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Old 12-19-2006, 04:42 PM   #1
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First off, after reading through many of these posts I am most impressed with the pros that take time and effort to post. Thanks.

I have bought a much older home (150+) that the previous owner went to all thr trouble of installing dual unit HVAC units (up and down stairs), running all of the duct work, etc. but did not install the compressors, presumably to save money. The heating aspect works very well, dual zone thermos work fine, and gthe coils have been installed with all lines capped off.

So now I want to have the compressors added on to the system. I expect I will need pros to do portions of the work, but expect that I can do much of it myself, being fairly handy so far.

I have been looking around the web for resources that would walk me through what needs to be done so that I can decide for myself (e.g. I can probably pour the pad and may be able to run the copper, but may want a pro to do final hookups).

I searched on the forums here to no avail. Can anyone please direct me to either a website, books, etc. that might be able to give me instructions on installing a Compressor so that I can make some informed decisions?

All help appreciated. Thanks.


PS happy to post pics in progress if I helpful to others.

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Old 12-19-2006, 05:21 PM   #2
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Most licenced installers will not "finish" the job. While you may be able to install the pad, they are real leerie of taking a chance on any work you have done. Besides being a money issue, refrigerant copper comes as a dried and sealed package so once you uncap it to install it, it can become contaminated. Many States also require licensing for making the joints. You can't blame an installer for not wanting to warranty any work you may have done. I am sure you realize that freon installation is by licenced people only. Laws regarding HVAC are real strict and carry heavy fines when ignored or broken. Many DIY websites don't even allow posts about installation of Air Conditioning systems. I can appreciate your wanting to do at least part of the work yourself but I think you will have a hard time finding an installer to finish it up. Good luck.

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Last edited by majakdragon; 12-19-2006 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 12-19-2006, 05:59 PM   #3
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I have 22 years under my belt, and I know the value of work............but ide rather sit at home them finish something you started. The simple reason is that when s t starts going wrong the first person you will run to looking for answers is me! If you do find someone who is willing to do what you are asking about, chances are you dont WANT them doing it, they are taking the work coz they are scrapeing the bottom of the barrel and will do ANYTHING for a buck.

Find a licensed dealer (go with Lennox if you want high quality) and let him pull the permits and stand behind the work. I am sure you realize that the evaporators may be from the old era when 10 seer was standard............now we are into the 13 seer era and the evap coils may also need updating as well. If you dont you will most likely have a "no warrentys" job.
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:12 PM   #4
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installing your own equipment is not a crime.as most "contractors" would like you to think.you can do most of the work yourself and have a contracter due the start up.first of you should get the model and serial numbers for the coils you have.this will tell you what seer you need and i could give you more info from there.
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Old 12-19-2006, 10:08 PM   #5
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The first thing you need to do is find the numbers on your coil. You'll need to see what seer rating they have and match a condensing unit to the coil to get the most efficency out of it. If you have a 10 seer coil with a 13 seer condensing unit (minimum federal standard), your going to have problems from the get go. You might need to replace the coils even thought you already have coils that have never been used. As far as piping it yourself, you should have no problem doing it. If your told you can't do it because it's refrigerant piping, that's a load of crap. Until you crack the king valves on the condensing unit and add refrigerant, you are welding nothing but regular copper pipe. Do know that once refrigerant is charged in the system, you will no longer be able to do any repairs without having an EPA refrigerant license. Make sure you buy ACR copper pipe and remove the plugs BEFORE you weld it....lol. Also make sure you use 15% solder from any HVAC supplier. DO NOT use flux and soft solder as you will contaminate the system. When it's time to start it up, call an HVAC company. But let them know what you want and you WILL sign paperwork that says they have no responsibility or warranty on your system. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask!!
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Old 12-20-2006, 06:04 AM   #6
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[quote=sloooo;27479] DO NOT use flux and soft solder as you will contaminate the system. quote]

I have used this method for 22 years, as far as I know not a single system has been contaminated.

Before he lifts a single finger to do his own work, he better check with the local codes as many DO NOT ALLOW the home owner to run pipeing or handle equiptment that contains refridgerant UNLESS that said homeowner is EPA certified.
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Old 12-20-2006, 09:22 AM   #7
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I expected a few pros to say don't do it yourself, and I accept that there are many things I either can't do by law or wouldn't want to do even if I could.

When I moved in all the copper had already been run (remember: old house means complicated runs through stone walls. no nice 2x4s and sheetrock for me). A not so nice contractor doing other work relieved me of all the copper tubing. I have checked the coils and they are 13SEER releatively recent (5yr old better quality) with capped lines.

The estimates I have gotten have all been for $5-10k. I expect a lot of that is paying top dollar for good (expensive) HVAC contractors to fight through tubing runs.

So, I am mostly looking to understand what the work required is so that I can make some good decisions about how/where to contract the work out.

Any ideas on resources?

PS: AceFurnaceFixer, I am in Chester co. PA. Looking for the codes now, but this house is a compliance nightmare anyway.

Last edited by askme233; 12-20-2006 at 10:01 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 12-20-2006, 11:25 AM   #8
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If you want to learn more then here are some recommedations. (I read this forums rules and don't see any limitation on posting links to other sites):

www.alpinehomeair.com (this site has some good info in the tabs called learn more and instructions and brochures. Most of the technical info. is for Goodman but some of the same general installation concepts can be similar for other brands)

Get a book called Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.

If you're thinking of any DIY involving refrigerants then you'll need to become EPA 608 certified for Type II devices. Here's the study guide:
https://www.americantrainco.com/imag...StudyGuide.pdf

Do a google search for other HVAC forums. There are at least 4 but this one is the most DIY friendly as long as you have specific questions.

For your project the challenge will be matching coil, condensor and lineset. Most HVAC is rather forgiving to mix and match scenarios.

I see no reason why a contractors would let you do a few simple sweat equity tasks like pouring or placing a pad and possible running a lineset as long as they provide the components. You'll likely have more problems if you buy the HP's online and expect a full service contractor to do the final installation and checkout.

HVAC can be rather unforgiving to DIY because of the breadth of knowledge required. There are tons of variables and the devil is in the details. However some DIY's can be successful at becomming experts in their own homes HVAC systems. There's nothing that guarantees a contractor will do a better job then a DIY'er. (it depend on the professionalism of the contractor and the apptitude and amount of time the DIY'er plans to invest in the project).

Last edited by hennyh; 12-20-2006 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 12-20-2006, 12:52 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info.

I have lurked on a few other HVAC forums and saw either very limited involvement or clearly devoted to folks in the trade that would not appreciate the questions.

The Alpine site had very good step by step stuff. I won't do the refrigerant work myself as I have neither the right tools interest to learn (including interest in errror), but knowing the whole process will allow me to have a better conversation with the HVAC contractors (ad after looking at some of the material, the electrical contrcator).

My biggest worry is that I need a permit, and thus an inspector. As I mentioned earlier, this house is a compliance nightmare.

Thanks for the feedback pro and con.
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Old 12-20-2006, 04:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by askme233 View Post
I expected a few pros to say don't do it yourself, and I accept that there are many things I either can't do by law or wouldn't want to do even if I could.

When I moved in all the copper had already been run (remember: old house means complicated runs through stone walls. no nice 2x4s and sheetrock for me). A not so nice contractor doing other work relieved me of all the copper tubing. I have checked the coils and they are 13SEER releatively recent (5yr old better quality) with capped lines.

The estimates I have gotten have all been for $5-10k. I expect a lot of that is paying top dollar for good (expensive) HVAC contractors to fight through tubing runs.

So, I am mostly looking to understand what the work required is so that I can make some good decisions about how/where to contract the work out.

Any ideas on resources?

PS: AceFurnaceFixer, I am in Chester co. PA. Looking for the codes now, but this house is a compliance nightmare anyway.

Your local city hall is the best place to start. Find out what you leagly can and can not do. Then hire a contractor as a consultant.
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Old 12-26-2006, 03:16 PM   #11
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Hi askme233

I was just reading this, wanted to put my two cents in. Some of the stuff I actually read here is pure bull butter. You do not want to use soft solder of any sort unless you are doing water lines. The new refrigerants will blow the lines apart in a short length of time due to the increased pressure and pulsation. Now that we have that part out of the way. There is nothing what so ever in the EPA section 608 that states that a home owner cannot do his own work. However you do have to be licensed to LEGALY purchase or handle refrigerant. You are not supposed to be able to buy anything that is not self contained or has a greater amount of refrigerant than five pounds. Somehow the manufacturers have found a loophole. Most of the responses you have are right. However there are those that are talking out there backsides. Most companys will not assume any liability or responsibility for self installed equipment. If you understand and are willing to take the chance. Do the necessary research and go for it.

Good luck
Rusty

Last edited by #CARRIERMAN; 12-26-2006 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 12-26-2006, 03:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by #CARRIERMAN View Post
Hi askme233

I was just reading this, wanted to put my two cents in. Some of the stuff I actually read here is pure bull butter. You do not want to use soft solder of any sort unless you are doing water lines. The new refrigerants will blow the lines apart in a short length of time due to the increased pressure and pulsation. Now that we have that part out of the way. There is nothing what so ever in the EPA section 608 that states that a home owner cannot do his own work. However you do have to be licensed to LEGALY purchase refrigerant. You are not supposed to be able to buy anything that is not self contained or has a greater amount of refrigerant than five pounds. Somehow the manufacturers have found a loophole. Most of the responses you have are right. However there are those that are talking out there backsides. Most companys will not assume any liability or responsibility for self installed equipment. If you understand and are willing to take the chance. Do the necessary research and go for it.

Good luck
Rusty

Well again rusty speaks with out knowing what he speaks about. ......in my reasearch I have found rock solid documentation that stay brite 15 (soft soldier) has a tinsel strength of 100 times the amount of pressure exrerted by R-410A on a very hot day with a dirty coil (14,000 to 15,000 psig) in fact the copper pipe will rupture before the joint does.So what ever "bull butter" is (look rusty, we aint in Kanasas anymore) it probally ok to use it for soldier.

If you cant buy anything thats "self contained" how the hell do they sell 6 million window airconditioners every summer? here is the actual link to sec 608 http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/608/608fact.html and i strongly suggest that you read and understand EVERY word of it before you go forward.
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Old 12-26-2006, 04:12 PM   #13
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ace ,people who live in stone houses shouldnt throw stones.people come here for advice not atittude.
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Old 12-26-2006, 05:10 PM   #14
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I agree........rustys advise has proven to be far less then "rock solid"...........thats why there is a disclaimer at the top of the fourm.


PS .........I do not live in a glass house.............my methods are well proven over 22 years.
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:45 PM   #15
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I think you guys are confused and/or saying the same thing. Stay Brite is not soft solder nor is there such a thing as Stay Brite 15.

Stay Brite is a silver solder with the silver percentage about 3-4%. Stay Brite 8 has 8% silver and is probably the preferred solder for HVAC if you want to avoid brazing.

The other common method is brazing with a Sil/Phos 15 brazing rod.

Rusty is correct in that you should not use soft solder (like plumbers 50/50) in HVAC.

The reason I know this is because I've read every post and article I could find on best known practices for lineset connections and from everything I've read there doesn't seem to be an overwhelming reason to avoid Stay Brite. For my system I think I'll go with brazing and Sil Phos 15. I've read it's a little easier to do as long as the lines have a low flow of Nitrogen to avoid scale and oxidation.

P.S. I'm still not sure on the best brazing setup for 3/8 and 1-1/8 linesets. I'm leaning towards a oxy/acet and a #2 tip since I already have the welding setup. However others say to go with a Turbo Torch w/#4 tip and MAPP gas.


Last edited by hennyh; 12-26-2006 at 07:17 PM.
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