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Old 12-16-2008, 09:04 PM   #1
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DIY Mini splits - Reality Check - What does it take?


My DH and I are considering doing the install on the first of several planned mini splits.

How DIY-able is this project? What brands are better for DIYers?

Here's my rough understanding of the scope of the project (other than grossly simplifying each step - I get that it is more complicated than stated):


1. pour a pad to install the outdoor unit;
2. get electricity to the outdoor unit;
3. run lines from outdoor unit to the location and through the wall;
4. install the interior unit;
5. connect lines

Am I missing something? Is a capable DIYer capable of this sort of installation - given the right tools and info?

I need credible arguments to present to DH because he is stressed about how much $$ the two pros we consulted wanted for the project. I'm a big believer in professionals - DH is not - so he wants to know what a Pro can do that he/we/I cannot.

One more question: What is it going to cost me in tools (rental or otherwise) to do this kind of install?

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Last edited by Leah Frances; 12-16-2008 at 09:06 PM. Reason: Just one more question
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:17 PM   #2
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DIY Mini splits - Reality Check - What does it take?


You need an EPA card to handle refrigerant, that and knowing how to read a compound gauge and measure subcooling and superheat to ensure the mini-spilts are working to specs.

But there are an abundance of opinions on how to do it. Maybe another poster can share his ideas also.

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Last edited by hvaclover; 12-17-2008 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:20 PM   #3
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DIY Mini splits - Reality Check - What does it take?


I get it - right. But umpteen-dozen websites out there sell 'DIY - minisplit' Kits. So DH thinks that we should do it and save ourselves the money.

The 'Violation of federal law' argument so-far is not flying with DH.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:24 PM   #4
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DIY Mini splits - Reality Check - What does it take?


Hvaclover is right, their is a lot more involved then it may seem. Bottom line is it will cost a lot more to have a tech install/repair after the fact.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:41 PM   #5
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DIY Mini splits - Reality Check - What does it take?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
I get it - right. But umpteen-dozen websites out there sell 'DIY - minisplit' Kits. So DH thinks that we should do it and save ourselves the money.

The 'Violation of federal law' argument so-far is not flying with DH.
Turn the DH into the DA for conspiracy to circumvent Federal Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol.

Feds always surf these type sites looking for violators.

Who knows? They could be reading this right now
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:09 PM   #6
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DIY Mini splits - Reality Check - What does it take?


what the heck is a mini split????,,,sounds like a local term,sure dont hear that here,,less your talking with a bannana on TOP
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:45 AM   #7
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DIY Mini splits - Reality Check - What does it take?


First, how many mini splits.

Would a single central system be possible. Might cost less then 4 or 5 mini's.

Companies that sell mini's over the internet for DIY, know that if you have any real problems. You'll just end up calling a tech to come and figure out what is wrong. But they got your money, so they don't care.

A DIY install of a mini is relatively easy.
R410A is not regulated as R22 is.
So its not a EPA violation.

What you get, when you pay a company to provide and install equipment. Is a labor warranty, and they will handle the part warranty also.

If you buy and install a unit yourself. no company owes you a labor warranty. Nor do they have to use or provide OEM parts for warranty.
If they do use OEM warranty parts, they still usually charge a handling fee. Some companies will charge 100 bucks for warranty paper work.

Yes, you can order your own warranty parts in. Then call the company back to install it if it requires more tech knowledge, or skill and or tools then you have. But they get to charge you another trip charge, plus the labor to install it.

If it never breaks down, none of this is a concern.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:50 AM   #8
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DIY Mini splits - Reality Check - What does it take?


When I built my house 12 years ago, I had 2 split systems. I installed the ductwork to the indoor units, and ran the refrigerant lines from the indoor units to the outdoor units (about 60').

Then I got quotes from a few HVAC guys to supply and install the indoor and outdoor units. The guy I chose was actually pretty happy that he didn't need to do the ductwork or run the refrigeration lines; all he had to do was set the units, sweat the lines to them, charge the system, test, and he was done.

Most of the labor is in installing the ducts, and running the lines, the only ducts he had to make were from the top of the indoor units to the already installed return duct.

I don't know how it is around your area, but around here, the quotes I got for from the HVAC guys for supplying and installing the units were actually less than the quotes I got for buying just the units myself. Garage doors are the same way.

Rob

P.S. The only things I've ever done to either of these units is change filters, and clean the outdoor units each year. Never the slightest problem in 12 years of use.

Last edited by micromind; 12-17-2008 at 10:53 AM. Reason: Added P.S.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:04 PM   #9
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DIY Mini splits - Reality Check - What does it take?


Quote:
Originally Posted by micromind View Post
When I built my house 12 years ago, I had 2 split systems. I installed the ductwork to the indoor units, and ran the refrigerant lines from the indoor units to the outdoor units (about 60').

Then I got quotes from a few HVAC guys to supply and install the indoor and outdoor units. The guy I chose was actually pretty happy that he didn't need to do the ductwork or run the refrigeration lines; all he had to do was set the units, sweat the lines to them, charge the system, test, and he was done.

Most of the labor is in installing the ducts, and running the lines, the only ducts he had to make were from the top of the indoor units to the already installed return duct.

I don't know how it is around your area, but around here, the quotes I got for from the HVAC guys for supplying and installing the units were actually less than the quotes I got for buying just the units myself. Garage doors are the same way.

Rob

P.S. The only things I've ever done to either of these units is change filters, and clean the outdoor units each year. Never the slightest problem in 12 years of use.
Yes, call back the two guys you got quotes from and maybe some others and say you'd like to do some of the work yourself under their supervision. I'm sure they won't mind you doing some of the ugly grunt work (running lines, the electrical run, footer pad, etc.), you'll get the same pro install and warranty without the high cost, and they get to do the glory work.


Last edited by dac122; 12-17-2008 at 12:06 PM.
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