Packaged Unit to Replace Split System?


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Old 06-29-22, 10:31 AM
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Exclamation Packaged Unit to Replace Split System?

Our 17 year old Carrier split system isn't running.

The evaporator fan blows air.
I hear the start capacitor kick on.
One of the circuit breakers trips on start.
I saw the condenser fan trigger about 1/4", but probably stopped when the breaker tripped.

So... I'm assuming the compressor is done, but will try to confirm via electrical checks I learned about.

If it is done, we will need to replace the evaporator and condenser. I'm leary about being burned by A/C guys at the height of their busy season. Mechanically/electrically, I can replace the units. Not experienced evacuating/charging a system and don't know if I can even buy refrigerant.

In my early research, I came upon Packaged Units - something I never heard of before. I'm in NJ - maybe they aren't popular here or maybe since I've been golden for 17 years, I'm not up on changes to the industry.

They seem like an easy install on a ground pad. I would have to learn about connecting insulated ducting from the outside and would have to learn more overall, but it seems like a good DIY solution.

Can anyone share thoughts on:

Is there a reason I haven't heard of them in NJ?
Is there a downside I'm unaware of?
Is connecting the external insulated ducting to our existing trunk duct an issue?
Anything else?

Thanks guys!

 
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Old 06-29-22, 10:54 AM
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A conversion from a split A/C to a packaged unit is a major undertaking.
You're looking at some extensive ductwork changes that can be difficult and almost impossible at this time. You'll need to extend and bring both the supply and return trunks outside.
 
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Old 06-29-22, 10:59 AM
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Ah!!! Forgot about the return!

Anything else?
 
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Old 06-29-22, 11:23 AM
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I have a large number of package units in my rental properties. I really like them because everything is outside so they can be serviced without entering the home. Installing them is pretty straightforward and easy since they are just a big, heavy box. Most big brand names only sell through their licensed installers but you can get Goodman units which have performed well for me and parts are easy to get.

As PJmax mentioned, the ducting inside your house will be one of the bigger challenges. Many homes with split systems are designed to have the air handler in a central location where a split unit requires the trunk lines be run to a side of the house.

You have to cut a big hole in the side of your house, either in the foundation, skirting or a side wall for the ducting to pass through. Then put a pre-made pad on the ground and set the unit. You'll need to run electricity and maybe gas to the unit and don't forget a electrical disconnect nearby and within sight of the unit. Then you need to do some light framing or sheet metal work to enclose between the unit and your house to keep cold air and critters out. If installing a heat pump don't forget to order appropriately sized backup heat strips as they don't normally come with the base unit.
 
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Old 06-29-22, 12:18 PM
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No heat pump - we have hot water baseboard. Electrical is in place now w/a disconnect by the existing condenser, so making needed electrical changes is not an issue for me. The unit would be near our existing chimney, so I would frame a parallel enclosure up the side of the house. New siding is on the list, so making that work and look finished is not an issue. It's a 1-story ranch, so I would need to put the big hole on the sidewall of the attic - again, not an issue. My real concern now thanks to Pjmax, is the returns. We have two and I imagine that there's a maximum run length that I shouldn't exceed?

 
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Old 06-29-22, 02:22 PM
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The return can be any length as long as it is properly sized.

If you have baseboard heat and your AC ducting is in the attic then getting that duct down to ground level is going to be a bit more work. Don't forget to include the 90 bends in your trunk line into your duct sizing calculation.
 
 

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