Double Heat Pump Upgrade - DIY My Split System?

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Old 02-06-15, 08:17 PM
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Double Heat Pump Upgrade - DIY My Split System?

I need to renew my two unit heating and cooling system in Las Vegas. They are York R22 3.5 and 5 ton heat pump systems manufactured in 1999, in service since 2000. I believe they are 10 SEER. The compressor/condenser units are ground-mounted, with heat strip-equipped air handlers mounted in the attic of the two story home. Given recent reversing valve issues, a bad circuit board, a noisy compressor and a shaking attic fan, it's time to stop dumping money into them, move into 410A, and get some more efficient units. We'd retain the good 7/8 copper lines, but everything else would go, downstream from the ducting.

I have quotes ranging from $13,700 to $16,500 for 13 SEER 4 and 5 ton replacements for York equipment. Mind you the higher one includes some duct and insulation work that the lower one does not, so the are probably only several hundred to a thousand apart. And they both include digital programmable thermostats. It looks like I could buy complete systems from a number of manufacturers (Goodman is a plentiful product on eBay for instance) that are higher SEER (at least 14) for well under $3000 a piece, minus the thermostats, delivered and without tax. One quote shows $1900 for labor and a $500 supply fee. The rest seems to be equipment mark-up. The other quote doesn't break much down cost-wise, but the scope of work is well-defined. It seems that the bottom line on both quotes are in the same ballpark. Using my "fuzzy math," there appears to be on the order of $7000 in profit/wages. A lot for what has been described to me as a two employee, two day job; 32 man hours at almost $220 per hour by my reckoning. There's got to be a better way! Since going with those quotes means debt or unaffordability, I have to consider other paths.

Between myself and my neighbor, we can do electrical and plumbing, no problem. Limited sheet metal mods and carpentry that might be involved are ok too. We'd either figure out the line flush ourselves are higher a pro, and we'd likely have a pro do the charge and start-up.

Am I sane to be considering this on a DIY basis? As with many home improvement costs, this is a big sticker item that took my breath away when I saw the quotes. I have to explore alternatives, or milk along my old inefficient and unreliable system. Opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Old 02-07-15, 08:21 AM
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It sounds as if you haven't been DIY on the maintenance of the existing systems.
If you are thinking about following the DIY route with new systems, it might be a good learning exercise to fix the issues with the present systems which, if done properly, you might well find that they will serve for another ten years . Why not give that a try first ?

If you are hiring someone to do the whole job and assume responsibility for performance, you should expect to pay them a fair price so that they can make a decent living ... remember that they have business overhead to pay - and it's not just the hours on the job that they should charge for.
 
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Old 02-07-15, 09:38 PM
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I've been 50/50 on maintenance. Learned a lot on the way. Enough that I knew one unit was energized to cooling when heat was demanded. I just couldn't figure out why. I pulled a jumper from the board, and got it running in heat. Called the pro, and he verified my suspicion. Bad board.

I hear what your saying, but there's now point in spending $ on probably a board, compressor and fan motor or at least bearings and R22, when it's just buying a bit of time. These things are pretty inefficient and our electricity rates are going nowhere but up.

I also get the profit/overhead considerations of a business. I'm not mad at these guys or saying they are a rip off, just that it's a huge chunk of cash on top of the equipment costs. Not begrudging the businesses, just trying to make the upgrade happen is a way I can handle. Hence the question, "can this be done DIY?"
 
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Old 02-08-15, 06:43 AM
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As the saying goes: when maintenance exceeds depreciation it's time to replace.
You could do the job in steps, one system at a time ... what do you have to lose ? - it sounds as if you have the time and energy so why not DIY .
 
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Old 02-09-15, 10:23 AM
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remember your getting a warranty when you purchase from a local company. Ebay you get nothing.
 
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