can I replace the furnace and ac myself?

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I would like to replace my 20 years old furnace and cnetrol ac. I am fairly handy. I work on the car a lot. I have all the AC tools (vacuum pmup, charging manifold etc.) for cars. It does not seem to be hard. Anyone one done it before?
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I did it and I am only an EE that worked in electronics, but I am fairly handy. It took me and one other person a day. I didn't replace the plenum or the A coil. The new furnace has the same front to back plenum dimension, however, the left to right was 2" larger on the new furnace. A little bit of sheet metal work to make an angled adapter and it was done. We did it in November, and while it was a warm day for a Chicago area November, the house still got cold. It was not an emergency situation so, I don't think I would ever attempt that again ... I'd just wait for better weather where heat is not required.
bcjm wrote:

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I agree. It depends on how handy a person is and how willing they are to read the manuals and that it isn't a complex system. Replacing a furnace is mostly just scut work, bending metal, fastening it together, and sealing it. At least it was in my house. In fact, it appeared to be less work than the plenum work to install an electronic filter that I did with inadequate tools. After installing get an HVAC man to test it if you don't know how. The ac replacement is probably even easier, but you need the tools and the know how. And if he's used to working on ac stuff for cars he would be able to do it.
All of this with the caveat that bcjm follows the manufacture's instructions for installation and operation. Lots of people are handy with tools but lots of them also refuse to read the manuals and get into trouble. Replacement isn't like original installation and design.
Art Todesco wrote:

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Stormeee There is something about a Guarntee, and Insurance that a DIY er cant get. Ex my 16 mo old 7000.00 Weil McLain PFG 5 was instaled with to small an expansion tank alowing it to go to 30 lb at 160 . Blowing the 30lb relief. Well its been refiling for a year unnoticed. If it doesnt have 83% efficiency after a retest Im getting New Free Boiler, Everyone makes mistakes, But only a Pro stands behind his work, just like you stormin.
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I've got about three years experience as an installer. Changing furnace isn't really all that hard, if you work with someone for a year or so and learn all the little ins and outs.
As for the AC, your skills as an auto AC guy don't really carry over totally to split systems in houses. It's a different ballgame. The vac pump and gages are useful, but you're also into soldering fittings, and some of that. Which car guys aren't likely to do.
Have at it, if you want. But I suspect if y ou do it yourself you might create as many problems as you solve.
--

Christopher A. Young
Jesus: The Reason for the Season
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On Tue, 20 Jan 2004 12:48:16 -0800, bcjm wrote:

Helped my neighbour - pretty easy job but make sure you set it up properly. If you're not sure how, have an installer do the setup. Also, check with your insurance company to make sure your policy is valid if you self-install. My insurer said it was as long as I got a permit which included an inspection.
BTW, you will save approx $2000 but I don't think your warranty if valid unless installed by a pro.
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This is Turtle.
Watch what you tell people about the general statement of you will save $2,000.00 by changing out your system yourself. In different parts of the country the prices very greatly and you will not save what you may state. I change out some 1.5 ton to 2 ton split systems out for around $2,000.00 total cost. You can't save $2,000.00 if i will do the job for $2,000.00 for the equipment is not free. It all depends on how hard it is to get to and time to do it.
TURTLE
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Yes, plenty of people do it. If you go to alt.hvac you will see that they hate homeowners who do their own work, because they view themselves as sort of a cartel.
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The thought that the posters on alt.hvac represent all heating guys makes as much sense as saying that the cast of Survivor represents all outdoorsmen. There's a lot of polite heating people who either don't view usenet, or avoid that group of vipers.
--

Christopher A. Young
Jesus: The Reason for the Season
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

i believe you are dealing with a vital part of the house. and the cost of the unit is not cheap if you buy it your self. i try to do a lot of things my self, but when it comes to the furnace and hot water tank i leave it to the pros. i don't blame any one trying it them selves, but it could be a costly mistake and dangerous if you deal with gas. i would listen to cbhv on heating and air.
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I don't listen to anyone who is that crude mouthed and insulting. He may be technically gifted, but his people skills don't make it easy to listen to him.
--

Christopher A. Young
Jesus: The Reason for the Season
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Its a shame you wont read CB, stormin, you would learn something about your trade.
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I have been reading his "group" and I have learned that he actually knows less than I thought... Oh well...
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No..but I find that odd, since you post a fair amount over there. We DO see ourselves as the most licenced trade out there. We DO see ourselves as the guys that get called when things go wrong, and they will, eventually, and we DO see ourselves over there as the group that does not tolerate hacks like Chris Young, AKA Stormon MOron, and JB posting WAGs about things. We also see more in a day than most will see in a lifetime in some cases, therefore, we know the worst of the worst...and thats another reason why the group was not intended for homeowners. Period. Read the FAQ and find out.
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You can do anything you want to do, just make sure its legal in your area for you to do so. You did not state what State you live in, therefore, it may, or may not be legal for you to do this. If permits are needed to be pulled, as they are in any area where a licenced tech must install the system, then you may be required to go take the mechanical exam...and then you get to find out how easy it is.. Your iinsurance company may not cover any injuries, or damage to the home unless installed by a certified installer...you will want to look into that as well. You will need to make sure you have your EPA card, as you will need to buy extra refrigerant in most cases as units today no longer have the charge that they used to, and if your linset is over 15ft, in length total, then you will be undercharged. You will need probably a few thousand in other tools to do the most simple of gas furnace installs properly, and while you might get it all in, and it might all seem to work, just keep in mind that unless you follow the instructions to a T, and then do the other things that the instructions DO NOT go into detail on, since its assumed that only a licenced person with training is buying the equipment, (here, its illegal to sell to a non licenced person.) then it may not be working as well as you think. Remember, you ignore for the most part any readings your manifold tells you as far as the charge goes...you will be charging your new system NOT to pressure, but to superheat or subcool, and make sure that the temp rise (Delta) on your furnace is within the specs listed for it. Also, keep in mind, that should a warranty issue arise at a later date, you may find that you have no warranty on the units. Yes...that happens with self installed equipment.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth] On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 09:23:25 -0500, "CBhvac"

This is very true - also, many areas distinguish between work for hire and home owner work in single family homes regarding license requirements.
In MA, everybody needs a gas fitter's license to connect a gas line. Everybody needs a plumber's license to fix a leaking faucet! (BTW, HVAC contractors can't flush a domestic water coil in a hydronic unit unless they also have a plumber's license) BUT, a single family home owner doesn't need any license to install HVAC equipment, furnaces (except connecting the gas), electrical wiring... They still need permits and inspections which MA insurance policies are happy with. (state regulated)
That doesn't exempt one from federal EPA certificate requirements. Of course, one can always install a unit covered under the 1995 stay without an EPA certification _IF_ one can find one.
I've clipped your other reasonable points. I am only discussing what can legally be done and noting local issues may dominate. I'm not suggesting what is wise!!!
gerry
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"bcjm"

Had a blast doing mine. Ended up with a 12 seer unit, 90% furnace, total job cost including new tools was a little under $2k, if I recall correctly. It's been working pretty sweet for almost 2 years now.
The physical installation including ductwork, gas and electrical are pretty trivial. If you don't think they will be absolutely trivial for you, you may not be cut out for the more difficult stuff... The crux is the AC system. The furnace is trivial, IMO.
The more difficult stuff:
1) Your equipment choices are limited. For example Trane only sells to dealers - though I did find a guy willing to sell to me. I didn't trust him much and the price was steep.. I went with York - aka Dayton, aka Grainger. All this shit's pretty much the same inside, I quickly found. I walked in with a tax ID (generally accepted proof of being a business entity) and got a pretty large price break. A tax ID is easy to get from your state - you'll want one because very little of this stuff is sold retail. I've found mine to be very useful for tons of other things as well. Some wholesalers just want a business card, though, which you can buy stock for at Office Depot.
2) An EPA card for auto AC can be mistaken for the one necessary for R22 systems by the guys selling this stuff. Go figure. Good luck. Getting the real card you need is a pain in the butt, and expensive. Different sellers have different policies, attitudes and interpretations of the law. Maybe you're handy with Photoshop! I'll bet any design would work - there are so many outfits out there offering the card! Kill me now!!
3) Brazing. Get the silver solder, an oxy/acetylene torch and practice on some cheap copper plumbing pipe. You'll want nitrogen running through the lines as well to prevent contamination from oxidation while you braze - though I've heard many guys don't use it. I wouldn't risk it, myself.
4) Charging. Relaxing, easy, fun - but technical. I had a charging scale for kicks and a very accurate thermometer. I used the subcooling method, which is pretty much mandatory for modern TXV type systems. I also installed a sight window - which I found educational and reassuring - nice to see the bubbles and some greenish stuff. You can find info on how to do this via Google - but you'll have to wade through a lot of crap. You'll find this method to be a well kept secret!
Ahh - the walls you'll have to scale - but fun stuff.
And yeah - I went to alt.hvac at one point and got flamed by a bunch of meatheads - but also got a lot of useful info there by surfing Google archives. If I was to do it all over again, I would have gone straight to the guy who sells the "Tech Method" and given him his $100 bucks, rather than purchasing a couple useless and overly general books on Amazon. Probably would have saved some time and increased the quality of the job. I'm still considering it...
BTW - I pulled a permit and got inspected. Easy. I even got my energy rebate from Xcel, but that's a different story...
I'd definitely do it again. Best and most fun part of the basement remodel...
- Nate
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Just for the record, you made several information errors here as well as the other post you made in alt.hvac, and this is twice in one day you have suggested breaking a Federal law.
Just keep that in mind.
Yes....we all sent copies to our local EPA offices, and yes, its a crime that they take seriously.
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"CBhvac"

Haven't posted anything to alt.hvac in over 18 months - even then, total maybe 5 posts. That was my first post to this group in months. That wasn't an informational error on your part, was it?

Whoa - the man SPEAKS!
BTW - feel free to highlight those informational errors for us. Show your fans what an incompentent "home moaner" moron I am.

Hilarious! Good old Joe over at the friendly local EPA office?
You HVAC guys are predictable - and funny! Like trolling for fish in a barrel.
- Nate
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