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In today's live stream, Eric Mele, Chad, Corey, and Bryan cover the mindset, steps, and best practices required for HVAC installation. Chad and Corey are some Kalos apprentices who have done quite a few HVAC/R installations over the past few years.
When approaching an installation, allow yourself enough time to understand the full scope of the install. Survey the site and figure out how to do the install the best way you can, whether you're installing a new unit altogether or performing a changeout. The pre-planning and design phase are critical, and that's when you size the equipment, confirm the ductwork design and equipment layout, and determine the CFM you need.
Then, you must make sure you have all of the correct supplies beforehand. Do you have all of the supplies you'll need? Do you have the RIGHT materials for the job? You should answer "yes" to both of those questions BEFORE you start a job.
Once you have all the correct supplies, you can confirm your equipment counts and model numbers. Keep these notes on your phone or tablet and compare them with the equipment to verify that you have the correct equipment.
When you finally walk the site, make sure that you have the appropriate room to work. Ensure that you have enough room to fit the equipment and work on it. While walking the site, assess and take care of hazards.
Lay out the ductwork and piping on the floor as a reference, if possible. (See if you can use chalk or spray paint.) You would also want to communicate with the customer, other trades, and the general contractor (GC) during this time to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Make sure all questions are answered BEFORE the demo stage.
The "critical path" is the longest succession of end-to-end steps that are necessary to complete a project. The critical path is an excellent guide for larger projects. You can divide tasks into time-critical ones and tasks that don't depend on a timetable.
Then, you do the demo, which includes tearing out old equipment. When removing everything, you can use the evaporator and condenser boxes as "trash boxes" to keep all of the old equipment together. If you're going to be reusing anything, like copper, make sure you keep those components intact (or, in the case of wiring and piping, make sure you leave yourself enough to work with).
Recovery is the first step in changeouts or installations that require decommissioning. (You may want to remove your Schrader cores and use oversized tanks.)
When installing line sets, think about where you'll be running them and that they're appropriately insulated.
Pad installation and anchoring equipment go hand-in-hand. Make sure your equipment is level; you can constantly adjust the pad until you get it level. When anchoring equipment, be mindful of where you put your straps down. Make sure the equipment is accessible.
When wiring line voltage, make sure your connectors are appropriate. Use correctly sized wire nuts/grommets, route the lines correctly, and don't allow sensitive cables to get too close to each other. Make sure the connector tension is good and that the wire won't pop out of the connector.
The best brazing practice is to get the ENTIRE joint hot enough before you start applying solder. Use mirrors to check your brazing work on the sides you can't see. You don't need flux for copper-to-copper brazing.
When pressure and leak testing from the liquid line, its pressure may keep rising even though the suction line pressure may stabilize. Every unit has a recommended low and high side test pressure, and we recommend using low-side pressure and digital gauges to track pressure drops. A continuous pressure drop may indicate a leak, which warrants investigation. You will also want to do a bubble test to check for leaks.
Evacuation is another critical practice. Using a simplified, familiar rig is the best way to get a good vacuum. Make sure you use quality vacuum pump oil and keep extra batteries for your micron gauges.
When drain fabrication and testing, make sure your drain is pitched properly (quarter-inch fall per foot). Don't cap your vents! Using as few fittings as possible is also one of the best practices. We also recommend using cap and fill testing, if possible.
As with high voltage wiring, be sure to route your low voltage wiring correctly. The goal should be to avoid wire damage from heat, rubouts, etc.; it's a good idea to use conduits to protect your wires whenever possible.
We also discuss:
Copper quality and reusing copper
Brazing torch tips
Flux
Seating multi-position valves when brazing
Liquid line drier location
Flowing nitrogen
Solder rings
New oils (POE, PVE) and new practices
Drain piping
Check out information on the 2022 HVACR Training Symposium at https://hvacrschool.com/symposium/.
Read all the tech tips, take the quizzes, and find our handy calculators at https://www.hvacrschool.com/.


So we've got uh eric milley here, say hi to the everyone eric hello youtubers, and then we have other internet dwellers. Yes, and then we have uh both chad and corey, which actually i'm kind of glad so chad and corey. I actually want you to both participate in this, so you can be uh co-co-hosts rather than um. You know i i usually introduce you as apprentice students, but both of you have actually done one crap-ton of installs uh across a pretty good range of of the industry.

So i think it'll be good to have both of you involved as well, so um. So actually you know what here's what we're gon na do. I wan na i'm gon na do introductions for for chad and corey right. That's that's what i wan na do, because i don't know that the that the interweb says met you so uh, we'll start with you.

Chad go ahead and introduce yourself hey guys. Chad, i've been with kayla's for three years kind of done, a little bit of everything. Working here you really have yeah a little bit of construction, residential and commercial service supermarket a little bit of it all yep supermarket service. You've done some uh done a lot of commercial uh change.

Outs, uh. You've done a fair share of rtus too right, yeah yeah. Many splits yep yep a lot of ducklings yep, so it is a good good range of experience on the on the newer side of the trade, but chad's been great and has grown a lot over the last uh last few years. How about you corey go ahead and introduce yourself, i'm cory active on all social media platforms, so some people might know me, but um you can follow him on tick.

Tock, actually he's quite the tick tock star at bad txv, shameless promotion there, but um yeah. I got um going on seven years in the trade started out in residential uh. This is service and install it's a residential service install like commercial, heavy, commercial, um and i'm currently in supermarkets. But i've done a bit of controls, um new construction, retrofits uh, just a pretty well-rounded.

You know, if you don't say if you do say so yourself things. I've done. If i do something. No, i was just gon na say something stupid, so keep going! Oh! No! I still tons of stuff that i haven't done yet, but um yeah pretty well around cool and then eric hey, i'm eric what what what sorts of things have you installed eric since we're talking about hvac installation today and you're, like my my main guest um, pretty Much this list of stuff i haven't installed would be a shorter list.

I don't know. The only things i haven't installed would be like really big, chillers and actual like setting of like big cooling towers, but you have you done any vrs like any true vrf, yeah yeah. You have actually yeah well um. I haven't done the install side per se, but i've done when i started the trade.

Actually i was doing supermarket, install which is tons of piping, so if you're doing vrf you're doing tons of piping, but i've done service on brf. I've done service on pretty much everything, except for uh, really big chillers and ultra low temp stuff. I think that's all i'm missing as far as like stuff i've serviced and not much service on heating equipment in florida, though, like i haven't really messed with furnaces, i've done, i've done more service calls on boilers than furnaces, yeah. Well, the boiler experience is actually pretty good.


I've actually done quite a bit on furnaces. We have this little section here in central florida that there are a lot of furnaces, but the caveat is: is that they're pretty much all 80? So i've done a lot of work on 80. I've done very little on high efficiency, so we do have a bit of a gap here, admittedly with our with our group here, because we're all florida folks, we really don't have a lot of high efficiency furnace experience. So, on the venting side, specifically uh we're going to have some gaps, but we have certainly dealt with a lot of a lot of gas and that sort of thing.

In fact, you can see the install behind me here on my green screen. This is a gas furnace that we demoed and put in a heat pump. So you can, you can see here. This is actually capped, uh gas, manifold or whatever you want to call it gas, gas, piping, guest, stub out cap that used to go to a gas furnace.

So there is actually quite a bit of that in florida in central florida, specifically some in north florida, all right. So, let's jump into the topic topic is hvac installation mindset. If you hear me uh, i have to first disclose the uh my nose uh was a unfortunate um accident with a uh rhinoceros uh, we'll go into that later, but uh. The the condition of my nose is also leading to this strange, sound that i have so.

I apologize about that in in advance anyway, so we're gon na talk about the mindset, so i've just i've put together just a few slides, not very much but just a and we're not going to read them, but i'm just going to put them up to act As sort of a guide for the conversation, i'm sure you have some ideas of where to take the conversation eric, but where would you start so to be successful at install and, of course, when we say install that can mean a lot of different things. It could mean changeouts, it could mean residential new construction. It could be commercial, new construction, commercial remodels. So there's a lot of different elements here, but in terms of the mindset, what are some things that you got to get right right off the bat? You definitely have to look at everything an adequate amount of time to to see what the best way to do.

It is going to be whether it's like a brand new install from scratch, whether it's a changeout, you know a remodel, a small job. A large job, you're gon na, have to spend adequate time surveying the site in order to do it the best way that you can so sometimes you know if we're doing like residential changeouts, you might not have looked at the site before, but still when you get To the site in the morning you're gon na have to see you know. Do i have everything i need. I wan na know that as early in the day as possible, like do i have everything i'm going to need.


Everything looks like it's going to fit. It's going to go well, it's the right equipment. You know, i'm not missing anything. So that's that's stuff to get out of the way.

First and just you know the pre-planning, the measuring and laying out that's going to save a lot of time on the back end and we're not just addressing uh just the installer either we're talking about everybody, who's who's involved in the install process. So maybe you're an install manager, maybe you're an owner of a small business. We have to do some things in order, so one of the first things that and eric hit on it right off the bat is the pre-planning and design on the design side. So many people will say: well, you know what should the air flow be for this unit or what size duct should be installed on this unit or what size unit should go in this house? Those are all design questions and there are cheat shortcut ways of doing it that sometimes might work out, but eventually you're going to get stuck, especially as projects become more complicated and so there's a lot in our trade on the ins installers side who aren't really used To thinking about those questions, but in the first place you got to make sure that you have an appropriate design.

So what airflow should this piece of equipment have? What is the designed airflow um? What is the duct design, what what tonnage unit should go in it? Um, those are all questions that that need to be answered before you even get started, and then that sort of pre-planning um and we're going to talk a little bit more about the installation day. Walk, but just really thinking through. How are we going to go about doing this job eric, and i talked about this recently in commercial projects, making sure that things are going to lay out appropriately, so that you, you know, you can't have two things going in one place, i'm going in one spot And just kind of really thinking that through first eric touched on getting supplies, um, it's it's so big and you know, and it depends on the type of company you work for whether you're going to the shop and you're getting all this or whether you're going to The supply house, whether you're responsible for doing your own takeoffs or picking up your own supplies, it varies um depending on the size of your organization, but somebody needs to make sure that you're thinking through what supplies you're getting and getting them all at once. I can't tell you how much uh heartache is caused by getting either incorrect supplies not getting enough or getting far too much that results in inefficiency and ultimately um unprofitability and jobs taken a lot longer than they should take.

Anyone else have anything else to add. In those and those segments before we move on to the next step, um yeah, i feel like uh, you know the sales guy, whoever you know went to the job. Is you know making sure that he's got everything planned because, like let's say the customer wants, you know their air handler from the garage put into the attic? You know? That's not. You got ta, make sure everything's to be perfect.


So the day you do that install because it's not just a little, you know it's not a swap out. It's a whole relocation, yeah, there's a big difference depending on the um. You know where the unit's going uh what the installation situation is, what type of materials you need to bring, and that's, like you mentioned really part of sales and management, should be doing that um. I think in a lot of companies, especially when you get really busy and we've certainly been guilty of this in the past, you get really busy and you just start kind of throwing the installer out there and let them figure it out when they show up.

That's not a efficient way to run a business, it's not just a matter of it being inconvenient for the installer um, it's it's more, a matter of. Are you gon na complete the job efficiently, um, especially in jobs that tend to be bigger jobs that you are still expecting it to be done in one day? In many cases, you don't want that to drag out um to where you're starting to rush. At the end of the day, because that creates a bad outcome um, the next thing that i have is confirming counts and model numbers. So it's not just a matter of getting supplies.

You know have it's making sure that you've got the correct number of things, and that requires a certain amount of discipline to do so going through with uh. You know either notes on your phone or on your on your tablet or on a notepad and going through and getting counts and then confirming model numbers uh, not just model numbers, but also just data tags. So i can't tell you how many times it's happened, and it's happened way too much way too many times that it should happen where we've installed equipment only to find out that it's the wrong equipment that it's not the right voltage or it's not the right tonnage Or whatever the case may be, then you have to tear it out and it costs everybody a lot of money and a lot of time, so making sure that you have the exactly the right thing that you're going to be putting back in and also not just Assuming because it matches tonnage that it's that that's the right choice, um that goes back to the design conversation, we should always be looking for opportunities to improve the space. So that way we can downsize tonnage.

Downsizing tonnage solves so many problems. In many cases, we're working with undersized ductwork in the first place, so if you can actually go down in tonnage, that's often a big win and in many cases that's just because you make improvements to the envelope or insulation, or maybe it was oversized to begin with. So many people talk about just putting in bigger because it'll cool better, but that actually causes more problems. Now you're dealing with even further undersized duct work, fewer dehumidification capabilities that sort of thing so always kind of paying attention to exactly.


What's going on um on the equipment uh, the next thing is doing a proper layout and pre-walk, and i want you to talk about this eric. We talked about it in a previous podcast, but just cover it quickly when you're gon na go through that day of and walk the site. What are some things that you're looking for in some of the things you're doing, making sure that you have a clear path to where you need to work that you're not going to be damaging anything to bring the stuff to where you need it. Everything's.

Out of your way, that needs to be out of your way. You know every everything's going to fit how you, how you want to install it all sorts of things like that. You know having your material staged yeah, and you mentioned again like if you're doing a rough uh, regardless of whether it's residential or commercial, but especially in commercial, laying things out on the floor as much as possible saves a lot of um saves a lot of problems. If you're doing a big project right like working from a plan - and you you are, you know doing a whole bunch of duct work or piping, if you have the opportunity to lay it out on the floor, so you don't have to keep referring to your plan.

It's going to save a lot of time and it keeps everybody on the same page that you don't have. Everybody has to keep going back to the plan because if you marked it on the floor, somebody just needs to walk into that area and look at the floor and say: okay, that's what needs to be and then look up or wherever it's getting installed and say: That's where it needs to go. Is it there? No okay? Well, i need this this size like this. It needs to go like this.

You know, and then it just makes life so much easier if you have a good layout to start with yeah and these things go together, like um the installation, installation day, customer communication and laying out in pre-walk those three things kind of all go hand in hand. You know here's where i'm planning on putting this just making sure that's. Okay, i think a lot of in the case of mounting ductless heads, um, okay, this is where we're planning on putting it do we have approval to put it here. Does this look good before i start anchoring it or making holes um just confirming that with the customer is really big.

We talked about previously. If you're going to start marking up the floor, just make sure that nobody's going to have a problem with that. Obviously, we're talking about unfinished flooring and new construction in that case, but whether you're communicating with a commercial client, a residential client or a builder, a contractor, if you're working as a sub in all those cases, when you're doing that that pre-walk right before you're going to Get started you want to have communication and make sure that everybody's on the same page, that you don't have to do things twice, it's just a good general general idea. I just giving you space there in case you wanted to add anything eric.


You know you were looking like you wanted to say something, but, okay, i think we pretty much covered it. I mean you know, bigger projects, you just make sure you're coordinated with other trades and with the gc, so that your stuff can go where it's supposed to go and you don't have to you know later move stuff or you know, all of a sudden, find the Stuff's in your way, when it shouldn't be, if you know, if you all coordinate at the beginning, it shouldn't be an issue yeah. Let's talk about the demo side, i'm going to ask uh, chad and corey if they have anything to add here. What are some of your top tips when you're going in to do a change out, we're going to say a residential light commercial change out? What are some of the things you do, first or order, or just kind of tips for keeping everything clean that you do on the demo side of things? Okay, go ahead, chad! Well, i'm just like! So when you're saying demo, like you know, when you're starting the install and you're you know taking out the old equipment, yeah yeah when you're starting to rip and tear things out, do you do anything in a particular order? Is there any way that you think about approaching? That i mean not really i mean back in residential, you know when it came to the air handler side, you know uh, i don't just rip out the you know your plenum, you just because you want to see you know how tall is the air handler, i'm Putting in like, if it's because some of them, i think the newer, the higher seer ones are a little bigger, so you know am i going to have enough space if i cut the supply like right at the ceiling or you know, do i need to make As much space as i have possible, you know, looking at your copper uh make.

I always wanted to make see where the old unit's sitting at, and you know just how. How am i going to bend this copper, you know to you, know, get it fit, and just kind of i always take a look at everything first before taking out, but as far as you know, removing everything you know i try to utilize. You know the air handler the condenser has kind of like little trash box that keeps everything pretty clean, yeah, so flipping the boxes over use them as a box um. Looking at your uh supply plenum and thinking about okay.

Where should i cut this and then making sure that you cut it square? You know i like the idea - and i don't know your opinion on this eric, but i like the idea of you know just cutting it out once if you can, i mean it's one thing: it's, okay, if you cut below that and then you go back and And make make further cuts, but i like to go ahead and um. If you, if you can uh, you know, put a level on it actually or square and actually make all of the cuts, nice and square when you're pulling it out um and then, like you mentioned, if you're going to be reusing, copper, especially uh, you know, don't Just rip and tear think about where you're going to cut so that way, you have some excess left over to reconnect if possible. One thing i want to add real quick is: whenever i'm doing it like when i make contact with the customer, i tell them. You know you're going to be without air for a while, so if this equipment's still working turn it down as much as possible and then that's when i will start, you know, prepping everything i'll start getting a look at everything, getting tools ready.


You know just staging stuff as much as i can as long as it's not holding me up, so that i can at least you know, try to show that i'm trying to keep them comfortable longer. If i can and and like brian said too, if you can, you know, cut things once, although sometimes when the air handlers are jammed in there, you really can't you know, cut, get a good straight line, the first time and also leaving stuff longer when you need To like, if you're using an electrical whip, you might not want to just chop the wires right where they come in the air handler. You might want to actually disconnect them from where they land so that they reach the new one same with the low voltage drain. Copper, you know anything you're going to reuse, be mindful that if you leave it longer for later, you know it could work out better measure twice cut once my father-in-law used to always say yeah, that's what you always say.

He said if, if you had to choose, always cut a little bit short because you can always add a piece he didn't used to always say that so um yeah i'll add. I always use the whenever you're starting the install. I kind of just use that as a final, it kind of goes along with with the pre-planning, but demo is your last chance to ensure you have you know exactly what you're going to be doing, how it's going to be done, that you have the right equipment? You have the right tools if you need any special tools, especially on new construction. If you're doing just a change out, i can't tell you how many times where the estimate's been right.

You know everything's been fine prior to the install, but maybe the morning of it was hectic trying to load everything you accidentally load the wrong compressor or the wrong condenser or you know, heat strips or you know just anything. It's a final prep before you tear that unit out, because once it's out it's out yeah, exactly um, sorry, my for some reason my screen were all wonky there. I wasn't telling you to stop um yeah. Another thing to mention is when you are cutting um the equipment out a lot of times, and this is true even when you're like replacing an evaporator coil.


This is where this can come in handy um. We get into our head that we always have to use tubing cutters, but especially with smaller, copper uh. Obviously, you wouldn't get away with this with with larger stuff. You can even use shears and cut it out and you can cut it inside the equipment, and so that way you have more of a stub.

So it gives you more to work with um. I've done that on a few occasions when i'm, if i'm going to replace an evaporator coil or something have you ever done, that eric actually cut copper with shears inside the old equipment yeah, i like to do that when i take it out, because i don't have To worry about taping it so yeah, i cut it with tin, snips and then the larger copper smash it with pliers and then cut it within snips, yeah yeah. So again, we're not saying that you would do that and a portion that you're attempting to reuse but you're just giving yourself more leave by cutting it out of that old equipment. That's going to be all you know, scrapped anyway at that point, but yeah definitely make sure that you've got what you need before you start cutting that equipment out.

Make sure that you, you know because now now you've committed to leaving that customer without air today, if there's any questions on the customer side on the equipment side on the material side, make sure to get those questions answered before you start ripping and tearing, and then You can proceed to do it according to, according to your pla, your plan, all right, um. I want to talk quickly about the idea of a critical path. This is especially helpful on the larger a project is, but in project management. The idea of a critical path is the the longest succession of end-to-end steps that are absolutely necessary to complete a project.

So if you think, through like in a standard install you have to braze in your fittings before you can pressure test and you have to pressure test before you can pull a vacuum right and then you have to pull a vacuum before you can release the charge. I mean at least you're supposed to do all these things, so in that in that's, because it's a really long, critical path, you want to start the step of the critical path as early as you possibly can like you wouldn't want to, under any circumstances, start doing Work on pvc on your drain, for example, before you get your copper braced in, because now that's going to hold you up on this critical path. Does that make sense eric? Yes, although sometimes when you're, you know, when you're pulling a new line set and drain through the slab you're going to have to at least stub your pvc up through your base before you can set the unit so sometimes things that, under other circumstances, aren't critical. You do have to kind of mess with and then you can come back to later but, like you said you know, you have to kind of don't paint yourself into a corner, in other words and maximize your time, yeah and obviously that varies.


I gave an example um, but that even that example varies depending on the situation in the equipment. You just want to do things that aren't time critical in periods where you're maybe waiting within the critical path, but especially when you have more than one person you run into a lot of circumstances where people end up waiting for one another. I mean you mentioned this. Eric when you were watching um, some guys doing a uh, a grocery store, rack refurb and how they were kind of bumping into each other.

Just talk through that quickly. You know the idea of starting at the end in the middle versus starting at two ends and working towards each other, because i thought that was a just a good way of thinking through um installation and project thinking. Well, yeah. You have to try to maximize the time that everybody can be working.

You don't want somebody just standing there watching you waiting for you to complete your step. So, if at all possible, you want to to keep the other person working, especially if you know you have somebody that's lower skilled than you working with you. That's fine! You just got to lay out tasks that they can do that they're not going to be sitting around waiting for you for direction or for for you to do something that they can't do. But specifically, in this case, it was a case where they kept starting on opposite ends and then working towards each other and when they got to the middle, they were in each other's way versus starting at end in middle and working in one direction.

Well, yeah! Yeah! That's that's also part of it too, is you know making sure you stay out of the next person's way, whatever the task may be yeah, but i think that is an interesting way of thinking about it, because there's a lot of jobs where you're doing similar things And that idea of starting on both ends and working towards the middle. That would be a common way of doing that, but a better way would be to start at the middle and work towards the ends or maybe maybe better yet in terms of like staging. So you have things a little bit closer. You would stagger yourselves, so one person would start at the beginning and one person starts in the middle and then they, the beginning, person, works towards the middle and the middle person works towards the end.

If you're talking, you know confined spaces where you can be doing stuff like that yeah yeah, i just thought it was a. It was a good way of thinking about um. You know planning a project um all right, so once you've uh once you've kind of laid out the critical path. So you know the what each person is going to do in what order in order to not be waiting not be standing around, then you go ahead and do your demo um.

Then you go through all your installation tasks which we're going to talk about next. Do your cleanup do your startup and commissioning and then have your customer close out communication now and a lot of organizations um these may be done by different people. You may have a separate, startup and commissioning crew for certain types of projects. Um.


You may have a different, you know group, that's responsible for communicating with the customer, but regardless all these things have to happen for a successful installation and so starting with a lot of planning and communication. It's ending with a lot of planning and communication and testing, uh and and those kind of sandwich in a successful installation all right, we're gon na go to the next slide all right. So, let's go through our specific tasks now here i want us to just i'm going to hit each one, and then i want you to give some top some of your top tips, some of the top things as it relates to an install that maybe people make Mistakes with or they need to think about in order to save them time or do their jobs better. So, let's start with uh start with recovery.

One of my biggest recovery tips is if you're moving a lot of refrigerant out of the equipment, remove your schrader cores. So pull those trader cores out that's going to help the refrigerant come out a lot quicker, but you brought up one recently eric on systems that have running compressors yeah. If you're decommissioning a system with a running compressor, you can use that, in addition to your recovery machine to get that refrigerant out super fast, i mean essentially a recovery machine is just a tiny condensing unit and even that at that, they're really not good at actually. Condensing refrigerant and that's why you get super high tank pressures, they get real hot, because it's just you know they're made to be portable.

So if you have a working condensing unit, you can run the working condensing. You can hook up your recovery machine as normal run. Your working condensing unit and it'll move a lot of gas just through the recovery machine, while it's off into the cylinder and then when it gets low enough depending on your recovery machine, you can start throttling it still, leaving that other condensing unit running. You can start throttling the refrigerant through your recovery machine, with your recovery machine running and then when it gets to a point, you can shut off that big condensing unit and pull out the rest of your gas.

Now, if you're doing this you're only pulling from the high side while that condensing unit, while the condensing unit you're decommissioning, is running, then once you shut it off, you can pull from both sides. So you can have all those hoses hooked up in advance and just have the the suction hose closed off. The hose is hooked to the suction line, closed off, yeah the point being that you're, using the compressor and you're using that big condenser coil on the equipment in order to get liquid into your tank. So that you're not overheating your tank.


It's going to go a lot quicker, another tip that i have and again that's only if you're going to decommission the unit, because it can be pretty rough on the compressor you're pulling out but again, if you're taking that unit and going to scrap it. Well, then, who cares what's rough on the old compressor? Another tip is use oversized tanks where possible. I see a lot of people go for the smaller tanks because they're easier to handle, but especially, if you're pulling out a lot of gas, you don't want to really get close to the maximum weight in that tank in one fell swoop, because that tank is going To get hot and using an oversized tank is going to help. You know, get the refrigerant out without overheating, the tank, because you have more internal tank volume, pretty obvious anything else, any other tips chad cory, i'm not really on recovery.

Now, okay, i won't keep asking you, then, if you have something you can just add it in go ahead: corey um! Well, one tip i have is especially if you have the uh field, piece recovery machine for any any recovery machine with you know where you can see your pressures is you can try to ditch the gauges and have uh teeth on your recovery machine, and that also Helps along with straighter core movers by making less restriction which will pull the refrigerant faster. So you basically just have hoses coming off it peeing off of your recovery machine straight to the unit yeah going sans gauges. If you have a good, solid gauge or display on your recovery, machine can help, and it also just now, you have less refrigerant stored in your gauges that you're going to have to deal with afterwards, so um, so that can be good anoth. Another thing that i neglected to mention is i i'm a big fan of using a 3 8 output hose even if you're working on small equipment um, i i you can get the skew number on yellow jacket's website and order it.

I have a 3 8 hose that has a quarter inch on both ends of it, so i don't have to like run adapters or anything because, of course, the recovery machine in the tank are going to be quarter, but it it really helps speed up a little Bit because you're trying to put all that not quite liquid, you know through that hose to your tank and use the shortest one possible. I i typically run like a four foot hose for that time is money yeah and on the so, whenever we talk about having quarter inch adapters on a three-eighths hose, there's, inevitably somebody who's going to say well, it makes no difference if it throttles down a quarter. Inch then it doesn't make any difference anyway. Well, that's just not true your conductance speed across the entire hose still matters and so hose size matters, even if you're still throttling down to smaller ports.

If you don't understand why that is well, i don't know what to say: it's like saying that you know having a a small part of a small pipe or having the entire pipe be small is exactly the same, and that just isn't that just isn't the case, Because of the friction right across it, so anyway, we won't go into the science of that, but that is uh. That is a good practice. What eric mentioned there all right installing line, sets, i guess i'll start with um, when you're installing line sets always think about where you're going to be running them and making sure that they are appropriately insulated, because this is one thing um that we see a lot In florida, a lot of people run copper under the ground, and a lot of them will strip off that that you know pesky insulation on the suction line, because it makes it real hard to push the line set and, of course they can get away with it. Because if, if it condenses in the in the chase, you don't see the effects visually, but you still get effects, because now your suction line is transferring heat to your liquid line, increases your super heat um.


The impact sure causes your compressor to run hot. All that sort of thing so uh when installing a line said always think about that, but even if you're running a line set through an attic or something like that, that's really hot you may want to consider. If it's a longer line set, you know using thicker wall insulation because you potentially can pick up quite a bit of heat in that suction line, which will impact your compressor, for you know, for its life um. Also uh.

When doing your line sets, you know get a visual picture of you know. You'll have your condenser set, you know see where i always along with having his least amount of braze joints as possible, so you know bend as much as you can and if you have to use you know 90s or fittings uh use long radius for sure. That's it yeah, that's good, yeah and, and that starts with you, uh visually kind of thinking out. I mean because a lot of guys are going to cut and they're going to cut and then fit rather than leaving it long.

So that way, you actually have something to bend um, so that is, that is really key um. Another thing with installing line sets and again it really just depends on your market that sort of thing, but wherever you're, making a penetration through the opening of the structure make sure you seal that really well. Not only is that an area that obviously heat can enter but potentially moisture or you know, different creatures - can enter so pretty much universally. You need to seal where the where the line set exits.

The structure, joe shearer, says tip: don't buy cheap soft copper. It kinks when you even look at it he's saying i i don't know if that's a brand name, he says a-s-a-i-n, i don't know he's or is he saying? Is it okay? I i've never seen that before, but yeah you are seeing a lot of variation in copper quality. Now um, it used to be you'd, get a roll of copper and it was a roll of copper and you didn't even think about it, but you're definitely seeing a lot more variation in the quality of copper. I think pretty pretty universally.


We uh know you know: mueller is a pretty good brand um to deal with, i'm sure, there's others out there, but because you're on hard pipe yeah or you can run hard, copper, yeah, yeah um in terms of strapping uh. I i do like eric's talked about this in the past. If you're going to be doing strapping like outside of a structure, it is actually a good idea to do hard pipe and use. You know some pieces of strut with clamps to make it look really nice and you know, have a nice permanent installation in residential, especially there's.

So much of these loop-de-loo deals that people do um, but there is, you know in order to have a nice uniform. Look like we get in commercial. It is really nice to use um use hard. Copper for that sloppy copper is like the number one thing that is, that by pet peeve too, so you know anytime, you can have your line set, looking nice crisp and clean.

It's definitely a benefit. Your whole install could look good, but if your copper is um crap, it's going to ruin you. You now have a bad looking install, which could really pick off your customer or company depending how much they care yeah. Certainly, another thing is the insulation too it you know, i talked about it in terms of you know, making sure that you have it and that you have enough of it, but also uh.

If you are going to be, you know, making bends or anything like that. Just making sure that you're making that look nice as well um, again, that's more on the commercial side where you're gon na have to you know actually miter it and all that. But you need to make sure that your insulation, um looks, looks appropriate and that you're, not just you, know, cutting it, making a big mess of it. I see that a lot i like to use electrical tape around my insulation to make it really look.

Good cork tape, make it look really tight. Okay, that was a joke. Everyone that's cory being said, i was joking. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, you never quite know.

Yeah, you don't want to compress that stuff, um all right and then uh installing pads and anchoring equipment we'll put those together. Uh eric has a whole procedure on this, so he really likes the uh, the tamp. I mean it's just one of the things that makes it easier, so i keep. I keep like a very coarse rake, uh, a trenching shovel and a tamp, and i find that works good for everything that i typically need to use it for when it comes to making the area for the pad level.

I use the tamp because it's flat on all four sides, so you can drag it just like a flat shovel to to get everything roughly flat and then tamp it down, and then i like to use an appropriate size, level and kind of fan it. It's kind of hard to um to visualize here, but like fan the level down um your your area to make sure it's level all over and then you can set the pad down and check it again and adjust as necessary, yeah. No, it makes perfect sense. I mean you're just kind of you're kind of leveling it as you go you're almost acting like a yeah yeah.


I don't know the right word for it, but um but yeah i get it um anchoring equipment. Obviously that varies a lot in florida. Anchoring is a really big deal because we're in a hurricane zone and so just everything that doesn't get screwed down likes to blow away um so that that varies depending on, like i said where you are, but in general just doing it is uh. Something to think about, if you're, in an area that that's a risk wiring line voltage, i want to jump into that.

One um wearing line go ahead, i'm sorry uh when it comes to anchoring equipment. It's always really good to you know, be mindful of you know, whoever's gon na be there in times like where you put your your straps down, because i've seen some where you know they're right and way of where you got ta. You know gauge up to it. It's just you know you could have scooted over here.

Just be mindful of that. Well, that's a good general guideline. Anyway. You know if you're doing installation thinking about access panels, um is is huge.

You know it. It doesn't matter if you're anchoring it or even how you're positioning a condenser um, how you're running copper into a unit you know is that uh is that blower wheel, going to be able to come out? Is the evaporative coil going to be able to come back out? Those are all really really key things um to consider, and certainly within strapping, that can also uh our anchoring. That can also come up like those pictures where people put the water heaters right in front of the air handler or or on the package units that are ducted. People will put a big metal shroud over one end of the unit covering access panels and then just cover it in mastic or roofing tar, and i do that yeah.

So you see you see, that's the sort of stuff too. Basically, i don't it's not kind of on this list, but think about access all the time with. However, your you know setting the unit and whatever you're attaching to it, you know try to be mindful of hey. We need to get in these panels someday or somebody will yeah absolutely uh in wiring line voltage uh.

It kills me how uh we often fail to think about what connectors are actually appropriate. So much stuff gets done with with wire nuts. When that really isn't the the real design or maybe you're using the wrong size, wire nuts, so really looking at whenever you're wiring in your line voltage, you know routing it obviously appropriately using appropriate, connectors or grommets to ensure that nothing's going to get chafed or damaged And then also thinking about when you're running it into a cabinet making sure that you're not going to run your high voltage lines directly, parallel with low voltage or communications wires, where they're in really close proximity to each other, because that can lead to uh induction. That can affect your signal and that's especially going to be the case with with more sensitive communications type cabling rather than 24 volts, but always always planning for that, and then when you're another thing that drives me crazy with wiring and line voltage.


This is true. If they're wearing disconnects or breakers or whatever, but is where they get the connector in and the tension is either to the sides or pull out tension, meaning that they just barely get it in there and then they tighten it down and now that thing's always under Tension pulling the wrong way or side to side. You want to take a wire and bend it so that way it wants to. Actually, it wants to go into the connector, so it should be such that you've tensioned it so that if you were to unscrew it that thing's never going to pop out or it's not going to bounce side to side, it's just going to want to force further Into the connection, if it had its, if it had its choice because of the tension that you've vented on so that's that's just really kind of like a tactile skill um.

But i see this all the time where either people leave, you know they leave a ton of extra and so it's kind of sitting in their cockeyed or they don't have enough, and it's wanting to pull out also, as you mentioned, with connectors like wire nuts, are Pretty much only good up to about number 10 wire. I normally see when you see wires, melted in a unit. It's because it's a big blue wire nut that has number eights or number sixes in it like that, not to say that it happens every time, but more often than not. When i see stuff melted, that's a field, wiring connection, that's what it is.

It's too many conductors jammed into a big blue wire nut or just in general, a poor connection, because you have like a resistive heater and you have you know you're always pulling all the current that wire could handle across a wire nut. So i like to use polaris connectors pretty much above number, eight yeah and again that's a that's a you know a little bit higher end skill, but uh, but yeah. Definitely um paying attention at least to that uh is, is a good place to start not jamming. Multiple conductors under a single wire nut also anybody else i saw, i think it was corey - was flashing on and off there uh yeah, i was just gon na mention polaris connectors that they can be a little pricey, but they certainly won't have any problems, especially as You get towards the larger size, wires yeah for sure, and especially if you're working in commercial or anything where you're doing that with regularity using polaris connectors.

Definitely a good idea, um all right next, one brazing there's a lot in brazing, obviously i'll give my top tip, which is get the joint hot enough, get it to dark cherry or medium cherry before you attempt to start applying rod to it and then get the Entire joint to the proper temperature in order to ensure that you've drawn it all the way. In generally, i see newer techs make the mistake of not getting it hot enough and they're just kind of globbing it on yeah. It's a fine line, though, for especially when you're new at it between a guy. That's you know, melting through the copper and a guy.


That's you know afraid to get it hot and those will end up being the same guy at different times, depending on their skill. Another thing is um, you know you have positional joints where you can't see all the way around the joint without a mirror, so my biggest tip for those is to start on one side. Um. You know.

Let's say you can't see behind you like it's that i'm just putting my hand in front of my camera, that's not working but yeah. You can't see the back side of it so start on the left side, get it hot enough and get a good bit of solder on the left side and then move your flame to the right side and don't put any more solder. Just keep keep heating it and moving the flame until you can see the solder draw across now. You know.

You've got the whole back of that fitting because, if you just start putting solder on that side, you'll think you've got it and you'll have a gap on the back yeah, and that is usually where people leave gaps is on the back. That's actually a really good tip. I don't know that i've ever done that before, but that makes perfect sense, so you're kind of you're, maybe even a little over applying on the one side, make sure you've got it and then just keep heat on the other side. Until you actually start to see that um less solder come around yeah interesting, i like that i've always heard of it kind of like out of it like almost like painting too like when you get it to the perfect heat to where you can just uh.

You know like run your solder across it, and it just you know, pulls into your to your joint. Like that's that's when you know you got it good, yeah and just kind of getting it to that temperature and holding it there. I see so many guys who are just they're all over the place with their with their torch, rather than it's okay, to work it a little bit. I mean it's natural for you to have a little bit of torch motion, but most of the motion should be in or out just once you get that joint to the temperature.

You want it to be now you're, just kind of working that that color signature all the way around the joint. That's what you're really looking to do. You can always know, especially with copper, when it's about to go it's going to go to bright cherry, it's going to go that really bright color and almost orange color and then you're going to blow a hole in it. So if you're paying attention to color, if you're working with copper you're going to be pretty safe, i mean even brass or steel.


They all have the same general color signature. The only time you're not going to get that at all is when you're working with aluminum and that's a totally different animal and you're relying on flux, but for copper. That's definitely the way to go. I've definitely seen a lot more people recently talk about needing to use flux and not understanding.

Why i don't talk about flux, but mostly i'm talking about copper, to copper and in copper to copper. You do not require flux. In fact, it is not recommended for you to use flux, some people say: oh, it goes so much better when you use flux, it's like yeah, but every time you use a flux like a paste flux. You you have the chance of getting some of that in the system, and so, if you don't need it, it's not worth the risk of using it.

Um. In the case of copper, copper to copper, that's the reason why we use a phosphorous bearing rod the phosphorus acts as the flux and so you're all used to using a you know, silvos or sil or foss copper type rod, and it's the phosphorus that acts as The fluxing agent: that's why you don't need to use flux. One thing to make your life easier, too, is use the appropriate size tip for what you're doing like people use it huge tips for doing like small pipe and that's why you see them like flailing the torch around everywhere, because it puts so many btus on it. So fast that you're always you know right on that razor edge of being hot enough or just melting through.

So you know if you're doing you know up to like three quarter: seven eighths, you know you can do a number one tip and and phrase that for on sweating you might want a bigger tip if you have to unsweat. I typically keep like a number one. A number zero and i have the smallest rosebud that does up to inch and five eighths and that pretty much you don't use the number two uh i used to, but i really haven't found. I need a number two for anything.

They work. Fine. I mean number two is: is perfectly acceptable too, but like see, people use like number four tips, doing like three eighths, copper and it's like why you have this huge flame? You don't need or rosebuds i mean if you're doing yeah, if you're doing like inch and three eighths with a half inch liquid line. You know you already have your rose butt out.

Of course, i'm not going to switch tips to do the smaller line. If i don't have to, but you know, you don't need to use that rosebud tip to do like 3 8. 3 4 line sets, it's probably excessive, then you know also you're using if you're using you know such a big tip on this tiny, copper. You're.

Also burning through oxygen and acetylene, and you know way faster than you probably normally would or should, which can also leave you in a pinch. Sometimes, if you're finishing up a job or trying to brace something in - and you know, you've run out of acetylene and oxygen and might not have a replacement. It's just it's something, that's rare, but it does happen, and it's happened to me before and that sucks well with brazen. Like you know, with brazen too, you know make sure your you know: oxygen acetylene regulators are set.


I mean i've always gone with like the 7-11 method and uh. You know also, being aware of you know, what are you brazing? What do you need to keep cool? You don't want to overheat. You know any gaskets, especially a residential condenser. You know pull your cores out because so you don't heat like burn the gasket on that and you know, keep every keep what you want cool as much as you can yeah another another good point for anybody who works with larger equipment or you have multi-position service Valves if you're going to be brazing near a multi-position surface valve you're supposed to mid-seat it um, so that way the seals don't melt in either direction or the packing whatever you want to call it so mid-seating the valve is the recommended muler actually talks about this.

When you're going to be brazing around the valve, i'm just another tip a couple. Questions that i want to address here from chat somebody said is ox acetylene. The best method for brazing um ox acetylene is the kind of the standard, but you can also use air acetylene. Uh turbo torch is a common brand for that, but there's many others as well.

Asco makes one that works fine, but it is a cooler temperature and so you're going to have a harder time working with larger copper, you're, also going to have a harder time working in tight areas, because there's more convective heat that comes off of the end of An air acetylene tip so you're going to be more likely to burn things behind it, even though you have less overall heat. A ox. Acetylene tip is a more concentrated type of heat and so uh, so for uh for a lot of our purposes, ox acetylene is good, but for a junior check, who's going to be doing nothing but very basic brazing. I actually like oxygen acetylene.

I mean i mean sorry air acetylene, with a swirl tip as a way to learn um. You definitely have to change tip sizes on those, though there's a big variation depending on tip size and a lot of times, you're going to find you can't even do the job with a smaller tip size kind of the typical size that i prefer to use. If i'm working on um ac equipment, you know brazing and residential type base equipment, a five or a seven is going to be ideal um. If you're working on something like patching aluminum, which is something i did a lot of with air acetylene, then a three tip is actually a really good size to use for that purpose, because it's a very low, very low heat um.

They work great for soft solder. Yeah also work really well using acetylene for that so yep and there is uh solders that are appropriate for air conditioning applications. There's one called stay bright. Eight there's some dispute about whether or not it would be ideal.


For you know, high pressure systems on the high side, a lot of people have successfully used them for those applications. I question in some cases its use on heat pumps. That's where it would concern me most because we do see fairly high head pressures, potentially on heat pumps and heating mode, but they're used for great effect in many markets and a lot of people swear by stay bright eight. So that would be definitely a case where air acetylene would be more appropriate than oxygen acetylene.

If you don't want to use a copper spun, dryer that stay bright, eight is great if you have to put a dryer in a corrosive environment, because you don't heat it up to the point where the paint starts to melt, and i don't care what you use.

13 thoughts on “Installation mindset livestream class”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Cody says:

    Sawzall plus bi metal cuts suction and liquid in a second if running new line set

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars A/C SuperCool says:

    Hey Bryan, Thanks for all your videos good sir. I've been watching for a while now & never came across any communicating system troubleshooting. PWM troubleshooting. Have you done anything on this or am I missing them?

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Eric Milburn says:

    To the new tech’s knee pads and good gloves will save a lot of pain later on in life.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Eric Milburn says:

    I use a #1 tip on dissolved acetylene for years and it always done the job. Even on bigger pipe sizes. Are you in Orleans ?

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ballou PHC says:

    So can I just start a business now..

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars PRADIPTA KUMAR MAHALA says:

    Sir suction pipe make ice

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Milbow says:

    We’re live

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jad Akkawi says:

    I was never able to braze with nitrogen, the braze/solder gets pushed out of fitting. Any tips to be able to braze with nitro

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Rodel Lagutan says:

    Do you consider precision A/C installation in server rooms/data center a different industry?

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jason Dickerson says:

    I am in residential hvac want to know how can i transition into commercial side

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jason Dickerson says:

    Why you guys don't see me Service area Kanata??

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jason Dickerson says:

    J D here

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jason Dickerson says:

    Hello this is j d

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