New heat pump

My house is over 30 years and so is the furnace and air conditioning unit. I've decided to replace them with a much more efficient heat pump. My air conditioning was added on and is the 'packaged' (all-in-one) type. I've never liked the way it is hooked into the house duct system. An insulated hose-type duct T's into the metal house duct. In the winter time the heat goes through this duct to the outside, and vice versa in the summer. In the winter I disconnect the duct and stuff it with insulation to keep the heat in. The new heat pump system won't have this problem since the air handler will reside in the house and there won't be any external ducting. I'm going to use the old air conditioner to cool my garage.

Because I'm a do-it-yourselfer and because I'm cheap I wanted to do as much of the project as I could myself. I have a friend who does HVAC who will do the final connections and freon filling for me.

I called around for prices on heat pumps. Most places won't give you a price if you're not a licensed HVAC guy. So, I turned to the internet. After considerable searching I decided on a 3-ton, 12 SEER heat pump from Goodman. They also make the Janitrol brand my brother has. He likes his unit.

I ordered a package from Ingrams Water & Air. The package included the CPLJ36 condensor, ARUF42 air handler, 10kW auxiliary heat, and Robertshaw 9620 thermostat for $1425. Freight was about $125. I ordered installation supplies from Alpine Home Air. I would have ordered everything from Alpine but their system was about $400 more than Ingrams.

NOTE: There are a lot of ways a person can seriously screw up (money/death/destruction) when installing HVAC systems. If you're not sure what you're doing, then hire a professional.

Here is the new air handler. I've already unwrapped most of it.

The new condensor.

Here are the installation supplies from Alpine Air. The kit has the suction/liquid lines, electrical line and disconnect, pad, and other pieces.

The first thing I did was remove the old furnace. I shut off the breakers, verified there was no power at the wires, then disconnected the power and thermostat wires.

I set the furnace aside.

30 years of dust.

I'll have to modify the mounting base for the new air handler.

I'll only be using one of these sets of wires for the new air handler. I disconnected the other at the breaker box, and verified this with a voltmeter.

The old furnace used 4 heating coils. The auxiliary heater with the air handler has two coils, and only requires one 60-amp connection. This actually was a blessing. Whoever the rocket scientist was who wired the A/C before wired the outside A/C on the same 60-amp breaker as one of the heating element pairs. It wasn't a problem as the furnace and A/C never ran at the same time, but it seemed a little iffy to me. Now everything will have its own breaker.

It was a beautiful summer day, so I decided to do some outside work. I plan to add some dirt on this side of the house for better drainage so I used concrete blocks to raise the condensor off the ground several inches.

When the blocks were level I filled them with gravel and dirt to solidify the setup.

I set the condensor pad in place.

I unwrapped the condensor...

...and set it in place. Pretty. I'll hook up the power near the end of the project so I can keep the old A/C running.

Click here to continue with the HVAC project.

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