replace furnace do it yourself?

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  #1  
Old 04-07-05, 09:58 AM
cprevost
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replace furnace do it yourself?

I was thinking of replacing my furnace. The new one has almost the same form factor as the old. Is this a do it yourself type job? I probably would leave the gas connection alone and have a service tech come in and do that part and fire it up and test. Is the rest of the job fairly straight forward? It looks that way to me. There is a do it yourself place near me that can make custom duct parts from my measurements to connect to existing ductwork etc. Am I missing anything?
 
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  #2  
Old 04-07-05, 12:05 PM
LBC
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Generally changing a furnace is not a doityourself job, but generally neither is fixing it. I would get a person in to at least quote you on a replacement as there are many things to consider such as input, vent size, chimney issues etc... Definately do not connect a new furnace to your old chimney without getting it inspected and making sure it is sized properly with all appliances using it considered.

The ductwork is a good do it yourself job, although it looks tons better and is done properly when a pro does it(not saying that everyone out there that does duct work are pros, they can be hacks just the same).
 
  #3  
Old 04-07-05, 01:18 PM
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Well,
The new furnace seems to have just about the same form factor as the old one. All the returns, ducts etc. are in the same place. Connecting the ductwork and exhaust vents should be a snap. The vent pipe is only used by the furnace so I don't expect any size issue since I'm putting essentially the exact size furnace in it's place. How does this sound?
 
  #4  
Old 04-07-05, 01:26 PM
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It all sounds good but who will back it and have parts for it ?If it goes down in the winter????????

ED
 
  #5  
Old 04-07-05, 03:33 PM
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LBC makes very good points, and so does Ed. You will more than likely have nothing to fall back on if there's a problem since manufactures will not warranty a DIY system, and I doubt you will find a hvac company that will do a start-up on it.

I would not reccomend installing this yourself.
 
  #6  
Old 04-07-05, 05:26 PM
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DIY funace installation

I must agree with the other guys. In addition to the points already made, I would add that codes, particularly on venting may have changed since the old furnace was installed. Codes change for a reason. Likely 99% of the time the change is caused by people getting hurt or killed.
 
  #7  
Old 04-08-05, 12:05 PM
cprevost
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You guys make some good points. I would be getting a savings of over 50% by doing it myself. I could replace the furnace myself 2 times and still have spent less money than paying someone else to install it for me. I don't know about code issues. Maybie a problem? Is this project something that permits are normally required? thanks for the heads up on the warranty issue I had no idea. I'll certainly check on that.

The furnace place says the warranty is still good if a hvac person does the initial startup and inspects the system.
 

Last edited by cprevost; 04-08-05 at 12:37 PM.
  #8  
Old 04-08-05, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by cprevost
I don't know about code issues. Maybie a problem? Is this project something that permits are normally required?
You'll need to check with your local municipality.
 
  #9  
Old 04-09-05, 08:39 AM
Baumanjohn
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Do-it-yourself

if you a mechanial incline,I see no problem in replacing it yourself.I plan on doing it myself.I got a local distribitor that will help you if you need a little guidence.I don't plan on charging my system,someone else will do that.From what I can see,there is a nice profit in installing furances.
I have run gas lines,installed water heaters.If you are a homeoowner,you have to be able to do it all


John Bauman
 
  #10  
Old 04-09-05, 09:21 AM
cprevost
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Thanks John,
There is a place 3 blocks from me called do it yourself cooling and heating. They are very helpful and can help me to build whatever ductwork, ventpipes etc. that I need. I think my only real concern is working with gas. I think I'll leave that part to the experts. The warranty is fine if a service man checks everything and fires it up for the first time. Still not sure yet if I need a new one. Gave up on trying to fix it myself. Repairman on his way today. If it is dead I'll have him give me an estimate for replacing my unit and compare the price to a do it yourself price and see if it is worth the headache.
 
  #11  
Old 04-09-05, 11:29 AM
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Be sure and get 3 bids for the job and they run a heat loss on the home

ED
 
  #12  
Old 04-10-05, 08:49 AM
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I've got someone coming in to bid out the project. If his bid is reasonable I'll probably have him do it. The service person who looked at my furnace thought they could do it for around 12 hundred. If I did it myself it would cost 9 hundred or so if everything went right. If they do bid it at 12 I'll have them do it. The 2 hundred bucks is hardly worth all the effort for me. Is American Standard a reasonable brand?
 
  #13  
Old 04-10-05, 05:20 PM
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I'd let them do it.. I used to be in the HVAC field, and i haven't done it for 10 years.. I had a new Trane put in last fall, and I let them do the work since they they got the tools and I don't. Also, you know the work is done right with the right tools.

American Standard is a parent company of Trane. So they are good products.

I have The 2-stage Variable Speed Trane and love it.
 
  #14  
Old 04-12-05, 02:16 PM
cprevost
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Well,
The furnace I looked at is 650 bucks. The HVAC guy can do the job for 1700 bucks. That's about 1000 dollars labor and misc. parts and 650 for the furnace.

If I do it myself I'm looking at 650 for the furnace. Maybie 200 bucks for the parts I need. Maybie 200 bucks to get an hvac guy to inspect and fire up. Savings 700 dollars. I'll have to mull that one over. I'm going to measure up my furnace and take the measurements down to the furnace place and see how close my existing furnace is to the old one. If it is pretty close to spot on I'll probably do it myself. The good news is that the weather is warming up and I now have until sometime in October to get the job done. No permits seem to be necessary.
 
  #15  
Old 04-12-05, 07:52 PM
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Keep us posted on your results doing it yourself.

I think the $1,700 is not bad
 
  #16  
Old 04-13-05, 07:23 PM
cprevost
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I'll start the project this weekend. I had a furnace guy out to spec out an install. He actually encouraged me to try and do it myself. He said if I get stuck he can come out and finish the job. I'll post later this weekend to say how it's going.
 
  #17  
Old 04-16-05, 08:28 PM
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Project Done! It was easier than I thought it would be. No real problems. Cost me 200 bucks in parts to get it done. Furnace another 625. Saved around 1000 bucks or so. Took all day. Definately a do it yourself job if you are mechanically inclined.

If anyone is interested in doing this yourself I'd suggest you look into making sure the warranty will still be good. Also it's a good idea to have a hvac guy you can call to finish the job if you get in a pinch. I was lucky enough to have a do it yourself hvac place around the block. Their help was invaluable. Feels good to have heat again!
 
  #18  
Old 04-16-05, 08:35 PM
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Post some pictures for us to see. What brand/model did you get?
 
  #19  
Old 04-17-05, 06:34 AM
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Good for you if you found an HVAC contractor to come out and inspect and fire up a home-owner installed furnace. I don't know anyone who would do it.

2 cents: I have been a DIY type of guy all my life. Willing to tackle any trade around my house. Sometimes stretched the bounds of reality in the earyl years when $$$ was short. In hindsight, I was lucky a few times.
A furnace is an investment for another 20 to 30 years. Also, it can kill you or blow up your house. It just makes sense to find the money to have this done professionally from the get-go. You need someone to be with you when problems or warranty issues or insurance issues pop up.


BTW...and don't take this personally......you used the term 'form factor' which leads me to believe you are an engineer of some sort: engineers should NEVER do hands-on work. It goes against your training and usually leads to a bad outcome! When I see a homeowner measuring pipe fittings with a digital caliper, I'm out the door! No thanks!
 

Last edited by 594tough; 04-17-05 at 06:40 AM. Reason: add
  #20  
Old 04-18-05, 02:11 PM
cprevost
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I got a goodman furnace. Yes, I did the research and am aware of all the issues. The place that sold me the furnace covers it with a good warranty even though I did the install. 1 year parts and labor and 20 years parts.

I am nothing close to an engineer. I barely know how to use a ruler I am an artist and art teacher by trade.
 
  #21  
Old 04-19-05, 03:35 PM
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Just out of curiosity, which model # Goodman furnace did you get for $ 625?
 
  #22  
Old 04-21-05, 11:52 AM
cprevost
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80% single stage 70,000 btu
 
  #23  
Old 04-21-05, 03:57 PM
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I'd like to see a picture of it.
 
  #24  
Old 04-22-05, 03:54 AM
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Sounds like a GSM080. Since I believe Goodman has a 5 year parts only warranty, your dealer is going out on a limb. He is probably safe in that furnaces have a very low rate of failure in the first year, and 5 to 20 years from now, there is very little likelihood that he will still be in business to back you up!

Since he pays probaly $379 for that unit, he did OK; and the $625 price to you is about right. Does he suggest that his customers pull the proper permits and get the necessary inspections?
 
  #25  
Old 04-24-05, 03:50 PM
cprevost
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Permits can be done retroactively if I ever sell. Not going to worry about that now.
 
  #26  
Old 04-25-05, 01:32 PM
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Well if something goes wrong and your house burns down or something like that and the furnace is in question and no permit has been pulled then you are out of luck also not having a licensed contractor do the job is reason enough for the Insurance company not to pay. So aint it great that you have been lucky in the past year. Hope it lasts.

This is why the pro's charge the extra because they carry the insurance to cover the installation.

I had to edit and say maybe that helps you live better and sleep better at night.

I know when I go out and see something that is not safe or in question I have no problem in shutting it down and calling authorities.
 
  #27  
Old 04-30-05, 02:19 AM
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I don't know about your jurisdiction, but out here you get a permit BEFORE you do the work. Otherwise, you are in viloation.

It is possible to go back after the fact, but a few things come into play:

- A fine ( PER DAY ) is applicable.
- Approval is NOT automatic, and there exists the possility that you could be denied and required to remove the installation.
- You will definitely be required to comply with all CURRENT codes. In this case, for sure a year or so from now your 80 AFUE furnace will NOT meet code, and will have to be replaced!
 
  #28  
Old 05-01-05, 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by cprevost
Well,
The furnace I looked at is 650 bucks. The HVAC guy can do the job for 1700 bucks. That's about 1000 dollars labor and misc. parts and 650 for the furnace.

If I do it myself I'm looking at 650 for the furnace. Maybie 200 bucks for the parts I need. Maybie 200 bucks to get an hvac guy to inspect and fire up. Savings 700 dollars. I'll have to mull that one over. I'm going to measure up my furnace and take the measurements down to the furnace place and see how close my existing furnace is to the old one. If it is pretty close to spot on I'll probably do it myself. The good news is that the weather is warming up and I now have until sometime in October to get the job done. No permits seem to be necessary.
If you have ever owned a business or understand the concept of that, you would know that the part a customer sees as "profit" or "labor" must also pay for overhead, insurance, transportation, wages, etc.

If you take your car in for repairs and pay around $100 an hour for the labor rate, realize that the technician repairing your car probably doesn't get more than $30 an hour and owns about $40,000 of tools. At least a good automotive technician can make money by completing the work faster than the "book" time. Other times, the "book" time is not enough.

Using your line of reasoning, do you expect an automotive technician to "look over" repairs you have done in an effort to save money and tell you if the repairs are done correctly? Diagnostic rates are the same or higher than repair rates. Most shops will not even consider using customer supplied parts, especially if there is to be a warranty on the repairs.

The tools and equipment to service HVAC items can be quite expensive, much of which the technician must provide. There are some companies that will not allow techs to furnish their own tools due to liability reasons, I only know of one in that catergory in my area.

The machinery to fabricate the sheet metal is also quite expensive. That must be paid for out of the balance you see as "labor or profit".

You must also realize that a $625 Goodman is not the same as a professional piece of equipment. Goodman ranks squarely at the bottom of a consumer products ranking magazine in terms of reliability. A good warranty on a piece of junk does not transform the item into something better.

More recognized HVAC brands have several grades of equipment ranging from "builders special" to "top of the line". "Builders grade" does not mean quality- it means cheap (no matter what you are buying), even with a nationally known name on the cabinet.

This is the problem when consumers view HVAC work and equipment as a commodity to be purchased for the lowest price. There are so many different lines of equipment and installation practices that it is impossible to compare bids soley on a dollar figure. There are shops that rip people off, as in any other field. Ususally, you get what you pay for.

Unfortunately, too many consumers only look at the bottom line. There is always someone out there that can do it for cheaper. The big question, though, is what the installer is leaving out or not doing to achieve that lower price.

Your DIY install may have had other issues that a professional could have repaired or brought to your attention. There is more to the work than a $700 savings. Oh well, too late now. At least it is working... for now.
 
  #29  
Old 05-16-05, 09:43 AM
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Well guys,
Almost everything we do in life has it's inherent risks. I am comfortable that the install I did is a safety upgrade from the original. I updated electrical, replaced old gas fittings and re-sealed exhaust pipes, in adition to a furnace that has more modern safety features built in. I am perfectly happy to live with all the risks outlined above. Doomsday scenarios can be found for almost every situation. The fact is, my furnace is installed, it is safe, it works fine, and I saved over 1000 bucks. Works for me.
 
  #30  
Old 05-17-05, 08:05 PM
LBC
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The warrany you have is 1 year parts and labor, and 20 years on the heat exchanger. This might sound good but all the parts that Goodman use on their furnaces are sub-standard and far below professional grade quality. So after the first year expect to change a gas valve, pressure switch, vent fan and computer board. With the parts warranty expired you will have to shell out some serious cash to buy these parts, and with your limited knowledge of the equipment and how to diagnose your furnace(we can only do so much at DIY) you will be paying labor for a technician to repair it. Who does warranty work for a furnace they didn't install? LOL!! Good luck!

Which contractor name are you going to fill in on the warranty exchange forms when your control board fails? Where are you going to get the warranty exchange form? Why would Goodman take your word that your furnace is broken?
 
  #31  
Old 05-18-05, 04:04 AM
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Gloom and doom aside, it is good that your furnace is working and you saved some money in the process. As an over the counter retail customer, your equipment choices are limited and there are those warranty issues.

If the units are the same size, it may be possible for a reasonably competent person to do a swap. Problems can arise when things do not match, requiring skilled work. Because I earn my living in the HVAC field, I have seen many more botched DIY HVAC repairs than proper ones. Unfortunately, I have also seen and fixed bad contractor work.

I have seen the end result of some DIY repairs, and the result can be scary.

I have seen more than one person attempt to use flexible gas connectors without the tapered fitting adapters, enough teflon tape almost makes it work (shame on the manufacturers for using thread pitches and diameters that are close enough to NPT thread so idiots try to make it work)...

Then there was the guy that was wondering why the PVC pipe venting that his buddy put on his 80% efficient garage unit heater was turning brown....

Then there was the person that paid for a furnace changeout and got a cardboard and duct tape plenum in return (that was done by someone buying stuff at the local DIY place and winging it as a contractor)...

Oh, lets not forget about the 6 inch 30 ga galvanized vent for a woodburning stove going through a combustible wall. They did not want to make a hole with the proper 6 inch clearance all the way around and use a wall thimble... Double wall pipe was "too expensive"...

In my own house some idiot has tied two individual 110v circuits to a 220v two pole 30 A breaker. The 12 ga wire used will melt and cause a fire before the 30 A breaker begins to trip.

There are many posts here with something like "My furnace has flames shooting out of it. Do I need to call someone?"....

I have plenty more examples of people attempting things that they should not, all in an attempt to save money. All of the above examples could have real world deadly consequences, not just simply gloom and doom rhetoric.

Just because you can buy it at the local Big Box does not mean you should use it.

The "do it yourself" HVAC place arond here will also help out their customers with equipment, troubleshooting and metal work, but many not involved in the HVAC business but looking to save money do not realize that you are paying good money for entry level stuff. The only variable speed furnace they offer has a 40k btu first stage and a 90k second, really a "one size fits most" application, and it is expensive. Their metal work is subbed out, so now there are two businesses making money on the part. People still think they save money, but I know their rates are not any lower than traditional methods.

It is disappointing to see many aspects of the HVAC industry becoming a commodity purchased for the lowest price. No one wants to pay for a Manual J or a Manual D. Builders want it for cheap, and they demand that you lower your price so more money goes into their pocket, screwing the homeowner in the process (the "They can't see it, so who cares?" mentality). Then there are the homeowners surfing the net finding that $600 furnace on eBay or at the local DIY emporium, and they want it installed for $195 or they call the HVAC guy to look over the DIY install, then balk at the service call price...

As a teacher, how would you feel if there was a "Do it yourself schooling.com" and something like this showed up:

I could save over $1000 a year if I could deduct the school portion of my property taxes. I'm sure many could do better at home schooling instead of paying those pesky teacher salaries and benefits.... There would be some inherent risks, but they could be tolerable. Maybe the kind employees at the local book store or library could help me out in a jam, and I could get them to look over my kids and make sure I am doing it right... Works for me
 

Last edited by danski0224; 05-20-05 at 03:55 AM. Reason: Clarity
  #32  
Old 05-20-05, 08:44 AM
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I get the idea of your post. I do know about 10 or so home schooled kids and every single one is brilliant. Heads and shoulders above conventional school kids. There are certainly many ways to kill yourself around the house. Some people shouldn't change a light bulb much less a furnace. But, I don't see why a compitent home owner who is willing to do the research can't take on some complex home repair tasks.

It certainly may be that it will cost me more in the long run. But you know what? I got a great deal of satisfaction in researching the problem and doing it myself. There is an inherent reward in that for me that goes beyond the money savings. I am aware of the risks, and feel comfortable that I've taken all the safety precautions I needed and did a safe install. Beyond that I'll accept responsibility for whatever happens next.
 
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