Ductless AC


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Old 08-15-14, 12:28 PM
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Ductless AC

Hi,

We are considering a 4 zone ductless AC installation. We are thinking of a 36k BTU unit with a 9/9/9/15 configuration. Most prices quoted for installation are around $11k, which is crazy considering the unit itself is around $4.5k. So $6.5k for one day work of installation?

How easy it it to do this myself hiring an electrician and a carpenter? Or should I ask around for cheaper quotes?
 
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Old 08-16-14, 12:00 AM
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I don't know.... how easy is it to get thru your house ?

If you are considering doing this yourself you should have a pretty clear idea of what you are doing. I don't consider many of these units DIY friendly projects.

I"ve seen warranty issues with user installed equipment. I would highly recommend getting several prices.
 
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Old 08-16-14, 02:55 PM
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Depending on the construction of the house that price does not seem out of line to me. If you think that you can install this yourself, or with the help of some homeless person you pick up from a freeway ramp then go ahead.

You need the services of someone adept in residential construction, an electrician and most of all a qualified refrigeration technician. The websites that sell these units make it seem as if all you need to do is to physically mount the unit, add some wire, connect the refrigerant piping and let 'er rip. Trust me, it will take at least a full day for each of the trades to get this going, that would be a minimum of 24 man-hours and it could take longer.

All that stated, you could perhaps do some of the work yourself depending on your skill set. You cannot do the refrigeration work however unless you desire to spend a sizable for the specialized tools and equipment required AND get the proper education on how to use those tools.
 
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Old 08-16-14, 05:44 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I would like to consider doing some things myself, and hire a few contractors to finish up. This is America, and people need to make a profit. Maybe I'm just in the wrong business since $6,500 profit a day sounds pretty good (and outrageous!) to me
 
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Old 08-16-14, 06:05 PM
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Well, it all depends on how many people are required and how long it actually takes. Of course the prime contractor (prob HVAC) will require an electrician to run the power, so thats additional. I think 24 man hours is probably very conservative.

Its one thing to mount a mini-split on the outside wall of a garage with the condenser just outside and power readily available nearby. 1 or 2 holes for the lines, hook up, charge, test, done. Quite another to run the lines to 4 different areas with finished walls and ceilings or have to run electric 40 or 50 ft from the panel.

We had 2 mini-splits installed in an old warehouse when I was in the Navy. Simple straight through the wall install, electric easily available. Still took 2 guys 3 days to get 'er done. That's 48 man hours right there. Granted they were Gov employees, but they didn't waste time, I was there for most of it.
 
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Old 08-16-14, 08:20 PM
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All depends on the layout. This summer I did 2 3 zone systems. One took me 2 days with 2 guys, the other took me about a week with 2 guys. It's definitely not 1 day of work and it's definitely not $6500 in profit. You have to pay your workers, their health insurance, uniforms, truck fuel, truck maintenance, overhead....there's a lot more to it than material. Unfortunately the bigger the company, the more expenses they have to pay for.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 09:36 AM
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If you decide to do it yourself, check the DIY mini-split, that type of unit was made for DIY customer. it is easy to install. and also get the 120V unit, so you don't have to pull the new 240V wires.
 
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Old 08-18-14, 12:36 PM
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YEA one day is not enough time 3 days on average could be less or more
 
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Old 09-03-14, 06:12 PM
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you want to drive a corvette, with chevette kind of money, not trying to be a wise guy but multiple evap systems are a pain, yes they work, and if you have not done several mini split installs your self, your already in over your head. I'm a contractor, have never seen your house. But if your proposals were all within700.00 900.00 of each other then thats what it's going to cost where you are. By the way if you order the equipment on line and try it your self, its going to cost about the same 11K to get a competent Mechanical contractor to come in and unscrew what has been screwed. The equipment is also "not" built like an anvil you can wreck it fairly easily. maybe just go with fewer evaporators.
 
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Old 09-03-14, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by realexm
Hi,

We are considering a 4 zone ductless AC installation. We are thinking of a 36k BTU unit with a 9/9/9/15 configuration. Most prices quoted for installation are around $11k, which is crazy considering the unit itself is around $4.5k. So $6.5k for one day work of installation?

How easy it it to do this myself hiring an electrician and a carpenter? Or should I ask around for cheaper quotes?
Now I didn't read all of the comments so forgive me but this always makes me laugh. I am a contractor. I deal with this all the time. Home owners think we rip you off because we mark up parts or whatever. You aren't just paying for parts. You pay for our years of experience working on this stuff.
1. You can't legally do it yourself. Unless for some reason you are certified through the epa.
2. Good luck trying to find a supply house that will sell to you. You can buy online but I don't trust it.
3. OK so now you have your ductless split off of Craigslist. Now what? How do you connect the line set? Do you have a spare bottle of nitrogen laying around with a pressure valve on it? Hopefully it's right next to your roll of wire, bar gauge manifold, your vacuum pump and your micron gauge.
Hopefully you won't have to add any refrigerant. Or maybe there's a bottle of 410a next to the nitrogen.

Pay the money. It's not a bad price. Once it's put in, don't touch it. Please.
 
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Old 09-04-14, 07:37 PM
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This is America. People make money. Fine. But please explain to me how $5.5k for one day of work for 3 professionals (electrician, carpenter and A/C expert) makes sense?
 
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Old 09-04-14, 09:02 PM
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So the company makes 5.5k. Minus the electrician. Minus paying 2 to 3 guys 2 to 3 days pay. Trucks, gas, insurance, workers comp, do I need to keep going? All in all the company might make 1200 to 1500 total on the job for 3 days work. But we do this for profit. Shop around. But be careful. You get what you pay for.
Remember that you aren't just paying for the units. There's a lot more involved.
 
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Old 09-05-14, 08:51 AM
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But please explain to me how $5.5k for one day of work for 3 professionals (electrician, carpenter and A/C expert) makes sense?
Before it was $6.5K for one day, where did the other $1K go? Where are you getting an estimate of one day for 3 skilled tradesmen? Are you expecting all 3 contractors to donate materials to you? You have already been told that 3 days is probably closer to what it will take, could take longer.
 
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Old 09-05-14, 10:16 AM
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Your right. It is $6.5k and not $5.5k. They said it can be done in one day.

Once again, I have no problems with people making a profit. I'm just trying to rationalize $6,500 in labor for 3 people for 1 day. Maybe I'll need to change careers
 
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Old 09-05-14, 01:54 PM
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I'm just trying to rationalize $6,500 in labor for 3 people for 1 day.
Open a company, hire an accountant, hire employees, provide health insurance, buy them trucks to drive to the job sites, pay the insurance on the commercial vehicles, pay the liability insurance bill, you know the security that if they burn your house down, your covered? How about rent for the building they keep all their supplies in? Gas for the trucks, consumable supplies needed to provide the service for you, or how about taxes? You know, they money the government takes when you make money?

Start with that, but wait there's more.... Cell phones, office equipment, tools, machinery, licenses, ongoing education (required to keep the business license) and the list goes on and on.

We're a small company, 3 people and our cost just to open the doors each month is $40,000 bucks.
 
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Old 09-05-14, 03:19 PM
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Alright guys no need to jump on him for wanting a bargain. Yes it does cost lots of money to run a business ( by the way whoever stated that running a 3 man business costs $40K a month is stretching it a bit, you may want to look at your business plan and start budgeting better because thats quite high.) getting back on topic, it's not just the equipment. You have linesets, covers, install material, oils, refrigerants, wire, switches, boxes, condensate piping. You're looking at another $1000 in material for 4 units, plus markup which varies, could be 20%, could be 70% for bigger companies. If everyone is in the same range, then you probably won't get much cheaper. If you do.....look out for the brake light special, or one guys that do installs but don't do service....they'll take your install money but if they had to fix it, they have no clue where to start so they send you elsewhere.
 
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Old 09-05-14, 03:24 PM
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You need to shop around more and see what you can get. For example, In my city, to fix a faucet, I can get quotes from $30 to $200. they are all licensed plumbers. some from a big firm, some retired, some work behind their truck, some work around the clock and can come in 30 minutes, some have to wait for a couple days. Their fees are all different. So call a few more places, do not call only the big names, and let us know what you get.
 
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Old 09-07-14, 06:58 AM
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Stick with the big names. Everyone else is most likely a Jack leg. You get what you pay for.
 
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Old 09-07-14, 09:17 AM
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.......Stick with the big names. Everyone else is most likely a Jack leg .......

Not always true. You'll have to look around, get referral from your friends and relatives... I used to work for a big name, I (they) charge $2700 for a 4T condenser, a few years later, I own a small shop myself, I only charge $1700 for the same unit, same me do the same work, just carry a different company name.
 
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Old 09-07-14, 09:37 AM
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Not always true.
I agree. I've only had 2 HVAC contractor in my homes, here and in VA. Both were family businesses, father and 2 brothers. Very honest, very prompt, low labor charges. The parts mark-up was kind of high, but that's to be expected from a low volume company. They both took pride in their reputation and took the time to explain to me what the problem was and how to fix it.
 
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Old 09-08-14, 09:50 AM
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Simply ask the company for an itemized quote. Then you have something to argue about if you feel the quote is too high.

Moaning here solves nothing.
 
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Old 09-08-14, 11:33 AM
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I installed a 12,000 btu A/C / heat pump last year . With the help of my wife & youngest son . And God'd help .

It was about at the limit of my skill set . It was not without a few bumps in the road . But this is the second season we have used it & I am pleased .

Some people may be able to do varying amounts of the work themselves .

And , yes , I have an EPA card and an electrician's license .

God bless
Wyr
 
 

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