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Customer Review

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HVAC Centerpiece, May 21, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've just completed installing and properly tuning a split system air conditioner and evaporator coil to work with my existing gas furnace. I bought the equipment, the R410a, and about $1000 worth of specialty tools (no shortcuts) - almost all online (95% Amazon). I did this - after loads of research - because I wanted to ensure that my specific installation wishes would be fulfilled. And I still saved $1500 over the lowest bid (and that guy completely ignored a specific request).

The Manifold is the centerpiece of a good set of HVAC tools, so don't skimp out here. This thing reeks of quality, and I'll be proud of mine for years to come.

The seals on the hoses and the chambers work so well and without force. The gauges are big and convenient. The swiveling hook is a standard feature, but a great idea, and I love the 5' hoses, even for residential systems.

If you really want to do it right, you'll get a set of thumbscrew core depressors to go with this if you're working with Schrader valves, but this set has everything you need to get started. Great manifold.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 4, 2013 4:28:41 PM PDT
D. Wayne says:
I am pleased to read a homeowner succeeded in doing an install like your on their own. Thank you so much for the review....

Posted on Mar 19, 2014 6:23:07 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 27, 2014 5:54:58 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2014 6:44:51 PM PDT
MussSyke says:
Makes you sick, doesn't it?

Posted on Mar 26, 2014 8:34:47 AM PDT
Sean Rowley says:
I am looking to do this same thing (except I would like to replace my existing heat pumps). Can I ask where you found the DIY literature? Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2014 1:05:29 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 27, 2014 5:53:57 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2014 5:18:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2014 5:23:54 PM PDT
MussSyke says:
I did a lot of googling, research, and hand-wringing over a long period of time before I actually pulled the trigger. What finally did it for me was finding out that I could legally order the R410a myself online - after so many guys blatantly lied to me telling me "you can't do that" - and bypass dealing with contractors 100% (otherwise, I may still be putting in the window units every year).

I also noticed that guys on HVAC forums were just getting stupid and belligerent about protecting their knowledge within their secret clubs. This just made me more determined.

I think I found a website that explained all the levels of certification you need in the industry, and found some manuals on there that explained a lot of it. You can definitely find a bunch of manuals in *.pdf online if you are good at searching for that kind of thing. It's probably worth checking some torrent sites if you know how to use those.

Take a run out to your local refrigerant supply store (mine is Aireco) and have a look around, get an understanding about some of the physical parts you'll be working with. I was so nervous for a while, but when my equipment actually came, I could immediately understand some of the questions I had previously; just getting to see the connections and hardware up close was a big help. (When you go to actually buy something from the refrigerant supply store, you might have to tell them you work for a local installer, or they might play stupid with you too).

I hate YouTube because of all the wasted time people push on you for their own benefit, BUT I did watch a few videos on the subject. Some of them were helpful - again, partly just to give me a feel for the equipment.

There is some psychological barrier there because you spend all this money to get all these parts, but then if you fail, you're out of luck. But remember that the equipment will retain its value for as long as it is new and there will always be someone willing to put it in for you. It's definitely better to have some extra parts and tools left over than to be short something and then either have to shortcut or wait for another order to come in; that would be maddening. I was lucky to have just about $40 worth of stuff leftover, but I still saved $1500 on the cheapest install, even after spending a good $1000 in tools (I live in a particularly expensive area, though); frankly, I would consider the project to have been worth it even if I spent an extra thousand over the lowest bid. I am sure I would have gone mad trying to get a bunch of guys to do everything as well as it is now done.

I'm sorry my answers are a bit vague; I did so much of my research long ago at this point. I'll certainly try to help you further if you have more specific questions, although the bulk of your knowledge should probably come from downloaded trade manuals.

P.S. - suffice to say, the first thing you should be doing is reading the installation manuals of all the equipment you might be replacing, in this case the manuals of multiple brands of heat pumps. This will create more questions, which is good. Keep going until you have no more questions that deeply concern you.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2014 5:44:20 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 27, 2014 5:54:38 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2014 4:18:55 AM PDT
Sean Rowley says:
Thank you for the thoughtful response. The largest hurdles seem to be the R22 in the existing systems and timing it so that we are not too long without AC in allergy season. I have been studying the project off and on over the winter and it seems very doable. There are websites who will sell you the systems and offer some level of support, but there is no single resource for the DIYer. I ordered the gauges that you recommended - the first step will be to see how my freon levels are coming out of winter.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond!

Sean

Posted on Mar 27, 2015 8:57:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 27, 2015 9:00:57 AM PDT
O. Baeza says:
I am in the same process now of buying the tools necessary for a change of system. I studied and hvac/r course a decade ago and never got a job in the field because I needed experience to get experience so I refuse to hire anyone to work on my equipment or install. Being mechanically inclined is a plus and I did get my EPA license to purchase refrigerant. I have the books and are a big help but as I said I lack the experience. Residential Construction Academy HVAC I purchased it here and seems to have well explained and step by step procedures, I just received it so it is preliminary observations. Youtube is helpful but you must filter the junk. I have a large home with a single system and I am debating on installing two to keep it conditioned, I am also a licensed electrician so an upgrade to the panel is a must for me. It is very doable as the poster said but will take research and discipline, I am very surprised he was able to purchase refrigerant without a license. His advice on local suppliers is dead on, many wont help the public as they only cater to businesses that is why many tools or accessories are doubled in price to deter you from doing your own work. Amazon is one good source for them. I have had problems getting contractor prices but I have my license and had to put the counter people in their place. Ideally you want to have gauges for each type of refrigerant because of cross contamination but it must not be a big deal since these serve the common two. Great review.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2015 3:48:28 PM PDT
MussSyke says:
Thanks. ...my understanding is that you need a license to buy R-22 and the equivalent refrigerants for other applications (i.e., car A/C, refrigerators, chillers, etc.), but not for the newer refrigerants (i.e., R410a, et. al). I believe this is because the newer refrigerants are not nearly as bad for the atmosphere if they are (stupidly, irresponsibly) let to escape.
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MussSyke
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