Author Topic: Installing an HVAC unit and furnace  (Read 620 times)

clark77494

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Installing an HVAC unit and furnace
« on: March 20, 2017, 08:32:33 PM »
I just purchased a 40 year old house and it has the original HVAC system and Furnace. Before I was a Real Estate investor I worked as an HP certified printer tech so I have the electrical skills and mechanical skills. Is there a book I can purchase that will teach me how to hookup a new HVAC unit and Furnace? The unit I want will cost around $3,000 for furnace, Evaporator coil, and compressor. (4 ton unit). The installation would cost me $4,000 for 2 people for half a day. I can't justify paying $4,000 for 8 man hours of labor. $500 per hour for labor. My doctor doesn't even charge that much!
Clark,

Jon Bon

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Re: Installing an HVAC unit and furnace
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 08:06:14 AM »
Woah, get a few different estimates. I can get an entirely new HVAC system install for $4000. So $3000 for the materials and $1000 for the labor. Tell that installer to take a hike!

Also 4 tons is a lot of HVAC, how big of a house are we talking here?

I mean MMM put in a furnace no issue, the AC might need more specialized tools. I would consider a furnace, but Freon is expensive and I would not want to mess with it.

threefive

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Re: Installing an HVAC unit and furnace
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2017, 10:08:51 AM »
I just purchased a 40 year old house and it has the original HVAC system and Furnace. Before I was a Real Estate investor I worked as an HP certified printer tech so I have the electrical skills and mechanical skills. Is there a book I can purchase that will teach me how to hookup a new HVAC unit and Furnace? The unit I want will cost around $3,000 for furnace, Evaporator coil, and compressor. (4 ton unit). The installation would cost me $4,000 for 2 people for half a day. I can't justify paying $4,000 for 8 man hours of labor. $500 per hour for labor. My doctor doesn't even charge that much!
Clark,

That's pretty steep on the labor, but the total cost isn't out of whack for what you're looking for. A (giant!) 4-ton unit with furnace for $3k is cheap. I would expect a total cost to be about $7k, but a different materials/labor ratio than you've been quoted. More quotes could get you closer to $6k total cost, maybe. You'll also probably want a second opinion on the calculations, because a 4-ton system is huge. There is a tendency in HVAC to install oversized systems, or screw the calcs and just replace what's there already.

If you do go it alone, then you will want to check your local permitting process. If you aren't planning to reside in the house, then most municipalities will not allow a homeowner's exemption from licensed contractor rules. If you don't pull a permit on something as critical and obvious as HVAC, then you can run into some very serious and expensive problems when you go to rent and/or sell. You will also need to hire someone anyway to charge the refrigerant line, unless it's pre-charged. You'd still want to haven someone balance it, though.

threefive

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Re: Installing an HVAC unit and furnace
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2017, 10:46:58 AM »
Here's an example if I were figuring up the cost of your system. I'll assume it's a 15 seer AC unit with natural gas furnace, about 80k BTUs and that the ductwork exists, is fine, and sized properly.

$3,500 minimum material costs (units, line sets, pad, disconnects, etc.). $1,000 minimum labor costs (It'll take 2 people about 10 hours total at $50/hr. Remember, I'd be paying their wage plus a host of other stuff like insurance, trucks, someone to sit in line getting a permit, etc.) $500 for the expected warranty labor I might have to provide in the future, the cost of that "free" quote, the fact I have to keep lights on at the shop, etc.

$5,000 total in costs before I make a profit. Add 20% to keep me in business and happy, and you're at a reasonable installed cost of around $6k. That's about where you should expect at least one or two quotes to come in at. If the ductwork is not sized properly (and its a good bet it isn't for a system 40 years old), then that's more money. Maybe the extra $1k to get you to the quote you were given.

If you did it yourself, I'm guessing you'd be at $4000-4500 (same ductwork) once you get some tools you'd need, break a few things cause you don't know what your doing, etc. You'd be looking at closer to 20 hours of actual labor, with flying spaghetti monster knows how much time researching how to install the unit.

My advice: get more quotes. It should cost you $6k. When you get a quote around $6k, hire them. Use your time finding new real estate deals and factor that cost into any future decisions on those new deals.

BlueMR2

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Re: Installing an HVAC unit and furnace
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2017, 07:58:43 AM »
That time quote seems really low.  I just had mine done a couple Summers ago and it took 2 professional guys 2 full days to get everything done.  Total cost was under $7k for nice high efficiency stuff.  A lot of tedious labor, with some fabricating to match up existing ducts with the new system.

*Appears* like the kind of job that any reasonably detail oriented individual with understanding of gas and electrical safety could do.  I'd guess it would probably have taken me a week or 2 myself as I'd had to have stopped to learn how to make certain things/go buy tools, etc.  If you go for it, write it up, I'd like to read about it.  :-)

Fishindude

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Re: Installing an HVAC unit and furnace
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2017, 08:11:33 AM »
If you can use existing ductwork and the connection at plenum doesn't require big modifications, it should be pretty simple.
Usually requires some custom sheet metal work to fit new furnace to existing duct.  Do you have access to sheet metal brake, etc.?

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Re: Installing an HVAC unit and furnace
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2017, 10:09:23 PM »
I just purchased a 40 year old house and it has the original HVAC system and Furnace. Before I was a Real Estate investor I worked as an HP certified printer tech so I have the electrical skills and mechanical skills. Is there a book I can purchase that will teach me how to hookup a new HVAC unit and Furnace? The unit I want will cost around $3,000 for furnace, Evaporator coil, and compressor. (4 ton unit). The installation would cost me $4,000 for 2 people for half a day. I can't justify paying $4,000 for 8 man hours of labor. $500 per hour for labor. My doctor doesn't even charge that much!
Clark,

If you choose to DIY it, you might want to pay a licensed HVAC tech (and maybe your code enforcement) to inspect it when you're done. First reason is safety, regarding gas leaks, carbon monoxide, and fires.

Second reason would be that no company will warranty a self installed unit. So the tech signing off on it will validate the manufacturer's warranty.
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