Relocating External Unit - Heat Pump

saltidawgSeptember 2, 2011

Last year I got lots of help here and ended up having a new Carrier Heat pump and Oil Furnace installed.

I have discovered that I had them install the external unit in a location that encroaches on a property easement. In that I am going to be selling my house in the Spring, I have decided to relocate the external unit and remove the encroachment. It will have to move about twenty feet around the corner of my house.

What are some of the tasks that will need to be accomplished? Will I need to replace the tubing set with new? I know new electrical will need to be run.

Can I get a sense for what it is going to cost? Hundreds? Thousands? (No prep will be required for the new location and access appears not to be an issue.)

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Oops. I can see that the existing tubing set will be short a few feet, even if it can be re-used.

My initial installer is coming out next week to give me an estimate.

Can you give me a sense of what it is going to cost?


    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 9:55AM
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Plan on at least one day. One install tech with helper. I would try to find a location where existing lineset and other materials including electrical can be reused.

I would think around 750-1K if lineset can be reused. If not, more.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 11:31AM
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No easy task for sure.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 12:14PM
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Saltidog...long time no see! I remember when you were having the work done, you had done some excellent research before going ahead with the work.

If your line set is a few feet short, it would be easy enough for someone to braze in what you need. Will the electrical lines reach the new location?

The estimate that Tiger gives is pretty much within the scope of what you can expect in your area. Right now, any areas hit with the latest hurricane might see a bit of an increase if the companies are really busy. I researched more, the company you had to do the initial installation and they are a good company. Rumor has it they may give you a bit of a break on cost :-)

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 4:34PM
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Do be aware that there are finite limits on how long line sets can be, in particular for heat pumps.

Going to a longer line set may also mean that you may need some additional refrigerations specialties to protect the compressor, such as crank case heater, TXV if you did not have one before, and a few other items that will depend on your unit and what you already have. None of these are very expensive, but just wanted to let you know that they might be needed, so you don't think the installer is just trying to pad the bill.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 4:58PM
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maryland irisman,

Good to hear from you also! I am really kicking myself as I had the info as to where the easement was and simply did not make the connection.

To obtain a partial release from the easement would cost me about $1500 for a full survey and probably $500 more in legal fees. AND I can not be 100% positive that the County would approve the request.

If I could get the powers that be to stand on my deck and view the A/C unit if they have any common sense they would laugh at the very idea that this is even an issue.

Originally, I had planned to locate the outside unit UNDER my porch, not in the easement area and thus "legal." While Carrier's literature says this would be OK, a lot of experienced folks here suggested I was looking for trouble if I did that - and I totally respect and value the collective judgement at this forum.

To move around the porch corner would require "Stretching" the one-year-old lineset 3-4 feet. My power cables and control wires would also need a few more feet, although the power cable itself might be long enough if routed differently.

I'll get back to you next week and see what my installer has to say.

Have a good long weekend everyone.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 5:10PM
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"To move around the porch corner would require "Stretching" the one-year-old lineset 3-4 feet. "

If you can find a decent technician adding a short length t a line set is very simple.

They already have the equipment for brazing the lines.

While a 'no joints' connection is preferred, a correctly done joint is NOT a big deal.

You need to check if the labor of removing and trying to re-use the set is even worth it.

It is a lot easier to install new from a coil and not be trying to deal with already bent tubing.

Watch out for anyone that claims extending a line is a problem.
Using it over (remove and use differently) may be more costly.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 3:38PM
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Paid $700 last year to have my heat pump condensing unit relocated by a licensed and insured HVAC company. Price inlcuded new line set and new electrical run. HVAC company was already on site installing a mini split so I'm pretty sure I got a better price than just having the relocation work done.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 10:39AM
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I talked to the person that installed my new Heat Pump and furnace last year. He said it is his slack time and he would welcome the work.

Price wise he is going to work with me and from memory he sees two men for a full day.

I would remove shrubbery and level the new location myself. He estimates in the $750 to a $1000 range for his work. He would have to pull a new County Mechanical Permit and would re-use the Manual J he performed last year.

We are continuing to pursue investigating the remedy of obtaining the County's granting a partial release for the easement to accommodate the encroachment. This would be preferable as the existing location is perfect.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 9:42AM
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Gosh, that was a pretty good guesstimate I made earlier.

Good luck on your project and getting a variance on the easement.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 10:08AM
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"re-use the Manual J he performed last year. "

He is not changing equipment, just extending lines.

The manual J is how you size the equipment.

Installing it is not part of a manual J.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 10:18AM
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However the County requires a Manual J if one relocates the outside unit. It is part of the permitting requirement.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 10:47AM
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Would I be wasting money if I required a new lineset rather then simply adding tubing and re-bending?

Any sense for the difference in cost? (Going from 25' run to maybe 30' run.)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 10:50AM
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What does your dealer say about this?

I see nothing wrong with extending the line set by a few feet.

However, I would want a tech who had performed this before, certainly no novice.

Weigh the cost of extending line set VS new lineset. If you do decide to replace, keep the old line set, strip it clean and sell for copper value.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 11:49AM
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He did not mention a new lineset.

I was just thinking (?) out loud.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 3:27PM
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An update.

I sent a lengthy E-mail to the County detailing my plight... I offered a solution and we'll see what they say.

It's going to cost me about the same to apply for a waiver or bite the bullet and move the condensor. (~$750-$1000 either way.)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 8:48PM
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In the Final Analysis, it was going to cost me ~$750-$1000 to relocate the outside compressor unit.


It was going to cost about the same or even a little more to pay a surveying company and a lawyer to obtain a release from the County to allow me to keep the outside unit where it is.

Instead, I put together an E-mail to the acting Head of Permitting Services here in Montgomery County, copy to my County Council person. I attached to the E-mail some documentation and also a link to a Flip Video I created ... this 84 second video showed my property setting and showed the location of the compressor relative to my back porch and relative to my .73 Acre wooded lot.

I got immediate assistance and downloaded an Application for a "Revocable Permit" which my wife and I signed and had Notarized. I attached a copy of my Plat Plan which I had updated using Paint to show the "offending" Heat Pump.

The County Permitting folks got the County Attorney's Office to sign off on it and I walked it over to the Courthouse where it was recorded with my home's Deed.

Like my split rail fence, the heat pump is now "legal" and recorded as so on my deed. If the County ever had the need to have these items removed for any reason, it would be at my or subsequent owner's expense.

One look at my property would convince you that thais would never come up.

Thanks for the help.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 5:18PM
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I forgot to mention, zero cost for the permit; $60 fee to record with my Deed.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 5:53PM
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Congrats Salti,

A rare win by a homeowner.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 6:49PM
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