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Old 06-14-2009, 05:48 PM   #1
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How did you get your DIY AC system components?


I'm curious what most people did to get their HVAC systems who hang out on this forum. Where did you get your compressor/condenser and coils? What about all the other supplies?

I see that http://www.alpinehomeair.com/ offers kits and parts for order over the internet. Has anyone tried them?

What did you do, did you get all your parts locally from a contractor who was down with you doing the install yourself or did you get them online?

I'm really interested in doing it all myself and just having the contractor charge the system and give it the OK.

Should I call around locally? What do you typically ask people? Do you tell them right away that you want to do all the work yourself, you just want to get parts from them?

-Jeff

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Old 06-14-2009, 05:58 PM   #2
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How did you get your DIY AC system components?


As other Pro's on this site will tell you doing your own install should only be done by a pro. There are so many things to take into account. Let alone all the different tools and preinstall considerations, final set-up and passing inspection.

Buying online is not that hard but 99.9% of all manufacture warranties end when a homeowner installs.

Yes you may save money but all the pro's I know will walk away from a HVAC install where the HO wants to install and just have use do the set-up. When I am asked to do this type of work I doulble my rate. All liability. It is usually cheaper in the long run .

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Old 06-14-2009, 06:04 PM   #3
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How did you get your DIY AC system components?


I helped my Father inlaw do his Air handler and a/c ,we purchased from alpine and had good results from them . They have a lot of info available for reading if you are interested to give you a basic understanding of somethings.
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Old 06-14-2009, 06:30 PM   #4
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How did you get your DIY AC system components?


DIY is not for everyone. And getting professional help can be a struggle, but it can be done and it can be done successfully. Different pros have different views about the process, so be prepared to hear different points of view about what you are attempting.

First off, when a contractor is belligerent about your request, remember that this is your checkbook, and you have every right to do with its contents as you please.

If you call the larger high profile ad in your yellow pages, you will probably run immediately into resistance. Call the more generic contractors. Start the conversation by saying that you understand that many contractors are opposed to this type of transaction, and if they are, you respect their opinion. But tell them that if they are interested, you are MORE than willing to pay their going rate for a "Time & Material" installation. You will actually be surprised at how many will at least entertain the idea. I know that flies in the face of many pros here, and I have the last 12 months to prove it.

I own one of those sites that you can procure residential HVAC equipment from. In the past 12 months, I have supplied over 130 systems and accessories to folks in 22 different states. I know I am going to regret saying this (you know, luck reversal and all) but I only had one system that had a warranty issue, and that was a $12 transformer in a air handler, and we only had 1 system that the homeowner had any trouble finding professional installation assistance. But, I was able to call a few contractors in their area (Richmond, VA) and finally hired a contractor.

Now, with that being said, you need to be aware that when you take the route of savings by buying your own equipment, you also take on some risk that you would not otherwise have if you solicited a local to supply and install.

Good luck to you.
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:18 PM   #5
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How did you get your DIY AC system components?


If your going to DIY. Then be straight with the local contractors you call.

Also. You might want to call and find out which ones will come out and check your system, and harge it for you.

Some areas, that can be a diffilcult thing to find.

Now. Did you use a realiable load calc program. Not one of those goofy size by sq ft ones on the internet.

Do you have any back ground with duct work.
You local library will either have, or be able to get you the books you need.

PS: Most of us charge more to fix messed up systems.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:44 AM   #6
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How did you get your DIY AC system components?


Thanks for all the advice! I'm an electrical engineer and I'm pretty mechanically inclined. I feel more then confident doing the work myself and I watched the guy who installed my furnace do a shady job as he went through 4 packs of cigs in my garage.. I re-did much of the duct-work he did. No matter who I go with to do the labor for the full job, they can't ignore the clock and won't be as anal as I want, or am willing to pay for..
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:59 AM   #7
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How did you get your DIY AC system components?


Read up on proper sizing and design before you start this project.
You'll thank your self for it later.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:48 AM   #8
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How did you get your DIY AC system components?


Read every word Home Air posted and take it to heart. I especially like the "Time & Material" approach as that tells a pro you are not responsible for my mistakes. Many pros do this on the side on weekends and evening, so don't be afraid to ask friends and family. I would have the pro come by and do a quick visual check on your job to be sure you've not missed anything. Also, be sure to clarify what is your responsibility and theirs, and understand that some parts of the job such as final connection brazing is high risk for little reward.

It can be done. You can save yourself some money, get a high quality job to your liking you know well and understand.

Good luck.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:55 PM   #9
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How did you get your DIY AC system components?


I ordered some parts from homeairdirect(he posted a response as well) He was very helpful and I got the parts asap...
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:33 PM   #10
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How did you get your DIY AC system components?


Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Read up on proper sizing and design before you start this project.
You'll thank your self for it later.
That is good advice. My brother took a contractor's word for it, with no load calc, and his system is way to big for his needs. Cycles on on off constantly and his electric bill is nuts.

In my neck of the woods, even the guys who appear to be pros, with trucks and employees, don't want to be bothered doing the load calc.

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