DIY Heating

3 responses

  1. Larry
    June 20, 2014

    Hi Tim,

    I have had the opposite experience with "Professionals". In my Girlfriend's home her heat exchanger went bad again on her FHA oil furnace. (first was replaced under warranty, she had to pay labor).

    She had had "Professionals" add ductwork to go to the upper floor. What they did was to put the duct up where the return air was. They replaced the return air connection with One 8 inch connection!

    Not enough return air, overheated heat exchanger, cracked twice.

    The "Professionals" that replaced the first heat exchanger said nothing, The "Professionals" that cleaned the system said nothing.

    OK, I was done with "Professionals". I did have a friend in HVAC, and was reluctant at first, but he told me I could do it myself quite well. He really convinced me when he said he paid his installers under $10 an hour!!!

    A new dented $600 furnace, redoing the return and supply plenums, adding a bunch of return air, and her system is 4 years much better comfort and reliability than "Professions" have done.

    Don't be so glib about how DIY can be done. I will be doing my Gas furnace, but will be using a "professional" to drain the R22, charge the new system and connect to gas, but I doubt I will ever trust that a "Professional" can do it better than I can.

  2. Sue
    December 7, 2014

    Hi Tim,
    While I agree that furnace installation is not an easy task, it's not impossible if you have good resources to go to for guidance. It's been a while (27 years) since my husband and I installed our own gas furnace in our home We managed quite well. I'm not HVAC trained and at the time we were total novices at DIY construction. I was a photographer (with skills as a crafter and from helping my dad with his projects before I moved to my own house), and my husband a musician (with NO construction skills at all). It was our 1st time as homeowners and we had purchased a HUD house that had an old gravity furnace (coal to gas conversion). After our 1st winter it was obvious we needed something better, but we had no money....luckily my dad was an old school farm boy trained as an electrical engineer. He had bought a used gas furnace at auction for us, but lived too far away to install it for us. However, with guidance from him via phone calls, and additional advice from the maintenance man where I worked, we managed to install it ourselves. We researched the proper materials to install it according to code and found a sheet metal fabricator to build the new plenum - which we then installed. The local professional plumbing supply place threaded the gas pipe for us in store. My dad talked us through the wiring and the plenum installation via phone calls. Once done, we had a local HVAC service person come in and inspect our work before we turned it on. It really wasn't that hard. Now it is true that since we didn't have central air, we didn't need to deal with hooking that in, but the rest of the job was not all that difficult. The trick, of course, was having a number of knowledgeable resources to draw on (and being young and willing to tackle anything).

    We are now in need of a new system as the furnace is over 30 years old and parts are not available to fix it. My dad is gone now as is the old maintenance man where I had been working. We would like to switch to an electric furnace as my doctor has been advising me to get rid of the natural gas for years due to my health problems. We are not in a position to hire someone to do this for us (still starving artists), and are looking for information on installing it you have any advice for switching out an old gas furnace for a new electric one? We still have no central air, so that's not a problem - at least not an installation problem. We are nearly 30 years older than when we first tackled this job....and my husband has not cultivated his DIY skills in the interim..(we have installed an electric water heater along with installing a new 220 breaker for it and know we will need to install another 220 breaker for the furnace - our service has room for exactly one more 220). We are wondering if installing an electric plenum heater in the old plenum and using the fan/blower that we already have in the old gas furnace would be viable. We are currently heating with space heaters, but once the weather hits single digits, that will not be adequate. Any advice you can give us (models of furnaces, suppliers, etc. would be a blessing. Thanks.

  3. Dave
    November 23, 2015

    If you have the time this is indeed a decent DIY project

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