Discuss Fitting your own air con unit? in the UK Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

HappyHippyDad

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I have a large gym in the garden and it gets ridiculously hot in the summer.

I have utilised pretty much every inch of space and do not want to put a plug in air con unit that sits on the floor as it would just be in the way.

What puts me off a wall unit is the fact you have to get an F-gas registered engineer to fit and these guys are quite expensive. I would like to do it myself.

I have seen this unit Buy electriQ Easy-Fit 12000 BTU A++ WiFi Smart Wall-Mounted Split Air Conditioner with Heat Pump and 4.5-Meter Pipe Kit from Aircon Direct - https://www.aircondirect.co.uk/p/865335/1000-btu-panasonic-powered-easy-fit-inverter-wall-split-air-conditioner-with-5-meters-pipe-kit-and-5-years-warranty
which states it does not need an F-gas engineer to install.

Does anyone have any experience with these units? Are they equally as good as the ones that contain fluorinated gases?

Any other clever ideas?
 
Seems fairly plug-n-play…. Just go for it. It shouldn’t be a problem.

I always think there should be someway of utilising the energy spent by the average gym user, converting to electricity and stored in a battery.
 
Not that exact make and model but I have fitted them before.
They are really straight forward to install, fit the two units, pipe up between them, wire it up jobs a goodun!
The ones I have fitted come with the gas in them ready, once installed turn the isolators for the refrigerator circuit on and that will release the liquid/gas for the refrigeration circuit.
The only thing is that I couldn't see a way to check that the couples for the fridge side didn't leak.
Sy
 

I have fitted similar in the past, before f gas regs came along.
The instructions will tell you that you should pressure test pipework and vacuum the air out before opening the valves to introduce refrigerant.
 
The gas used is R290 which is basically propane, its a great gas for A/C systems in terms of efficiency so no issues there, its main stumbling block (not really an issues for you) is it does not scale well as you need gas detection and ventilation systems to manage the build up of propane should a leak occur. Just be aware that you have , in effect, a bottle of propane sitting in the gym and take appropriate measures.

The disadvantage of the pre-piped systems is the fit, as the pipe is pre-prepared at a certain length so you need to consider how to use up the pipe to make it look good. it is the opposite of when an a/c engineer fits a system where the location of the indoor unit is first choice, location of outdoor unit and then the pipes are custom fit.

I moved to fitting a/c systems after having got fed up with being asked to run power to a/c units only to see the nice work going to the a/c engineers. You could always take the C&Gs course, buy some essential equipment, join Refcom and fit your own as a test site and then make money on A/C as the planet heats up :cool:
 
I think with those DIY units only one side of them is pre-gassed so when you pipe it up you need a vacuum pump to get the air out before you release the gas into the closed system.

I fitted one a few years ago from the same place but it had a different method of fitting, both sides were gassed and sealed and it had a quick type connector you just plugged together and it all worked without any extra work. Cant seem to find that version anywhere now, worked perfectly for years as well.


I think it also seals itself again if you disconnect the two unions again.
 
I have fitted my own in both the bedroom and living room. Pretty straightforward, I did not get the ones with the quick connect pipework.

Just a matter of mounting and interwiring then running 1/4" and 3/8" pipework between them and plumbing a drain. (you do need proper pipe insulation)

Given the cost saving over getting them fitted, we just bought a 2nd hand vacuum pump and the gauges/pipework in order to test the pipework before we opened the unit (pregassed).

We still saved a bunch of cash - and of course could sell the pump and gauges on for similar to their purchase price.

I think it's pretty important to ensure the pipework is good before letting the gas in.
 
I think I'm going to get someone to fit it! Pipes, vacuum pumps, insulation! 😣

I just want it to click together and press play.
 
I have fitted my own in both the bedroom and living room. Pretty straightforward, I did not get the ones with the quick connect pipework.

Just a matter of mounting and interwiring then running 1/4" and 3/8" pipework between them and plumbing a drain. (you do need proper pipe insulation)

Given the cost saving over getting them fitted, we just bought a 2nd hand vacuum pump and the gauges/pipework in order to test the pipework before we opened the unit (pregassed).

We still saved a bunch of cash - and of course could sell the pump and gauges on for similar to their purchase price.

I think it's pretty important to ensure the pipework is good before letting the gas in.
The last line is the issue when you are flaring your own pipes. Most simple units have enough pre-charged gas for a modest run of pipework suitable for Domestic so no need to add additional gas. This is how i do it.
1. Flare pipe-ends using a specific orbital flaring tool using lots of hydraulic oil to make sure the flare is perfect.
2. Connect up again using hydraulic oil smeared onto the flares to ensure a good seal and low drag on wrenches.
3. Pressurise to 30Bar (R410A & R32) using Nitrogen and leave for half a day for a small system and overnight for a large multi-branch system. If it holds, all good, if it does not - its probably a dodgy flare, almost always on the larger pipe.
4. Release the Nitrogen and vacuum for about half an hour for a small system and half a day for a large system.
5. release R gas with pipework under vacuum.
power up and enjoy the coolness

As you can see, to do it properly and to the MIs, there is potential for lots of standing around time. I do all the electrical work and condensate run, whilst pressure testing and vacuuming.
 
None of the aircon companies I come into contact with are happy with anything other than brazed joints. No matter what fancy tools are supplied, they always expect a leak somewhere if forced to use compression joints.
 
None of the aircon companies I come into contact with are happy with anything other than brazed joints. No matter what fancy tools are supplied, they always expect a leak somewhere if forced to use compression joints.
All the joints between condensers and pipework are flared compression, same as evaporator to pipework.
 
All the joints between condensers and pipework are flared compression, same as evaporator to pipework.

I've genuinely no idea about this, so it may be the joints on their own pipework between indoor and outdoor units, but I know they protest strongly when clients insist on a policy of no hot works.
 
Its a real problem, brazing is always preferred but i had an instance when i was doing a "cabin in the woods" - one outdoor unit and 3 indoor units, so lots of branching. I brazed most joints away from the job, under cover, no problem, but the last joint meant i had to braze outside, in the elements, was using a good blow torch with Mapgas but i could not get it hot enough. I ended up using compression joints for the last two joints, much to my displeasure, but it was the only way. When brazing you have to push a little Nitrogen through the pipework to stop a build up of oxidisation on the inside of the pipes which leaves a black flaky gunk which can block the evaporator nozzle in the indoor units. Any short cuts with all of this phaff results in lower performance of the A/C, it will still work but its just not as good as it could be. Same with not vacuuming, if you dont get the moisture and air out of the pipes it just mixes with the Fgas resulting in lower performance. I guess most clients cannot tell the difference but an a/c guy can spot it.
 
Tbh I did have to joint a couple of my pipes, but that was purely down to convenience and me being too stingy to buy another set of continuous lengths.

Ultimately it's only a matter of brazing a couple of joints (actually I used silver solder - so 650 deg C rather than cir 900 deg C) which for any of us that have done any form of apprenticeship is neither here nor there, as is just flaring pipework for the joints!

These are all just simple tasks, the only issue is we probably haven't done that sort of thing too frequently.

As for flushing pipes whilst brazing - well yeah! Any inert gas will do, I can't remember what I used, either argon, or helium - probably the latter.

The biggest issues with fitting the units is just the same as any other job, aligning holes for pipework through the building fabric (rather than cables), mounting the units etc. Basically the same tasks associated with a normal day to day electrician's work.

The units are designed to be piped together using standard flared joints and work very well.

I bought a standard flaring tool at the same time as the pipe and had absolutely no issues, a couple of practice joints prior to the proper ones, and every one sealed first time perfectly.

Overall it was a couple of simple jobs, much easier than half the things we end up doing day to day.
 
The one I have in my conservatory came all gassed up with both parts sealed. Just had to connect up two joiners and open the valves on both sides. This was about 15 years ago, and it's all worked perfectly ever since.
 
I'm with @brianmoooore on this, fitted two units, one to my office, other to my workshop, both where pre-gassed and only needed to be fitted together, piping between available in various lengths to suit your installation, they are off the shelf units in Brico Depots and LeroyMerlin in France, but as with all legislation in France no one takes any notice of the warnings about only to be fitted by qualified gas fitters, where have I heard that before?
 
These types of self install air con units come with a detailed installation guide aimed at an average DIY'er.

The gas is R290 which is flamable propane so take sensible precations but the amount of gas in the unit is very small compared to air conditioners using traditional refrigerants.

Usually vacuuming of pipework on a brand new system isn't strictly necessary as long as all the pipework was kept sealed till the last minute and you don't install it on a rainy day where moisture or high humidity could get into joints and pipes. Often the instructions get you to purge a little refrigerant through the pipes before you tighten the last fitting to remove any holding nitrogen charge or air from the pipes which is non-condensable.

The pipework will come with the ends already flared and ready to fit. This means you won't need a flaring tool but as already mentioned above the down side is the pipes are always a bit long making it difficult to find somewhere to lose the spare and still make it look neat.
 
The problem with not vacuuming out though is if any air at all is in the pipework then it will have moisture in it and once the refrigerant is released the moisture will freeze and block the pipework/condensor etc.

The interesting bit is how the moisture is actually removed, its not by just sucking it out with a vac pump, the pump reduces the air pressure inside the system to almost nothing which means that the water/moisture will boil at the ambient temperature and then it gets sucked out as a gas.
 
If the pipes are kept sealed the moisture from any air ingress during connecting would be minimal and the air con system has a filter dryer that has dessicant in it which can remove any trace amounts of moisture. Also with air conditioning you can get away with it because usually you're evaporating several degrees above freezing so a small amount of moisture wouldn't cause a blockage.

Problem with cheapie Chinese vacuum pumps is that many of them won't pull down to anywhere near 500 microns and unless you spend even more money on a half decent vacuum gauge you'll never know.

If this unit is aimed at DIY installation the manufacturers installation instructions won't require a vaccum to be pulled, only a quick purge probably. If for some reason you do need to vacuum I wouldn't recommend the cheap vacuum pumps on Amazon or EBay, rather just use that money and pay a refrigeration guy to do the vacuuming and commissioning.
 

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