
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An r22 unit is not going to be the answer.
Say you do an outstanding job but in 7-8 years you develop a leak.We don't know but r22 could cost $75 a lb.Not worth it.

*** There is an existing furnace in the attic with an evaporator. This is R22 equipment and I ain't changing it. So R22 it is. I was indeed worried about the future prospects for R22 but I have a simple solution - I'm going to buy a 30pound container and store it. That should be enough to last the entire life of the system.

Plus I don't believe you can get an OK for 12 seer as 13 seer is minimum in most codes.
*** I will ask the building department. We have a very mild marine climate here. I have already verified that they will NOT require a duct blast test. Very simple, if they won't OK the 12-SEER unit, I won't buy it.

[quote=REP;709965]Before you buy any unit it would be worth your time to find out how warranties are handeled and if you could get the parts you need..

I have already started buying stuff at the local HVAC shop. They're not well set up to do retail sales, but they don't complain. My first purchase was an EPA test, which I passed.

The EPA card seems to have a magic over and above its stated purpose of allowing you to buy refrigerant .

- JerryK
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:26 PM   #13
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Nothing wrong with Goodman units. In fact, the components inside most units are probably made by the same manufacturer, whether it's a Trane or a LuxAire or a Carrier or a Goodman, etc.

The main difference between most brands of condensing units and furnaces is the quality of the cabinets and the location of the parts. For instance, if you need to replace a reversing valve in a Goodman HP you have to take the coil out to get to the RV, to replace a reversing valve on a newer Trane HP all you have to do is take out two screws holding on one of the louvered side panels. Furnace cabinets are another major difference between manufacturers, which will be obvious the first time you try to reinstall an access panel on a Goodman.

As has already been pointed out, the biggest hurdle is the quality of the installation and the attention to detail. You can pay top dollar for the best unit made, but if the installer didn't purge the line-set when soldering or didn't use enough hangers or (on and on) the unit will haunt you for years. On the other hand you can buy the least expensive unit made and if the installation is top-notch the unit will perform trouble free for decades.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:48 PM   #14
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N

As has already been pointed out, the biggest hurdle is the quality of the installation and the attention to detail.
*** I may have to retrofit some "attention to detail" to the current installation. For example, the vent piping in the garage is single wall. I will probably want to upgrade to the B-vent stuff.

Also, when I peeked at the attic furnace, I did not see a compressor oil trap in the suction line. Maybe it was hiding - I did not actually enter
the attic. Or maybe I have to put one in.

I really hope the linesets have been well installed. If not, I dread the
thought of tearing the walls apart to install hangers. I think I would invest in a pair of those braided stainless steel hose vibration isolators.

- JerryK
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:15 PM   #15
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*** I may have to retrofit some "attention to detail" to the current installation. For example, the vent piping in the garage is single wall. I will probably want to upgrade to the B-vent stuff.

Also, when I peeked at the attic furnace, I did not see a compressor oil trap in the suction line. Maybe it was hiding - I did not actually enter
the attic. Or maybe I have to put one in. You don't need one. ONLY if the compressor/condensor is 10 ft or more ABOVE the coil and has to lift the oil. Yours will be below.

I really hope the linesets have been well installed. If not, I dread the
thought of tearing the walls apart to install hangers. I think I would invest in a pair of those braided stainless steel hose vibration isolators. Those are only used on commercial units with multiple cylinder larger Hp semi hermetic or larger compressors which vibrate. They are VERY expensive and I doubt if anybody uses them on resi. They are quite stiff and won't help you.

- JerryK

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