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Old 01-23-2013, 06:50 PM   #1
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Questions regarding package AC installation.


so my brother has this small >1000 sq ft. condo here in Houston. its a 2 floor complex with all the hvac units on the roof.

he is in the preliminary stages of replacing his old beat up unit.
now... i understand that no two installs are identical, but i was curious as to what is involved in installing a typical package ac unit on a two story roof? is this something to be intimidated by? it seems that they should be fairly straightforward to install, the hardest part being assembling/ fabricating and properly flashing the ductwork that connects the unit to the existing duct work inside the condo.


and also, what one would expect to pay for a professional install of your typical 3 ton package ac with gas furnace.

hes only had one company out so far, and they left a quote for 5,400. this price including everything, crane rental, labor etc.
is this typical? its my understanding that that the 13 seer Goodman package Ac's(unit included in the quote) are floating around 2 grand give or take.

So that leaves about 3,000 for the install. there will be no new ducting, as far as i know they are just removing the old unit, and installing the new. there is no additional electrical or gas work to be done.

a cursory glance around the internets suggests an installed unit should cost anywhere form 1,500-2,000 in labor. however these examples mentioned nothing about involving a crane. is a crane rental a significant expense? enough to bring the labor to around 3000?

sounds high to me personally, but im basically clueless as to crane rental costs truck rentals... refrigerant costs etc etc.

anyway, thanks in advance for your input. please forgive me for asking what is probably an annoying set of questions. i haven't exactly been able to dig up a heap of information on this subject.

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Old 01-23-2013, 07:10 PM   #2
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Questions regarding package AC installation.


Crane lift and a adapter curb could easily be $1000

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:23 PM   #3
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Questions regarding package AC installation.


And it gets even worse if your locality wants a permit to tie up traffic when the crane gets there.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:33 PM   #4
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Questions regarding package AC installation.


true, im sure a permit has to be issued prior to setting up the crane.

nothing ive read however, states any other permits are required in my area for replacing an existing ac. i think there may be an inspection required for new duct work which might include the ac curb?... however i think this is for new construction.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:27 PM   #5
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Questions regarding package AC installation.


The contractor has to pay his bills! Around here, a good roof top install runs around the same price on up. You can find someone cheaper to do it but you usually also end up with a bad install.

When I do a roof top changeout, I dont use downshot pre made adjustable curbs, hacks around here use them because they require no measuring and they are cheap.
Custom fabricated metal is expensive and also adds to the price of a good install.
For a good install, you want a new disconnect, a new stand and a transition to fit the existing elbow on the roof. If the unit is currently mounted downshot, then a proper stand and transition needs to be made for that. They also need to assemble a new condensate drain line with a proper trap and if PVC, I prefer to paint it. Although not the norm for residential, I prefer to have the low voltage thermostat wire in a seperate 1/2" sealtite conduit, most contractors leave the stat wire exposed outdoors.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:43 PM   #6
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Questions regarding package AC installation.


There is mark up on the unit. You do want a labor warranty on it, don't you?

As above, a curb adapter, crane rental, permits(may need a permit to use a crane, plus one for installation of unit).

Get 2 more estimates.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:45 PM   #7
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Questions regarding package AC installation.


Unless he's going to DIY this job, the price of the unit alone means nothing. He's paying for the unit and the install as a package. Included in that package would also be knowledge and experience, and hopefully a warranty, too. If he doesn't like the price, call around and get some more quotes. But beware, just because the price is good doesn't mean the install will be.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:34 PM   #8
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Questions regarding package AC installation.


i love how you guys can dig out like 100 things i had never even considered. power disconnect, condensate, warranty on the labor, are all something i hadent thought of.

thanks alot for the input.

for the sake of probing all available options... am i wrong in assuming installing these is relatively straight forward? seems like one could hire a crane operator for the lift and simply have it placed on a prefab curb? granted as sammy pointed out they may be crummy.
im assuming at that point, one could hire an hvac company to charge it with refrigerant.

in this case however you have no one backing up the labor but you.
you would however still have the compressor warrantied for the 10 years Goodman offers?

seems a little absurd to pursue the diy rout... unless your time is worthless like mine.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:37 AM   #9
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Questions regarding package AC installation.


RTUs come pre charged from the factory. Units brought over the internet don't get a factory part warranty(read their warranty terms/conditions online). Most RTU swap outs are fairly easy, depends on the old unit. Curb adapters can be brought to match configuration of new to old.

Condo association may have min insurance requirements. So you need to find out how much insurance they may require you to have to do this.

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