Buying your own heating and cooling equipment for the first time can be a bit daunting. Your research may have left you doubting, probably because the advice you have received to the negative came from those who have a financial stake in your decision.
Regardless of what you decide to do, always remember that YOU control your money. When someone says you can't do something, step back and think about the why. If it is because legally you can't, then Ok. But, if it is because "that's not the way it is normally done", really step back and ask yourself why. If you stop to reflect on the naysayers, you will probably find that they are connected to the total potential outlay of your funds for your project.
Big Box stores like Home Depot and Lowe's have not exploded across the country because homeowner's "Can't" do-it-themselves. These stores are great examples of a shift in how people are taking control of their home projects. If you need or want a new faucet for the kitchen, or a new water heater, you go to one of these outlets and purchase the product yourself. You then have the option and personal choice to install it yourself, or contact a plumber who will be happy to install it for you, on a "Time & Material" basis. You can buy and install windows, doors, siding, roofing, plumbing, and lighting. These stores will sell you big scary tools that can cut, maim and if used improperly, can even end your life. But, most people who opt to do-it-themselves, have a respect and understanding that there is a responsibility that goes along with the use of these tools.
So how do the above statements relate to your ability to control all or part of your home heating and cooling project? Just like the example above, there are some risks involved when doing any project. Education and preparation are the tools that reduce risk, not only with HVAC, but with any project.
Some questions you need to ask yourself and answer: Do you control your money? Yes!
Of course you do. Who's name is on your checking account, credit card or deed? Yours! Not ABC Heating & Air. With that said, why shouldn't you be able to decide exactly how you want to proceed?
Is it legal for you to buy your own HVAC Equipment? Yes!
HVAC contractors will try to tell you that it is illegal for you to purchase this type of equipment. Here is something for you to think about. When you buy equipment from your local dealer and he installs it, you have purchased that equipment. I always laugh at that one. When you buy HVAC equipment from online sources, you are essentially buying from a contractor, so what is the difference?
Do you have the ability to install your own Heating & Cooling Equipment? Yes!
Here is where personal responsibility and preparation come into play. Because of the technical nature of Heating and Cooling equipment, you may not be able to do every aspect of your project, and will need to rely on possibly some help from a local technician or installer on a "Time & Material" basis. But, if you again think about the extreme savings that you can realize from doing as much of your project as possible, you will be surprised at how much control you have. When your local all inclusive contractor gives you a price, let's say $8,000 to replace your system, not only are they factoring in PROFIT, but within that you are paying for lots of things that even the least of us in relation to being handy can perform. Can you move the product to it intended location? Sure. You can prepare indoor and outdoor sites, lines and wiring and many of the most minor portions of the project that are built into the PROFIT. Why should you pay for those things?
Given the opportunity to save $1,000, $2,000 or more, is that important to you? I would think so!
When I talk to clients, I am sometimes amazed at how little thought goes into that question. That question has the ability to solidify or separate you from the original idea of doing-it-yourself. Because, if you are only interested in picking up the phone and contacting someone who will do every aspect for you, then you have answered your question. It is not fair to think that you can have both. But, if you understand that the reward of saving thousands of dollars, comes with the responsibility to take some control yourself, then you are ready to proceed. I don't know about you, but if someone told me that if I did the parts of my project that I am capable of doing, and that may require a little work on my part, and, that I could put $2,000 in my pocket, my response would be "SIGN ME UP!"
Do You Control Your own Money? Yes!
Can You Buy Your own Equipment? Yes!
Can You DO-IT-YOURSELF? Yes!
Can You Hire Local Talent to Help? Yes!
Can You Save Thousands of Dollars? Yes!
Then Why Aren't You?
Autor: Jay Boyd
Jay Boyd owns his own heating and air conditioning store Home Air Direct where he helps the do-it-yourselfer save money. His blog site Ask Boyd contains numerous tips and stories involving the HVAC industry.
Added: February 1, 2009