DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler Replacement - HVAC - Page 3 - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > HVAC

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-07-2009, 10:52 AM   #31
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 291
Rewards Points: 250
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


I started this post 2.5 years ago and see it's still going strong.

I did end up installing a 4T split system (Rheem RPNE/RSHA) and did 100% of the work myself.

My out of pocket expenses were about $3000 - $3500 including supplies and specialized HVAC tools. At the time contractor quotes were $8000 - 12,000.

Here are my observations for what they're worth:
1. There is a lot of homework involved in DIY HVAC. (ex: Reading technical manuals backwards and forwards, studying EPA to get certified, practicing brazing technique, practicing sheet metal work, doing vacuum pull dry runs, learning how to use the specialized tools and equipment.) This was far more time consuming then the actual installation work. (as it should be if you're a DIYer)

2. HVAC is not well suited for general DIY. It would be tough for a typical homeowner/DIYer to becomes proficient in general HVAC. However it's feasable for some homeowners to become experts on their homes particular HVAC system.

3. There will be some surprises along the way. None were too tough to solve but don't assume it's a matter of "plug and play":

(ex) My new air handler was throwing a breaker - I thought I screwed up - It turned out the old breaker was weakened from the repeated throws on and off during installation.

(ex) I heard a loud hum from the air handler. It turned out to be harmonic resonance from the metal cover over the LV transformer that was solved by beefing up the cover. Once again I thought I screwed up something.

(ex) My HP wouldn't come on when I cycled power. It was a flakey defrost board.

(ex) The Rheem HP manual didn't say that the error codes showed that last known state and don't automatically toggle to normal after the 5 minute delay. That caused me some confusion.

4. I didn't solicit help from a contractor. I think it's best to either do this 100% solo or contract it all out. I don't think the "top shelf" pros will be eager to do co-op installs. You'll likely find "hacks" but who wants them touching your installation.

5. There generally is warranty support. The online supplier I used made good on a warranty claim. (Rheem RPNE Ranco defrost boards had a problem where they'd get confused if there was a power glitch and have to be reset by shorting the test pins). However warranty support is kind of a PIA. They'll send you new parts and bill you first. Once they receive the defective part they'll issue you credit.

I saved so much money that even if I have a future part warranty issue that's denied I can pay out of pocket and still be way, way ahead.

6. You can get anything you want online but it helps to be able to buy certain items from the local supply houses. Some of them are not eager to sell to homeowners. The EPA cards goes a long way to get your a COD account.

Summary:
My system has been running great for the past 2.5 yrs and I don't regret going the DIY route. I saved a bundle of money, learned alot, had fun doing it and performed an installation that I feel is far better then a pro rushing to complete a job.

However HVAC work can be unforging to errors and the devil is in the details. It's not "cookie cutter" work and there will be surprises/complications that you'll have to deal with and you likely won't have the luxury of experience to draw on. Preperation is far more time consuming then the actual work for a DIYer.

I'm trying to tell it like it is and going through this process gave me a lot of respect for the guys that do this stuff day in and day out. (laying on your back threading refrigeration lines thru a crawlspace is not exactly fun)

Advertisement


Last edited by hennyh; 07-07-2009 at 01:41 PM.
hennyh is offline  
Old 07-07-2009, 11:28 AM   #32
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 39
Rewards Points: 25
Thumbs up

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Way to go 'hennyh'. Good job !!!

Thanks for the followup post.
anku is offline  
Old 07-07-2009, 11:59 AM   #33
Member
 
Home Air Direct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Southern Illinois
Posts: 297
Rewards Points: 250
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Quote:
Originally Posted by anku View Post
Way to go 'hennyh'. Good job !!!

Thanks for the followup post.
Yep, that is great honest feedback. It is rare to get the follow-up.

Kudos to you for caring enough to pass this along.

You are exactly what a DIY'er needs to be. Interested and passionate.
__________________
Settle down! If you were that important, the city would give you lights and a siren for your car
Home Air Direct is offline  
Old 07-09-2009, 10:21 AM   #34
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1
Rewards Points: 10
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Hey Rusty maybe you can help me out.
I have a Trane 1200 XL outside unit that make a buzz sound when I help the fan it starts right up.
I want to trouble shoot the problem.

I shut down power and open the unit up saw a blinking light .
is there some sort of part that helps get the fan moving or is my problem the fan Motor.

I have most of the paper work mostly greek to me.
I can read meters for help.
I know this is a simple problem but need a little experenced help.


Can you help pin point me in the right direction.
chris salerno is offline  
Old 07-09-2009, 12:05 PM   #35
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Derby, KS
Posts: 45
Rewards Points: 25
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Quote:
Originally Posted by chris salerno View Post
Hey Rusty maybe you can help me out.
I have a Trane 1200 XL outside unit that make a buzz sound when I help the fan it starts right up.
I want to trouble shoot the problem.

I shut down power and open the unit up saw a blinking light .
is there some sort of part that helps get the fan moving or is my problem the fan Motor.

I have most of the paper work mostly greek to me.
I can read meters for help.
I know this is a simple problem but need a little experenced help.


Can you help pin point me in the right direction.

I'm a novice and feel guilty about taking a stab at this but, I believe the capacitor is what helps get the fan going.
Dave Carney is offline  
Old 07-09-2009, 12:43 PM   #36
Member
 
hvaclover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Suburbs of Detroit Mi
Posts: 3,704
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Quote:
Originally Posted by Home Air Direct View Post
Yep, that is great honest feedback. It is rare to get the follow-up.

Kudos to you for caring enough to pass this along.

You are exactly what a DIY'er needs to be. Interested and passionate.


Multimeter without fused leads explosion
__________________
Just slow, not stupid.
hvaclover is offline  
Old 07-09-2009, 01:39 PM   #37
Member
 
Home Air Direct's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Southern Illinois
Posts: 297
Rewards Points: 250
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Oh Come on Hvaclover, give him more credit than that. Henny is light years ahead of 99% of DIY'ers. Probably way ahead of the curve of most of what you guys call hacks too.
__________________
Settle down! If you were that important, the city would give you lights and a siren for your car
Home Air Direct is offline  
Old 07-09-2009, 04:05 PM   #38
HVAC / Plumbing
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,801
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Quote:
Originally Posted by hvaclover View Post


That's what I call letting the smoke out I didn't know your side job testing multi meters
kenmac is offline  
Old 07-09-2009, 04:36 PM   #39
Member
 
hvaclover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Suburbs of Detroit Mi
Posts: 3,704
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Quote:
Originally Posted by kenmac View Post
That's what I call letting the smoke out I didn't know your side job testing multi meters
no! I side line testing Fluke merters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9jpw...eature=related
__________________
Just slow, not stupid.

Last edited by hvaclover; 07-09-2009 at 04:49 PM.
hvaclover is offline  
Old 12-13-2009, 06:39 AM   #40
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1
Rewards Points: 10
Smile

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Hi Everyone:

I really like reading from the pros and diy. I like reading both sides. I don't have the knowledge or the time to diy my ac but I am getting some ideas from the comments.

My question, I am tight on money (like everyone else) and I know I need to replace my ac unit. I am in Central Florida so the ac is the most important part. I thought I would replace my inside unit this year and my outside unit next year. This way I can squeeze it through I think. Are there many negatives to this.

I really want to replace my inside unit because the filter system stinks and my tech, I am changing companies, says there is a leak but that was two years ago and my system is fine and has been checked at least once since then.

One thing I have been trying to do myself is clean my ac coils on my air handler. I had a company come out, which my wife had used for years and years, to clean the coils on the inside unit. I asked how much it would be and he told me $400. What the hell do I know and I said ok. He messed around for about 15 minutes while he was doing the regular service call and came back and told me it would be $600. Before he left he said it was hard to say it could be $800. That kind of BS is not right. They won't get any more of my money. Consumers should stand up and not be taken advantage of. There are lots of good honest people out there, I believe.
witsmanc is offline  
Old 02-07-2010, 07:56 AM   #41
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 8
Rewards Points: 10
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


I would like to share my input on the "professional". I am a DIY person and I installed my AC unit about 14 years ago. Purchased it, installed it, ran the copper lines, hooked up the electrical, and then called a tech to vacuum, release the charge from the condenser to the rest of the unit, and check the whole system. Been working fine since. I remember it was a very reasonable fee. What is a "professional" anyway? My experience is a professional is someone that has a business card or a name tag on his shirt, many times authorizing him to charge a rediculous fee to the unknowing consumer. Kinda like taking your car to the transmission shop for an oil change. Next thing you know, they say your whole transmission is shot and a new one is $5000. Too many industries take advantage of the unknowing public. A/C work is definately a good example. I had a wire inside the condensing unit (heat pump) arc to the copper tube and blow a hole in it. I was out of town so my wife called an A/C company. 45 minutes of actual work and $900 just to solder the hole and recharge the system. Is there anyway to actually justify this?? These "professionals" charge based on what the CAN get away with, not what they SHOULD charge. Needless to say, I will never use them again but they don't care. There are plenty of other non-suspecting consumers to prey on out there. I'm not saying that all "professionals" are rip off artists....maybe I am....but I believe a true "professional" would intelligently consider the fee charged based on SHOULD vs. COULD. We have all seen the replacement A/C systems for simple homes costing over $10,000. How can this possibly be justified. We know what the hardware costs. Even a "professional's" overhead does not justify these rediculous fees. I wish everyone would take a very hard look at what is really happening to our country. Folks ***** about the loss of mom and pop stores due to Walmart but they don't look at the gross over charging of these small stores. Same with some folks who ***** about the DIY. Bottom line, good old fashion American GREED is ruining our country. Back when an appple was traded for a tomatoe, the economy worked and thrived. Now, with so many middlemen, like investors who make money without producing anything, it takes a bushel of apples to be worth a tomatoe. Sooner or later, our economy will crash...gee, maybe it's now. As for the A/C "professional", I respect those who value our society and share/help those less fortunate or who are eager to learn and experience A/C work. As for those who feel they need to justify their rediculous fees, keep in mind, many guys like me successfully do your type of work with success. What does that say about your "profession"??? I did it and I'm a high school drop out with no further education. A/C work is NOT rocket science!! If you need proof, just look at most A/C techs. We all know they fall into the same catagory of plumbers, mechanics, loader operators, roofers, concrete finishers, landscapers, porta-potti sucker/cleaner technicians, etc. Now these are all respectable trades but they are not really "professional". Now, when you can perform miracles such as part oceans, repair brains, cure cancer, move objects with your mind, end all wars, etc., I'll have the great respect for you that you feel you deserve. I have respect for all who attempt to DIY, even when they don't succeed. Seems like this is the back bone of what makes America great.
jmgt150 is offline  
Old 02-07-2010, 09:28 AM   #42
An old Tradesmen
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: PA
Posts: 26,544
Rewards Points: 4,726
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgt150 View Post
A/C work is definately a good example. I had a wire inside the condensing unit (heat pump) arc to the copper tube and blow a hole in it. I was out of town so my wife called an A/C company. 45 minutes of actual work and $900 just to solder the hole and recharge the system. Is there anyway to actually justify this??
Your wife obviously called the wrong company.
The repair wasn't even done properly.

As for the 900 bucks. Once the problem was found, he should have informed her what the repair would cost, and then she should have had the option of saying no or yes.

A home owner can't be taken advantage of. Unless they let themselves.
So if she was taken advantage of, she left herself be taken advantage of.
beenthere is online now  
Old 02-07-2010, 10:23 AM   #43
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 8
Rewards Points: 10
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


So, let's see. Wife home with kids, I'm out of town, 95 degrees outside, technician says "no service fee, about $200 to fix leak, refrigerant at $100 lb.,
Yea, I see where we, typical homeowner consumers, should have done the math, based on our vast on depth knowledge of AC design, and made a better decision. Better yet, once he gave us a total, maybe we should have told him to take it back. Yea, your response is really reasonable...NOT!
jmgt150 is offline  
Old 02-07-2010, 10:33 AM   #44
An old Tradesmen
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: PA
Posts: 26,544
Rewards Points: 4,726
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgt150 View Post
So, let's see. Wife home with kids, I'm out of town, 95 degrees outside, technician says "no service fee, about $200 to fix leak, refrigerant at $100 lb.,
Yea, I see where we, typical homeowner consumers, should have done the math, based on our vast on depth knowledge of AC design, and made a better decision. Better yet, once he gave us a total, maybe we should have told him to take it back. Yea, your response is really reasonable...NOT!
LOL..

You just told us of your prowess at installing an A/C.
Apparently you didn't give your wife a number where to contact you at.

When I tell a customer a price per pound. They always ask how many pounds will it take? Guess your wife didn't care if it took 1 pound or 100 pounds. You should be angry at her.

And yes. Only those that allow themselves to be taken advantage of, can be taken advantage of.

Your complaining about HVAC techs/companies. When it is you and your wife that allowed this to happen.

Do you take your car to the repair shop, and just say fix it. And then complain about the bill.

Or do you ask for a price first.

Same thing applies to any repair. If you authorize it without asking for the total first. Its your fault if you are taken.
beenthere is online now  
Old 02-07-2010, 10:50 AM   #45
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 8
Rewards Points: 10
Default

DIY Heat Pump/Air Handler replacement


To answer your question about the car..my wife would, as many wives and older folks do. As for a phone number to contact me, she did call but I wouldn't know how many pounds it uses and the tag is hard to read from 200 miles. Keep in mind, I installed the system but this doesn't mean I'm an AC tech or "professional". It does however, mean I'm a DIY person. I think a true "professional" would have an obligation to watch out for those who are not well versed in his field, not just charge what they can get away with. I do agree that folks should be responsible for themselves but we have to be reasonable. If it was that easy, we wouldn't need government and everyone would be as smart as you.

Advertisement

jmgt150 is offline  
Closed Thread


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Getting a House..heatpump or no? DavidsCPU HVAC 10 02-07-2010 11:22 PM
Replacement pipe for hot water heat? Tmb9862 HVAC 18 01-12-2007 04:31 PM
Trane Heat Pump tstat replacement with Honeywell prog - wiring question sep23 HVAC 2 10-20-2006 10:10 PM
can't find old replacement parts, need Air Handler coils, junkyard? sammibah HVAC 2 07-02-2006 08:43 AM
Tax Credit: Buy new heat pump & handler now or 2006 toolmanwannabe HVAC 1 10-05-2005 12:41 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts