Can You Install Your Own Furnace?

Furnace Installation

In the current economy, people are trying to identify new ways of saving money. One of the best ways they have identified is by doing home improvements on their own. This can be a great strategy, but when it comes to heating installs, this is a very dangerous proposition, particularly if you are working with natural gas and electricity.

At some time, the reliable furnace serving you will need be replaced as it will become too inefficient or die out altogether.

So can you install your own replacement furnace? Installing a furnace needs to be done by experts. An individual should always hire a licensed HVAC professional for this job. This is not a job for even the most ambitious do-it-yourselfer.

The whole process of installation needs considerable knowledge of sheet metal work, electrical work, and even some skills on plumbing. Installing a new furnace is a fairly complicated process, and only licensed HVAC professionals have the required permits in your state. Furnace work is even more dangerous if your furnace burns fuel like natural gas or oil. The exhaust is extremely dangerous if your furnace isn’t tuned properly.

The process can become even more complicated if you switch from a gas furnace to an electric furnace or vice versa. HVAC specialists undergo rigorous training immediately completing their associate degree program. They are put into training on how to handle any contingency that may at times develop during the installation process. In most states technicians must also be licensed in the area they work in.

The Installation Process

Before commencing on this project, ensure all electrical and gas supplies are completely turned off. It is extremely dangerous leaving gas or power to the furnace unit on while uninstalling process. It is never recommended under any circumstances. It is then safe to remove the old furnace once all the utilities are turned off.

All gas supplies and wires need to be disconnected, and duct work and vent pipes should be detached and removed. The HVAC expert needs to wear protective gear and gloves before removing the old furnace to avoid getting cut by the edges of the metal sheet.

Note that, if the existing furnace is connected to an AC unit, there is a need to disassemble the connection. Only HVAC professionals who have experience working with refrigeration units are qualified to do this. Once the unit has been completely disassembled and all of the screws have been taken out of the base, it is now safe to be removed and discarded properly or hauled out.

Preparing the Area for the New Furnace

The next step for the technician will be to thoroughly clean the area where the new furnace will be installed. If there is any dirt or dust in the area it must be vacuumed up. You don’t want to spend all that money on a new furnace just to let it be contaminated with dust when you have it installed.

Once the set area is completely free of debris and dust, it is now time for your expert to begin the installation process. The wires, ductwork, and pipes will be connected to your new furnace. The thermostat will after that be connected and then turn the power and gas supplies back on. Now the technician can test the system and check the ductwork for leaks.

If you’re having a gas furnace installed it must also have all of the gas supply lines inspected for leaks. All connections, even those to the AC unit must be checked for leaks. The system itself must also be carefully inspected for carbon monoxide leaks and other gas emissions, which again, is something that must be done by an HVAC professional, as it requires special knowledge and equipment.

Leave it to the Professionals

As a homeowner, you have to decide what type of furnace will best suit your needs. Once you choose your unit, the rest should be left up to the pros. Removing your old furnace and installing the new one is a big, dangerous job, and there are a countless number of ways it can be screwed up and some of these screw-ups can result in serious injuries or expensive repairs.

Do You Really Need a Permit to Install a Furnace?

Obtaining home permits can be tricky for homeowners. It is hard to find out if licenses are required for particular home improvement projects while it is common sense that they are given to large constructions or other industrial projects. Furnace replacement and installation falls into this category. There are many individuals that need this work done for them being left wondering if this falls in the zone of permits.

So do you really need a permit to install a furnace? Yes, furnaces do fall into the permit zone. In most states, a furnace or mechanic permit is a requirement by law for those who need to fully replace a furnace.

Furnace replacement and installation is a major home project requiring a great deal of work by installation teams and contractors. Permits are there to show proof that contractors carrying out a particular project are licensed and are in a proper position to do that job.

In addition to this, a low-voltage electrical permit is needed in this process for the thermostat and control wiring work that comes along with furnace replacement territory even in situations where the old thermostat is reused with the newly installed furnace system.

Furnaces are vented appliances that need proper installation to ensure safety whether it is a gas or electric furnace. Furnaces can cause injury, illness or even death if they are not properly installed. Permits do give a 3rd party inspection ensuring that projects done by contractors meet the manufacturer’s code requirements and guidelines for proper operation and safety.

Permits can also help in situations of mishaps happening in the case of furnace installation. For those who carry out these projects with proper permits and have their furnace improperly installed, the homeowner’s insurance will most probably not cover the costs of replacement, repairs and any other damage that will happen during and after completing the project like this can be costly to a homeowner.

States has great resources in their Labor and industries departments that help you go through the process of determining for a certain project of home improvement a permit is needed. As a responsible homeowner, under no circumstance should you trust those individuals or contractors that say that permits aren’t important during installation of furnaces. They are there to provide safety when the project is carried out and also assure you that the project will be done in a correct way possible to keep you safe in the coming days. Carrying out these projects by people who are not licensed can be followed by a lot of dangers. Below are some dangers of doing furnace installation your own;

Dangers of Doing Your Own Heating Installs

As you know, natural gas is highly flammable. It is rarely a problem though when it is contained within a safe HVAC unit. However, simple leaks can occur at sometimes in your home and cause dangerous situations. Unless you have been trained in this type of process, trying to do your own installation almost always means there will be leaks or problems somewhere.

Gas leaks create an environment in which explosions can occur if it is not controlled. Even the simplest spark can set off an explosion that destroys your home and injures or even kills those who live there. Gas cannot be seen but it can be smelled. So it becomes hard to pinpoint leaks if you are not well equipped with the proper testing equipment. Even if you can pinpoint a leak, you may not have the right tools to properly seal it.

The danger of explosions and fire is exactly why furnace installs should be best left to professionals who have knowledge and skills to handle them. While you need to be careful with your HVAC system no matter who does the installation, having a professional around can put your mind at ease significantly.

Tips to help you reach the best contractor

Begin with reading online reviews and Better Business Bureau. Any problematic installer most likely will have some complaints that you will need to read. While no company can please everyone all of the time, if you notice a string of similar complaints, particularly about safety issues, and then it is time to look for a different installer.

Consider getting some quotes for the job. While you do not want to give the bid to the lowest bidder, you also do not need to go with the highest one. Consider a medium one so that you will get to be charged fairly. This will mean that you get quality work while at the same time not spending your life’s savings on your heater.

The good thing about furnace install is that in many ways they are usually a one-time expense. If you take good care of your furnace and system once it is installed, it should give you many years of successful use. For this particular job, it pays to pay a professional, as you will not have safety concerns and will have the luxury of a warm home for many years.

Luke Miller

Luke Miller is a writer, real estate professional, rental property investor, and home renovation enthusiast based in Phoenix, Arizona. He grew up in Iowa in a self-sufficient household where he learned the skills to do everything from plumbing, drywall, to basic handyman repair for everyday problems. He enjoys sharing his vast experience and his continuous learning with fellow DIY enthusiasts.

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