At AirZone HVAC Services we are committed to providing our customers with honest upfront information. Lately we have seen a number of ductless mini split products available online and from the big box stores advertised as a do it yourself solution. We regularly get asked if an Ottawa homeowner can install their own air conditioner or ductless split system. This articles discusses the pros and cons of a do it yourself air conditioner installation specifically considering Ottawa homeowners. Since the majority of DIY air conditioners that are available direct to consumer are ductless split cooling systems we will focus on these products and answer the question “Can I install my own ductless heat pump/air conditioner system?”
Is It Hard To Install A Ductless Air Conditioner System In My Home?
Every installation is different and some may be more simple than others. If you are particularly handy you may be able to install a single zone ductless air conditioner with no issues. There are many aspects to this installation that include; electrical work, refrigeration work, low voltage controls, drainage, drilling through the home, mounting units on walls and foundations. This means a DIY installation would be considered quite advanced for most.
In order for a technician to work with refrigerants, an apprenticeship program that takes years to complete is required. Which is one of the reasons we think installing your own air conditioner or heat pump is not advised unless you have construction experience.
Pros and Cons of Installing Your Own Air Conditioning System
Pros of installing your own ductless mini split:
Save on Costs: When you install your own mini split you can save on the labour costs associated with having an HVAC company install for you. It is always important to keep in mind how valuable your time is. It may take a homeowner much longer to install than an HVAC professional. You may also save on equipment costs as the direct to consumer products are generally cheaper and have less markup.
Cons of installing your own ductless mini split:
Tools: The tools required to properly install and start up a mini split may not be found in a regular homeowners garage. Things such as coring tools, refrigerant gauges, vacuum pumps and lineset tube benders. Renting these or purchasing them may be more costly than people expect.
Proper design and sizing: HVAC professionals spend years honing their craft. In order to be an HRAI certified heat load designer, courses and tests must be taken. When designing the ductless system, proper sizing and unit selection is very important. Not to mention deciding on placements of units to ensure proper function and efficiencies.
Warranty Issues: When you purchase a system from an HVAC professional you receive comprehensive warranty. When you install your unit yourself you may run into issues down the road finding parts, or worse, finding a contractor who is willing to help you with equipment they did not install. Furthermore, many suppliers will not warranty equipment that was not installed by a trained professional.
Start up and calibration: Without the proper training and tools, proper calibration of a system is nearly impossible. If the system is overcharged or undercharged with refrigerant, a litany of issues can ensue.
Risk of injury: If you are not used to working with electrical, refrigerant and potentially heights, you risk injury when completing a job like this.
Aesthetics: We have seen numerous homeowner installed systems that simply do not hold up to the standards we expect from our technicians. Your home is your sanctuary and an ugly installation can ruin curb appeal.
Proper Materials: Many of the DIY kits come with the bare essentials to complete an installation. At AirZone we pride ourselves on using high end materials and products such as Slim Duct to ensure the system looks as good as it operates!
Our Advice On DIY Air Conditioner Installations in Ottawa
As you can see, the above information clearly highlights the risk in installing your own air conditioner. The cons outweighs the financial savings for most homeowners when considering major factors such as warranty, installation quality, risk of injury/damage, and aesthetics. The reality is that some home projects are better left to the professionals. If you are a construction savvy person that is looking to install your own system, keep in mind that it is possible! With that being said we always caution that people should weigh the Pros and Cons of such a project and we regularly are called out to fix a self installed air conditioning system in the Ottawa area.
If you are looking for an estimate in the Ottawa area on a ductless mini split please call our office at 613-592-5770. Our team of qualified professionals would love to help you evaluate your home and give you options. Many times we can aid homeowners in receiving grants, dropping their utility payments and massively increasing their home comfort!