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What's it take to install central air?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by laketex, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    What\'s it take to install central air?

    Looking at buying a house as a first time home and fixer-upper. Excellent price for the area and everything that we need to start except for one thing...it lacks air conditioning. Being a texas boy, I really like my a/c in the summer. This house is about an 1100 sq. ft. 1 story 3 bedroom/1 bath built in 1963. It has baseboard gas heat. What's it take work and price wise to install central air? I could do most of the work myself and have a few friends up here that do contracting and electrical for the rest...but how much am i getting myself into here?

    Bryan
     
  2. BurbinOR

    BurbinOR 3/4 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    IF you had duct work throughout the house and forced air gas/oil/electric heat, it would be simple. But you have baseboard heating............you'll still need the AC unit in either case but without ductwork you will spend a chunk of $$, if it is even possible to add it now, which I doubt. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  3. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    hmmmmm....maybe not possible?

    perhaps there's a reason this house is on the market so cheap. Anyone else??? /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  4. Stickseler

    Stickseler 3/4 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    My dad owns an A/C place in Denton and use to do these kinds of jobs. I helped when I was in high school. They were a pain but my brother and I could do a small house on a crawl in a few days.
     
  5. ChevyCaGal

    ChevyCaGal 3/4 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    My house is 50+ years old (crawl space underneath, furnance in the attic, a/c in the backyard) and I had central heat and air installed about 18 months ago and love it. Have some places come out and give you written estimates and get some opinions. They'll be able to give you a good idea on the go's and no's of the deal.... you can then decide to do it for yourself, or factor in a few extra grand and have them do into buying the house. I suggest as long to as you are at it, check your insulation. Mine sicks, as in I have basically none and I plan to do something about someday, which will even improve things more.
     
  6. daleearnhardt01

    daleearnhardt01 1/2 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    I think it should be possible. The house me and my parents live in was built in the 50's and we added A/C a few years ago. Everything is up in the attic.
     
  7. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    Are room air conditioners out of the question? Not to hijack the subject or anything.
     
  8. hi pinion

    hi pinion 3/4 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    I am a plumber of 10 yrs,and know a little about a/c.I am sure youll need ducts ran underneath/overhead,if you dont mind doing that,and if you dont already have them.i would suggest the flex style,opposed to the solid style,cheaper,does the same job.you will need a plentum,and some ventilation drafts.youll need to check your local city inspection laws/rules,on where you can mount your condenser unit,outside.youll need a condensation unit,and a fan inside to blow the condensed air(forced air)to the plentum,from the main air duct,then,into the smaller ducts,witch go to each room.you will also need an electrician to run 220v with a fuse box,and on/off switch.thats all i really know cause i do plumbing.ps go get a scratch and ding unit on sale,i got my cond. unit for 335 bucks on sale ,normally 1000.00 bucks!!normally here,they go anywhere from 6-11,000 bucks!!you could do it much cheaper if you install,then you pay for the freon to be administered!!!!HOPE this helps!!!HP
     
  9. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    One big question is, does it have a basement?
     
  10. hi pinion

    hi pinion 3/4 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    Hed be able to mount a fan unit(main blower) inside a closet,if code allows where he is.he could always run the ducts in the attict,unless hes got a flat roof.i think if he runs underneath,they will stay much cooler,unless of course,its on a slab.Slab homes were introduced in cali (most of them,discluding millitary homes,brick)in and around the 70s,his home is 1963,and it will most likely have a raised foud.But in tex,i dunno. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  11. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    Thanks for the info. I'm actually in Illinois and it's a crawlspace underneath...thanks for ideas on prices. Let me ask you this. If I can get a comparable house for $15K more that has central air and a few other touches that we were going to have to change on this house...do you think it's justifiable to do the cheaper house? Or am I looking at more cash in the long run? And where can I find a scratch and dent sale? /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  12. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    Tim,

    I've lived in a house with window units and I thought it sucked. I think if I was to do it, I'd want to do it right the first time.

    Also how about this ductless A/C I'm reading about? Is it efficient? Cost effective?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3268087776
     
  13. SCJimmy

    SCJimmy 1/2 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    You should also look at a combo heat/cool unit that mounts outside the foundation wall, with the supply and return ducts run to it. Pretty common around here for retrofits.

    Puts all of the mechanical/electrical equipment outside in one enclosure, where it can be easilt reached for service.

    The unit is set on a pad, duct work run under the house, electric, gas, etc. hooked up, and it's ready to go.

    Just my .02

    Byron
     
  14. mudjunkie 82

    mudjunkie 82 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    They have what you call mini split systems. You have a small unit that mounts on the inside wall which is the fan unit and the Condensing unit outside. Sanyo makes one that you can have multiple inside units hooked to one outside unit...........
     
  15. hi pinion

    hi pinion 3/4 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    Its your call,on the condition of the house,id get the one 15k more if its worth 15 more.Scratch and ding sales,i dunno when and how often,but there at the big wharehoses they sell them new.I actually talked to an ac guy today and he reccomended you go w/ a split system,descibed above. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gifJAKE
     
  16. justinf

    justinf 1/2 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    Okay, I just did this in my house last summer. I have baseboard electric so I needed ductwork and everything.
    First thing is figure where you will run ductwork. I put mine in the attic since my crawlspace occasionally floods. Also, I put the blower unit in the attic too.
    I used flexible duct to run to all of the air vents (one per bedroom, one in the kitchen, one in each bathroom and two in living room ). Each of these goes back to one premade plenum on the blower unit. All of the supply vents are just a plastic diffuser mounted in the ceiling of each room. I installed one big return duct (12") for the entire house. A tip, use filter grilles for the return, the filters are easily accessible in the house, no going in the attic or crawlspace to change. Outside, I have a 3 ton condensing unit.
    I had to run 120V power to the blower unit inside, and 220V power outside. I also had to mount a thermostat and run some thermostat wiring from it to the blower unit and out to the condensing unit. If you are comfortable working with electricity, this is pretty easy to do, and in IL there is no law saying you have to have a licensed contractor do it. You can do any of the work in your home you want.

    Overall it wasn't too bad, It took me a few weekends, but I did all of the work myself in the middle of summer (almost got heat stroke a few times, but finally got it installed).
    Also, you have to run a copper line set from the coil in the blower unit, to the condensing unit outside.

    Overall, I think I spent about $1300 for all of the materials (no heat, A/C only), but I got a deal since I was able to get all of the equipment at wholesale cost. Also, it is a little cheaper to go with a smaller unit (2 or 2.5 ton) which will cool your house fine, I oversized mine, because it wasn't much additional cost, and I like to be able to drop the house any temperature I want no matter what it is outside.

    Also, think of it this way, if you install central air, you are increasing the value of the house. Especially if you do it yourself and watch for a good deal on equipment, you should increase the value of the house more than what you invest in the project.

    Good luck and feel free to ask if you have any other questions.
     
  17. landsmasher

    landsmasher 1/2 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    [ QUOTE ]
    in IL there is no law saying you have to have a licensed contractor do it.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    As far as I know, this is true in any state. As long as it is done to code and you get a permit.
     
  18. justinf

    justinf 1/2 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    I don't know about any state, but I do know it's the case in IL.
    I also forgot to mention, if you do it yourself, you will need the following tools: vacuum pump to pump the air out of the system, MAPP gas torch to braze the line set in, a set of HVAC gauges to see if the supplied charge of freon is enough for the system. If it's not, you will also need some freon to add to the system.

    Justin
     
  19. Blaze

    Blaze 1/2 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    My house was built in 1939 and it has central air added to it later. The A/C was added 15 years ago when the house was renovated. Of course, it still has an oil furnace, but I'm hoping to change that in the next few years.
     
  20. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    Re: What\'s it take to install central air?

    Allright, i read your posts multiple times and feel i'm familiar enough to ask a little more. It looks like we'll be making an offer on the house in the next week or so. Our first order of buisness is to redo the living room/kitchen area. We will lay down wood flooring, redo the cabinets and appliances, and build an island. We're hoping to get that done by summer and then be able to start on the A/C stuff. Where are you located? Do you have a source for wholesale a/c parts? And if you're close enough to me, do you have any interest in coming up for the final phase of wiring it all out? I dont have any problem setting the units, vents, and ducting, but house electrical is a new beast to me. We'd be willing to pay for your time and expertise...
     

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