I have broken down the process into 13 easy steps. Will you learn everything I know in this article? Of course not. I have written most of my tips and tricks down in ” The Ultimate Furnace Installation Guide ” thats available here Click Here for the Guide
This article will help you do is decide weather you can or should install your own furnace. To be honest most people can install their own furnace, If you have the tools listed below at home, and know how to use them you can install your own furnace.
What if you do not have marginal handyman skills?
Dont worry I have you covered – My guide “Click here for the guide” Shows not only what goes into installing your own furnace, BUT it also teaches you how to hire a subcontractor and still save thousands on a new furnace. The Guide give you the knowledge of how much it should cost to install a furnace verses hiring a contractor blindly without knowing anything about furnace installs. Puts you on an even playing field so to speak.
Step 1. Tool list. Nothing is more frustrating than getting started on a furnace installation job only to find you are missing some of the tools needed to accomplish the job. Most of you already have most of the basic tools you will need. So Heres the list of tools needed.
- Screwdrivers – phillips and regular, Large, medium,
- Small drills, regular or battery powered
- Extension cords and lighting
- Pry bar or flat bar
- Cresent wrenches small and medium
- Pipe wrenches small and medium (sometimes large, im sure you can borrow one)
- Tin snips. Stright , and right handled, left handed are needed sometimes but usually not
- Caulk gun
- Wire Strippers
- Nut drivers – hand and ones for the drill
- Drill bits, cheapie set should do here as you will be using them only once or twice
- Tape Measure
- Sharpie marker
That should just about do it. You will find you need an odd out tool here and there but this is the general list
Step 2. Assessing your home. You are going to need to understand how your home is made and insulated. Do you have new or old windows and doors? Is there any air infiltrating your home via dryer vents, window fans, etc? Do you have a basement? Or is your home on a concrete slab? You will need to know this in order to install the correct equipment in your home.
Step 3. Assessing the Heating/Cooling system and ductwork. This is the most important step. Why? The answer might surprise you, In fact It might even surprise some HVAC contractors.
The equipment must be sized right. Hands down. No exceptions. You might be thinking “Doesn’t the rule ‘the bigger the better’ apply here?” No. Let me rephrase that: Heck no! And here’s why.
I will give you a brief example here.
- If you were to put an over-sized air conditioner in your home, the air conditioner would only run for a few minutes until the thermostat was at the desired temperature. Great you say! The bigger A/C saved me energy by running a short time, and bringing the temperature down super fast! Sorry but WRONG — What’s the problem there?
- Yes, you did cool your home quickly, but what you did not do was remove humidity (water in the air) from your home. The longer an A/C runs, the more water it removes from the air.
- That extra water in the air is what makes you uncomfortable in hot weather. The idea for air conditioning to work is to make you comfortable not cold.
- Cooling down the house super quick will have the opposite effect on you, it will make you cold and clamy.
The same principle applies with a furnace. It must be sized properly. To help you out with choosing the right equipment to install, you will need what is called a Heating and Cooling Load Calculator. As a side note, I have included a free one at www.furnacebook.com . When you land on the home page there is a column on the right hand side of the page, one of the categories says heat cool calculator click on it and it will take you to the calculator.
Step 4. Materials list – Ductwork. It is wise to keep a running list of materials you will need when you go to the store. Perhaps the size of the return needs to be bigger. You no doubt will have to attach the old ductwork to the new furnace. The installation instructions that come with the furnace will tell you the sizes you need for a proper installation. All part of Step 3
Step 5. Materials list – Electrical. As you assess your home as part of step 3, you will be able to determine what your new electrical needs will be. Make a detailed list. Keep in mind that all new furnaces need a ground wire. If you do not have a ground wire on your old power supply, you will have to install one.
Step 6. Materials list – Gas line. Also to be determined in step 3. Hopefully by now you see the wisdom of following this process step by step. Making these lists before you start the installation will help you in the long run. With all of the needed materials on hand, as well as a plan of action, you won’t find yourself on the third day of the install, minus 10 degrees, and having to run to 15 different stores.
Step 7. Yet another Materials List – Miscellaneous. The materials on this list are dependent on the type of furnace you have, or will purchase. Ex: an 80% efficient furnace will require different flue pipe materials than a 90% efficient furnace.
Step 8. Finding local suppliers to work with. This might be your biggest hurdle. In the past, you were kinda strapped into your local area suppliers. Nowadays you have the internet. Use it to your advantage. Doing a google search with the words “furnace goodman” will bring up a surprising amount of information. Always make sure to ask about the warranty. Keep in mind here that buying your own furnace saves you thousands of dollars – even if you end up hiring a contractor to install it for you!
Step 9. Remove power and fuel supply from your existing equipment. Yeah I know, but some folks start ripping things apart, and completely forget this step. It’s a reminder.
Step 10. Secure your existing ductwork into place. Why? There is nothing more heartbreaking than starting to remove a furnace, only to have the existing ductwork fall to the ground at your feet. Not only does this add another day to your job, but also new 4 letter words to your vocabulary. Hence, Step 10. Secure the existing ductwork with cleats and screws.
Step 11. Removing the old equipment. Now that you have turned off all power to the furnace, and have secured your ductwork, you are ready to start removing the old equipment. Once removed, set it off to the side so that you have plenty of working space.
Step 12. Putting it all back together. This section is broken up into 6 sub-sections.
· Aligning the furnace. If this is done right, you will cut down on the amount of work and ductwork you will have to make.
· Attaching the return and boot to the new furnace.
· Attaching old plenum (ductwork leaving old furnace) to new furnace. This is called the transition.
· Reconnecting the gas line, and testing for leaks.
· Running the flue pipes to remove the spent fuel gases.
· Reconnection of the thermostat and high-voltage power supply.
Step 13. Starting up your equipment. Usually the instructions from the manufacturer will tell you exactly how they would like the new furnace started and tested. Follow their instructions as closely as possible.
There you have it. Twenty years of experience wrapped up in 13 easy steps. If you are thinking of installing your own furnace, I hope this helps you out.
Copyright Gatto Publishing 2008
Although this article is not comprehensive, it should help you decide if you want to tackle a job like this. I believe with minimum handy man skills and my guide, anyone can install their own furnace. A complete and comprehensive guide on how to install your furnace can be found here – Click Here