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Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm getting my 15 year old AC system ripped out and replaced with an efficient 18 SEER unit.

Of course, with any project like this, I require a job that's above and beyond the standard AC contractor job. Cory (my brother) and I have spent the last week deciding on how this whole project is going to go down. So, we wrote a few lists.

The owner / operator (Scott Russo) of American Air is coming by on Friday, so we have a few questions:


1. Can we add a filter that's attached to the AC unit on the return? We're looking for a cheap-o backup filter that will come after the filters at the return grills (upstairs and downstairs)
2. We are leaving 20" at back of "new closet" that we cut open a the back of the stairs. Is this enough room?
3. Can we put the return at top of stairs (not on the landing, over the stairs)?
4. Is the attic unit 220 volt? (want to know how to wire the unit)
5. We will remove the duct that goes up into the chase to the second floor. Will you bring ducts to replace it? Will you be using flex for the downstairs ducts and the downstairs return? What size (since Cory and I believe the big return should be upstairs).
6. Can the unit utilize two thermostats?
7. How will the unit be oriented in the attic?
8. Where will the utilities (gas, electric) terminate in the upper attic?
9. We will remove all of the existing ducts in the upper attic so they will have to re-duct the two upstairs bedrooms and add a vent into the bathroom. Will you make sure to bring ducts to do this?

Here are the parts that the installers won't do so, this will have to be pre-install work for Cory and Eric to do over the weekend:

1. Electrical line from small panel (adding a 20amp breaker to the secondary panel) to garage attic and up to upper attic (#12 3 wire)
2. Verify side yard plug is 220 volts and active and confirm it's on one breaker (label it), if not, FIX IT!
3. Run gas line from garage attic to upper attic (measure pipe length to the wall and up through void)
4. Open up strip of sheet rock for copper tubing that stops 4" down from the ceiling  and goes all the way to the floor (this sucks because I just had the sheet rock in the garage repaired and painted)
5. (Optional) rip 4X8X.5 sheets of plywood in half for walking in garage attic (22 feet across)
6. Check opening of void between the upstairs bedrooms for opening into upper attic and open up if necessary. Don't forget to remove more 2"X4" and make the opening to the void wider at the bottom. Note: This will be the main "highway" for the gas line, freon lines, condensation drip tubing and electric for the new placement of the AC.
7. Clean  the void for screw tips and protrusions (don't want to get our hands all scraped up screws in the back of the patch that was done in the corner of my current bedroom)
8. Open back ~21" of 'new closet' to create a chase (and box out the rest for the floor of the new closet)
9. Open scuttle to upper attic (box out the rough opening) - 25" X 30" minimum: use a Werner "Televator"
10. Remove all ducts and registers from upper attic (show where register should go in the bathroom)
11. Rip 4' X 8' sheets of cheap plywood for upper attic decking (so they are at least 2' wide)
12. Create 4' X 8' platform (3/4") up on 3 2"X4"s on end, leaving it loose for the installers to orient
13. Run an overflow drip line above front door
14. Run the AC condensation line down to pecan tree roots (down void) - to eave in the corner, so it goes into the rain barrel

Day of instructions for installers

1. Instruct installer to use open strip up to the ridge then up the void NOTE: Water heater is going here. Clearing out the void will happen before the install.
2. Make return and downstairs air at the BACK of the closet
3. Use 2 round ducts down the chase to the downstairs (back 21" of the closet) and bring them all the way to the floor on the first level. (supply does not have to be as long)
4. Drop thermostat wire down chase for side of main hallway

So that's it. It's going to be one hell of a weekend.

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