View Full Version : Precharged Quick-Connect Systems

10-01-2003, 02:56 PM
I have been doing mostly residential HVAC installs this past year. One of the dealers asked me to go look at a precharged AC system that had been installed by the homeowner. I was to be paid under the warranty plan if it was a mfg. defect so I agreed.

The homeowner had installed the A-coil in the RETURN.... sideways.... because it wouldn't fit into the supply plenum. To top that.... he FOLDED the A-coil to "make it fit in the return!" LOL! AND he wired the fan control backwards..... LOL! I told him what was wrong and that I could repair it.... he said "No, he would fix it." So as I was leaving I asked for payment... he had the nerve to suggest that I bill it to warranty! Of course, I collected my pay and thanked him when I left..... hehehehheheh! ;)

With more precharged AC systems becoming available to homeowners I can see this happening more often.

11-01-2003, 03:24 AM
He "folded the A-coil?" I think digital cameras should be a part of every service call anymore. What a Kodak moment missed! Cheers to you, subzero for not letting it go to warranty!

On your next call after the owner rectifies everything, please take a picture and post it.:)

11-01-2003, 06:57 AM
In the US, the EPA mandates you have at least a Class II refrigerant license to handle those kinds of systems. And more & more, the government is trying to require a general contractor's license for residential A/C (and heating) replacements/new installs.

How can a typical homeowner be permitted to remove an old system, and install a precharged new system without the licenses?

What did the homeowner do with the old refrigerant???


12-01-2003, 11:39 AM
A few years ago the "pre-charged" systems could be seen on sale in B&Q Depot warehouses but I haven't seen any in the stores for quite some time.

I've never come across any of them installed but then we are not into the home A/C market much in the UK. From memory, the trade mags slated this move into owner installed systems and there was talk of training plumbers how to install them.

Anyone come across them in the UK?


Karl Hofmann
12-01-2003, 07:49 PM
The only units that I have seen are the "semi portable" type with an indoor unit, umbilical and outdoor section that hangs out through the window. The umbilical can be disconnected thanks to a self sealing valve that tends not to seal, but deposit lubricant and refrigerant all over the customers decor. I've seen a few of these used as a permanent installation precariously ballanced on corner shelves installed by a "Professional"

Me thinks he wore a Stetson! :mad:

12-01-2003, 08:12 PM

Got to be careful calling a Stetson wearing chap on this forum :D


13-01-2003, 12:05 AM
Herefishy won't take offense, methinks. I assume you mean "cowboy" with the Stetson remark. There are stetsons and derbies as far as hats go.:)

Collecting money for one's efforts is a noble cause. I have been cheated many times. In my dreams, I take back the equipment, but it is never that simple. It is usually the beginning of negotiations for a reasonable award in the future.

I saw the word "ethnic."

Would that mean "Indian?" In Florida, we have lots of "ethnics."

Hardscrabble people with networks. Chinese restaurant owners, Cubans, Pakistani cab drivers, Bahamian cab drivers, Indian convenience store managers, ......... I cannot even touch the surface of the "ethnics."

And they are tough negotiators. They do not want to pay money to me. They travelled oceans and committed themselves to opportunity lacking in their homeland....and have designs about how they will return to their homeland and make thing better.

If I cannot fulfill their needs, I have no doubt that they will fill their own within their networks. If I cannot, well, there is always natural order.

For me, it is a wake-up call.

13-01-2003, 02:59 AM
I work for new company, less than two years old. I myself have only been involved in this trade for about three years. The company that I work for consists of my boss(sole owner), his wife, who handles the office work and me, employee NO. 1. Working in this enviornment exposes me to everything going on in the company, I almost feel like a partner, a partner who gets 0% share(LOL)! Seeing that I get to do a good amount of bill collecting(lucky me), I get to see first hand the excuses, the avoidance of phone calls, and the just outright scumbags that had no intention of paying in the first place! From my experience, some people raised in other cultures have a differnt way of doing business. It seems to me that our customers that fall into this catergory seem to think that they are going to be cheated, almost like every price is a negotiation, and that they have to be as difficult as possible in making any payments, to get a price that they think is just. Even if that involves not paying until extreme harrassment is in effect. Then they try to cut a deal. By being very straight forward and standing your ground on prices, letting them know you are no fool works on the ones that are tight with their money. Continuous and relentless harrassment is the key to collecting bills that are collectable. Having said all this, I've realized that I have really have not made a point. We still have more past due bills than we care to say. I guess if you have your own business, your going to get screwed on some of your bills, no matter what.

Karl Hofmann
13-01-2003, 08:53 AM
Oops!! Sorry Herefishy, guys. I didn't mean any offence with the Stetson remark, its just that sometimes these guys who install what they have got rather than what is right for the customer really can make my blood boil, Lets give these guys their own company name, say..Bodgitt and Scarper.

I avoid Ethnics of all colours (Including white) at all costs, they want their installation yesterday, cheap, with a discount on top of cheap, with a special discount on top of the discount, and they never stop trying to shave a bit more off the price. To cap it all they then want never ending credit, so Dan I think you're being far too polite to call them "tough negotiators". One such customer took close note of what I did whilst installing a cassette for him last Autumn and is now trading as an air conditioning installation

company:eek: specialising in second hand (Sorry, "Reconditioned") Mitsubishi units, anyone who buys on price alone will obviously buy from him! Perhaps these customers get the tradesmen that they pay for!

As for bad payers, or guys who just wont pay their final part of the bill, well I think that my soloution would be to either disable or remove the components that are easily reached, illegal I'm sure but it would make me feel better!

13-01-2003, 07:46 PM
Dan, AngryK and Karl - got to agree on all points.

We only want paying for our honest, decent labour - why do we get all this hassal?

If only we could see into the future!


14-01-2003, 12:31 AM
Here's a suggestion.........

You can do a compressor job on a reach in cooler for say $500.

On the bill, you put $1,000, BUT if they pay in full immediately on completion, they would get a 50% 'discount' (the origonal $500 to be paid you were going to do it for)

That way, they *think* they are getting a deal, and if they don't, and you go to court, you should be able to get the $1,000 as billed.

This sound like a good idea?


14-01-2003, 12:59 PM
Originally posted by zolar1
How can a typical homeowner be permitted to remove an old system, and install a precharged new system without the licenses?

What did the homeowner do with the old refrigerant???


Anyone can buy a quick connect system in the US... unless their specific state has put regulations on it. It is just like buying an outdoor condensing unit.... it is precharged at the factory... but anybody can buy it. That is because they are buying a system not just the refrigerant. On a precharged system the C.U., suction and liquid lines as well as the indoor coil are precharged at the factory.... all they have to do is insert the male to female connectors and tighten.... a leak check would be nice but I doubt they do.

And DAN: You are absolutely right.... I wish I would have had a camera! Picture this... the owner had placed a plastic drip pan 'under' the return air duct which was about 1 inch off the cement floor and let what water collected run out onto the floor.... I guess at least it wasn't pooling near the furnace when it flowed out????

As for the 'old' refrigerant.... this was the first time AC had been installed would be my guess... otherwise.... who knows??

Karl Hofmann
15-01-2003, 02:15 PM

Looking through my Plumb Center catalogue I noticed the Idrosplit water chiller system. I cant tell if its a snap together system or not, but the marketing is directed at plumbers.
I would suspect that home A/C could be a rapidly expanding market in the UK, six or seven years ago A/C on a car was a luxury, now it's standard.

15-01-2003, 09:30 PM

I agree about the car A/C as everyone started to realise how good it was after they went abroad and hired a car (Sorry US - an Automobile!) that had cooling installed.

I think the UK home market is still some way off as the external temps are still pretty limited even during the "summer" months and we just tend to put up with the discomfort for a few nights each year.

Yes there are the few who are willing to invest but these are few and far between - mainly the white collar workers "et al".

But this brings us back to the other thread about working for Joe Public who is convinced he can get the same deal cheaper else where.

I spent several weeks some years ago during a particularly hot summer just going round surveying company's premises and quoting for cooling but as soon as they heard the price they would say -"well I thought you would just quote me for a couple of fans to do the same job!". Time wasters with no chance of recovering your costs!!!

The majority of UK people do not understand or appreciate what we do or how effective A/C can be for human evels - or if they do they are not prepared to part with the necessary cash to have it as our hot weather does not last for very long.

Mabe thats why we a a company stick to the tried and tested commercial sector.


16-01-2003, 07:27 AM
Very interesting discussion. Without wanting to be branded a racist i can relate to the difficulty in obtaining money from some of our colonial friends. The fact of the matter is they originate from a culture which barters for everything. Go to Bangkok and go shopping one afternoon and youll get the picture. Thats ok in that kind of environment but they cant seperate wheat and chaff and expect everything to be negotiable. I like the idea that Zolar put forward. If they think there getting a bargain theyll go for it.
I know a guy who demands a 50% deposit up front and the rest on completion.

Karl Hofmann
16-01-2003, 08:44 AM

I think the home market is closer than you think. A lot of folk couldn't do without their auto A/C and will pay to have them repaired rather than be hot and sweaty in their cars' but when they get home from their comfortable office in their comfortable cars to their hot and sweaty homes..... Even if they just have a couple of splits, one in the living room and one in the master bedroom.

The UK weather will never be hot enough to really warrent these comfort coolers, but the humidity can be pretty high for a large portion of the year. Add to that that the number of folk who suffer from Hay Fever, the media tell us air pollution is on the increase and the fear of opening your windows because of crime all would suggest to me that comfort cooling in the home could increase rapidly.


16-01-2003, 01:32 PM
I agree with Karl and a few others. It isn't too far down the road and quick connect systems will be a standard for most residential and small commercial systems. It eliminates .... "the middle man" which makes purchasing the system more affordable for the end-user... less chances of a leak (possibly)... no purchase of refrigerant required... no miscellaneous fittings etc. ... no installer fees. :(

16-01-2003, 08:53 PM
The theory about end users seems sound, but what happens to the old system and used refrigerant when the end user decides to do their own change-out?

My guess would be they simply cut a line and vent it.

19-01-2003, 04:20 PM
Zolar, you are probably right about the method they would use to change the system out. And they wouldn't be held accountable like a certified technician... as they never were never tested and registered with the EPA for transition and recovery. :mad:

Most places where I would expect to see home-owners doing their own installs would be on new.... not replacements... but some home-owners probably would do their own replacement just as you said.

Or... they may ask for a certified tech to do just the recovery.... if so.... charge them a "very high price" for the service? ;)

19-01-2003, 05:36 PM
I just reread all the comments on this excellent thread. Something comes to mind:

There is a larger issue to consider. Manufacturers are striving to eliminate the necessity of installation technicians and repair. For all I know, it might be a noble cause.

In the states, a refrigerator on the blink, or a washer or dryer needing repair can be replaced for only two or three times the cost of a repair technician. After considering the expense of disposal and hookup, it is a no-brainer to replace the device regardless of the severity of the malfunction.

There is a value warp approaching the breaking point. Whether it is cars, houses, fridges, a/c units or washers, dryers, computers, or clothing.

The warp is that repair and installation of equipment is being hoarded by the people who manufacture and sell it.

Is our future such that nothing is to be repaired, but only replaced? It seems to be the trend of things.

19-01-2003, 10:14 PM
I agree with you on that Dan. A person can buy a pushmower for under $200.00 with a year warranty from the manufacturer. Even if the mower only lasted 3 years without any service... and I mean without ANY service... just gas it up and mowing... it is still less expensive to replace it than to have a standard tune-up done every year.

Most domestic refrigerators.... if the service call including parts is going to go over $200.00 then the manufacturer might just change it out with a new refrigerator complete. I buy mine from Sears and always renew the warranty because I know that if something major fails they will give me a new refrigerator and haul off the old one.

AC systems are getting to be the same way, a person can buy a 10 to12 SEER condensing unit for $350 and up with a 5 year parts warranty, the indoor coils aren't too expensive about $100 or LESS, and then you have the line-set left to purchase. I've seen window units that cost as much! Of course new installs require more... disconnect etc. But as far as replacement... a person can start as low as $500 and go up to $3000 depending on the systems application, efficiency and the controls used.