DIY Air Conditioner Replacement Part 1 -Step By Step Guide- (2023)


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Welcome back guys to the handyman for hire youtube channel.

Today, I'm going to be showing you how to replace your ac system um.

This is not a super technical job.

There is some technical aspects to it, but you can definitely do this yourself and save a ton of money.

Now I know a bunch of you.

Haters are going to be saying, leave this to the professionals, but you, as a homeowner are totally allowed to replace your ac unit.

If you wish to do so, and you can save upwards of four thousand dollars doing this yourself, even after buying some little specialty equipment, uh tools that you might need so to begin with, you will definitely need a gauge set.

You can find these at a pawn shop.

You can get them on amazon, I'll, put a link to some gauges that you can get on amazon.

I would recommend getting these quick connect fittings.

They work super well still some residual freon in there and they basically will keep a bunch of freon from coming out when you connect and disconnect these.

I always recommend using gloves, regardless of what type of hoses you're using, but these ones.

This is kind of like a mix match setup that I used, but I'll put a link to the gauge set in the description.

Definitely something that you'll need to purchase in doing this job yourself as we go through this video.

We'll talk about the other items you might need so to start with.

If your system is running and it's just- maybe it has a leak or maybe you just want to upgrade the system.

I'm going to show you how you can avoid having to recover the freon into a tank, how you can pump it into this condensing unit seal it off, and you can then cut these lines and then you can do whatever you want with the condensing unit.

You can throw it on ksl craigslist, whatever facebook and someone will come, they'll probably pay you 20 bucks to pick up the old condensing unit and it's as easy as that.

So, let's get into it and we'll show you every aspect of this job and how you can save a ton of money doing this job yourself, so we're just gonna hook our gauge.

The high side will always go to this low or small line, and then our blue hose is our low side.

It's going to go to the larger suction line.

Now I'm going to show you a trick if your system is still functioning but you're going to be replacing it, I'm going to show you a trick to getting the freon all into this unit so that you can open up the lines and replace the unit so start by removing this cover.

So you can get to all the electronics here now, if you have a locked up compressor and the compressor is not working and you want to do this job yourself, I'd probably recommend just calling a contractor and having them remove the freon with a recovery machine.

I could do this, but being as the unit's running or it's still functioning, I'm going to show you how to pump all the freon into this unit.

You can do this yourself.

Very easily, okay, so now that we have our gauges hooked up, we're just going to remove these two caps and we're going to get an allen head.

These are kind of universal in the hvac world, but you can just get a regular allen wrench, and what we're going to do is we're going to start by completely closing off this liquid line the high side, so we're just going to crank this down all the way until it stops all right now for our low side, this uh vapor side, we're gonna, start closing this off we're gonna close it all the way and then we're gonna back it off about two or three turns it's locked down.

Now we're going to back it off just a few turns, and now we're ready to start this process all right.

So the next thing we're going to do is we're going to press in this contactor this little middle piece right here and what that's going to do is it's going to turn the compressor on, so you can do that manually and turn that on, and so what we're going to do is we're going to open this low side and then, as soon as we start, holding this contactor down, we'll notice that the the pressure here will start to drop.

So what we've done here is we've installed this little hard start kit on our capacitor.

All it is is two wires.

These are about 10 bucks on amazon.

If your compressor is not wanting to kick over, you can put one lead on the hermetic, pin one on the common and notice.

Now what will happen see? We heard our compressor kick on now it's gonna pump down and when we're just about at zero, we're gonna crank this all the way down and lock all of the freon into the condensing unit, we're at about 10 psi now and we're just about at zero.

So we're gonna crank this down all the way lock.

It and then you're good.

Now all of your freon is locked into the condensing unit and you did not have to have any special equipment super easy to do and again, if your compressor is not kicking on, if only the fan is coming on, when you press that contactor in you can go on amazon and get one of these I'll put a link in the description.

These are great to put on a brand new system as well, because they give the compressor it's like a little battery.

It saves energy and it gives the compressor an extra jolt of energy or amp burst when it first starts, and so these will actually save you just a little bit of energy.

Every time your unit kicks on they're, just called made by supco super boost, and they have different sizes and, like I said, there's just two pins they're very easy to install and yeah.

So now that we've got all of our freon pulled into this unit, we are ready to cut our lines and we can disconnect the electrical and pull this unit aside.

All right.

So now that our system is all the fridge refrigerant is contained to this unit, we're going to go ahead and pull our disconnect.

One thing you can do is flip these, and you can store it in here without having power to it, so it doesn't fall off and now what we're going to do is we're going to disconnect our electrical now that we don't have power here and we are going to cut our freon line set after which we can move this unit back.

So the first thing we're going to do is take our locking nut off of our conduit here, grab a flat blade, screwdriver and we're going to take our leads off I'll.

Show you how to reconnect this when we're installing the new one.

Obviously it's very easy: you can't really mess it up.

Electrical is disconnected.

I always like to take this lock nut, put it back on for safe keeping.

So the next kind of specialty item is a pipe cutter.

You might have one of these laying around from uh plumbing jobs.

You may have done so we're just gonna go through here, might have to bend this a little bit and we're just gonna cut our lines.

If you have a little bit of residual gas coming out, it's uh understood even with the epa, you saw that's as little as came out.

More actually comes out when you connect and disconnect your line set.

So it's understood through the epa that some refrigerant is going to come out.

It's inevitable, but definitely a no-no to open this up and let it go into the atmosphere, all right.

We're going to do our large line now and once we're done with this.

All we'll have left to do is disconnect our thermostat wire.

All right now I will mention, if you have a scenario in which you have a compressor burnout.

That's a common! Actually, I shouldn't say common, it's very uncommon to have a burnout.

In fact, in the past five years I haven't seen one of those I've maybe seen one or two in my whole 10 year career, but in the past five years I've never seen one.

What happens is the compressor windings will come apart and it would put this burnt nasty stuff into the lines and as soon as you open this, this will hit you in the face, the smell of it, and you will know 100 that it's burnout and you'll see inside here, it'll be all black.

This is nice and clean, so we don't have to worry about flushing the system out.

If it was a burnout, I would recommend flushing the system getting rid of all of those contaminants, otherwise you're going to have issues.

So we just pulled the thermostat wires out they're, just two wires that were wire nutted in here.

Just take them off.

The polarity does not matter set it aside and our unit is totally free now.

So if you do have a compressor burnout, what I would recommend doing is just having a professional come out and you can have a smaller company like myself come and just recover.

The refrigerant put it into a tank, a separate tank, and then you know it might cost a couple hundred bucks to do that and then what you could also have them do is flush the lines while they're here most smaller companies would be okay with doing that.

For you, if not I'll, have another video that shows how to flush the line set out, but for sure a company would come and recover the system, no problem just call around and see who can do it so we're at this stage.

We can go ahead and disconnect our gauges and we can go ahead and pull our unit off this little pad here all right, so we got our new system here.

This is a goodman.

All goodman systems come with a five year warranty.

Obviously, if you're doing this yourself, I think it's worth just having the experience of knowing how to do this job out of the box.

These come with a five year warranty.

If you have a specialty contractor, do it it's a 10 year warranty, but that's not to say that the unit will not last over 10 years.

I would be totally fine if I was not a specialty contractor to buy one of these and install it, and I'd feel comfortable about just having that five year warranty, especially given the fact that you're saving upwards of four thousand dollars all right, so we're going to set our unit on our pad our lines match up perfectly all right.

So now that we got our unit set in place, we're gonna open this panel.

There we go all right so now that we've got our unit setting in place, we're gonna go ahead and install our electrical back, so we're gonna take that wire nut or that locking nut back off we're gonna feed it through and then we're gonna feed our lock nut over these wires feed this in thread our nut on and then make our attachments.

So this does not matter in terms of polarity.

These are just giving 110 volts to either side of this contactor.

So we're just going to loosen one side here, feed our wire in clamp.

It down same thing on the other side open it up, make sure that all the strands are contained.

None of them are coming out slide it in all the way, clamp it down.

And lastly, we have our ground it's going to go on this little plug right here or porch, rather loosen that up beat it in all the way and lock it down, and that is it.

On the electrical very simple on the high voltage, I should say the only thing left we have is our low voltage, thermostat wire as you'll notice right over here, we're going to feed this in through this hole, pull these wires out feed it in through that hole and that's how we're going to make our connections again.

The polarity does not matter.

This is just sending a 24 volt signal to the condensing unit here and that's it just tuck those back in there and just let this hang out on the bottom.

You can secure it later on after we're done all right, so we're actually done inside of this panel now so we're just gonna pop that back on all right.

So the next thing that we're gonna do is we're gonna, take a little piece of sandpaper or emery cloth and we're just gonna clean up this pipe here, both sides.

So we have a nice brazing surface all right, so those are nice and clean.

I'm gonna pop our cap off remove this and set it aside.

I usually will just uh stick this over here on the side of the unit and what we're going to do now is we're going to fit our lines in place exactly where we want them so that when we start doing our braising, we will be ready so that one's good and that one's good man I love replacements, new installs, is a lot more tricky.

You have to bend these lines exactly how you need them and but with a replacement, it makes it really nice and easy.

So this is exactly where we want it on our pad.

So I might kick the pad that way.

A little bit perfect, so we're centered on our pad.


What we're going to do is we're going to transition to the inside unit and we're going to show you how to disconnect that and set our new unit in place, go ahead and grab this bring it with you inside, because you'll need it.


Can I replace my AC unit myself? ›

If it is time to have your HVAC unit replaced, you may be curious if you can install your unit by yourself. Getting a new unit can help you save money on your energy bills and ensure that you have a long-lasting machine. It's important to know that you never want to install it yourself.

Where is my AC reset button? ›

Look for it first around on the exterior of your machine, especially along the bottom edge near the ground. An AC's reset button is typically red and visible, so it should be easy to spot. If you don't see a reset button on the outside, it could be located inside the unit behind the service panel.

What happens if I install AC myself? ›

Working with ductwork, carrying heavy equipment, and ensuring wiring are done safely and correctly is time-consuming, particularly if you're not used to it. Long-term expenses – If you install your new AC unit yourself, you risk voiding the warranty because most require them to be installed by licensed technicians.

What is the most expensive part of an AC unit to replace? ›

One of the most expensive parts of your AC unit is the compressor. As the heart of your system, the compressor is responsible for circulating the refrigerant through the system, which is responsible for cooling the air in your home.

Does putting a wet towel over a fan make it cooler? ›

The expert suggests hanging the wet towels near your fan, where the water will evaporate and help to draw heat away from the air. 'It is worth noting that fans do not actually lower the temperature of the air, but they can make it feel cooler by creating a wind chill effect.

Does putting a bottle of frozen water in front of a fan work? ›

All you have to do is freeze an empty one litre plastic bottle, place it on a tray and cover with a damp cloth. Position this in front of the fan so the breeze is cooled from the iced bottle and your room will benefit from the cooler temperature. It couldn't be easier.

Do you put ice in front or behind a fan? ›

You will get a higher rate of cooling by placing the ice in front of the fan, since there is more airflow per unit area in front of most fans than behind them (fans draw air from a wider arc and then push the air out though a narrow arc).

Why is my air conditioner not blowing cold air but running? ›

If your air conditioner is running, but not lowering temperatures inside, one issue could be a blocked or clogged condenser coil. When operating correctly, the condenser fan draws air into the outdoor unit through the condenser coil to pull heat energy out of your home.

Why is my AC not blowing cold air? ›

Malfunctioning thermostats, dirty filters or compressors, and low refrigerant levels are just a few of the culprits for an AC not blowing cold air. HVAC systems last for about 15 to 25 years before the compressor wears out, but if the unit isn't that old, then a few common solutions might just get it working again.

What causes an AC compressor to stop working? ›

Reasons Why Your AC Compressor Has Stopped Working

It is important to examine the unit to find the problem. Some of the common issues include tripped circuit breakers, broken thermostats, dirty and dusty air filters, or a blown fuse. Clogged or dirty filters often cause an AC compressor to stop working.

Do DIY air conditioners really work? ›

Not much of one. For a well-built DIY AC unit made from a cooler or a large bucket, you might get 1-2 degrees cooling for a very, very short time. One reason a beer cooler works is because it has a small, air-sealed space to cool down.

What liquid makes AC work? ›

Freon, when used in a home, circulates through your AC systems series of refrigerant lines. freon travels through this system and undergoes a series of processes. First, the AC compressor compresses the freon gas making it very hot.

How long does it take to replace an entire AC unit? ›

A typical air conditioner installation typically takes between 4 and 8 hours to complete. These times can fluctuate depending on the size of the existing system, weather, and accessibility. Air conditioners are made up of two components: the indoor evaporator coil and an outdoor condenser.

How long does it take to replace just the AC unit? ›

On average, it will take between 4 to 8 hours to replace an air conditioner. If you are replacing both your furnace and air conditioning unit at the same time, then the job will take between 8 to 14 hours.

How many years does an air conditioner last? ›

Unlike furnaces, air conditioners are often outdoors and exposed to extreme temperatures throughout the year, which shortens their life expectancy. Modern air conditioners can last between 15-20 years, and older air conditioners last around 10-12 years.

Do you have to replace the line set when replacing AC unit? ›

It's the same with HVAC installations. Deciding whether to install a new refrigerant line set during an HVAC installation is kind of like getting a new range. If your existing line set meets manufacturer specifications for the new HVAC system, you can usually reuse it.

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