Aircon install

I planned to have 4 aircon units in the house. Looking at the install costs, decided to go DIY route. Surely it will be better if not at the same cost as the “pro’s” charge to have 4 of em done. Hmmmm what a steep learning curve.

Not to talk about them tools. At least a vacuum pump was already here for another project, so decided lets just buy the rest o the tools. Ja right….

Will post up a bit more on this new and unplanned adventure.


Yeah, it is a lot more work than I thought it would be. If you have a back-to-back installation, the prices quoted for installation from some places is really not that bad.

Supply of AC/R tools in SA is a crapshoot at best. Rhothenberger and Testo are available, some Yellowjacket stuff and of course the Asia suppliers. I figured, all the rest of the tools will fit into that installation budget, just add my time and a few meters of copper tubing. Aaaand some R410A gas. Oh and some fittings and a vacuum gauge and some hoses and and and…. You get the picture….


I will gladly lend you mine… Just shout if you need them.

Thank you Jaco, really appreciate the offer. Rather lend me your experience tho, got most of the tools for now, only need to do the evacuation and add R410A for the pipe length. Will shout if I need anything in the line of tools. Need to get a Core drill of the right size for these late 50s very hard bricks.


Please remember not to use hammer action on the core drill. It’s a very common mistake that will lead to the destruction of the drill bit. A steady pressure will get you trough the bricks in no time…

Sarel. Dis eintlik baie maklik om te install. We did it over the weekend. I did the prep work last week. Got hold of a 60mm bit for a hilti. Drilled the hole with say 6 degree drop from inside to outside to help with the draining of the water out of the unit. The next door neighbor of my parent’s came to help me with connection of the pipes. We used the 3 meter extension pipe kit that came with the unit. The kit comes with al the fittings and and stuff. We run a bit short and luckily i had a second kit, so we cut the pipe and extend by flaring the pipe and brace the extra pipe in.

Then he tightened up the 1/4 fitting on the outside unit and then 3/8 fittings but the one on the outside unit he didn’t tight that one up to tight. He open the allenkey on the valves til the gas start running and then he tight the 3/8 fitting.

And so I was under the impression he need to pull vacume. He says the unit is loaded with a bit more gas than normal. So it’s actually super easy

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I was wondering why all the fancy tools are needed. If it’s a short run then the way you explained works well to purge the line of impurities.

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I pull vacuum on all my units to ensure there is no leaks before I open the high and low pressure “Allen cap” screws… That way you also get rid of any moisture that might have entered the line during installation and that includes moisture in the form of humidity…

Each to his own, but that does not sound correct. I am no expert, let alone installed a singe unit in my life. But I did have a few fights with installation technicians in the past due to piss poor installations. And I can read and comprehend.

In the install manual for my system they explain exactly what must be done to get and keep your warranty. A tripple evacuation and pressure testing must be completed or no warranty. Strict specifications on how much vacuum etc.

Water clinging to insides of copper pipes cannot be blown out. Only way to get rid of that is by vacuum. Exactly the same for refrigeration systems. I will stick to them fancy tools and measure things and know, rather than not knowing or guessing.



Why get rid of water and humidity in the pipes? Water and compressor lubricating oil, under conditions of heat and pressure, oil when mixed, creates various compounds like varnishes and acids. Acids will destroy pipes and condenser/evaporator coils in short order. It will also eat away at the orifice valve controlling the system.


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Just a reminder about vacuum and water…

Jip, don’t mistake, he had all his equipment with him, he works on cold storage plants so got all the fancy stuff, so I didn’t question his knowledge and work. He explained some stuff that made sense to me what he did.

I don’t really want to do this, but the standard is to pull vacuum, that is one of the first things they teach you in refrigeration… The reasons is as follows,

Pulling vacuum is the process of evacuating a refrigeration or air conditioning system (including refrigerant lines, coils, etc) of all unwanted contaminants and particulate primarily dirt, water and air. This is done by lowering pressure within the system to reduce the boiling point of water, at which point (generally 27.75 inches Hg) vaporization occurs. The process of pulling vacuum is performed to rid the system of these potentially harmful substances to ensure that the refrigerant in the system has a clean, pure environment in which it can operate best. Not pulling proper vacuum can lead to:

  1. Premature corrosion
  2. Line restrictions
  3. Mechanical breakdown (compressor, expansion valves)
  4. Lower efficiency
  5. Ultimate system failure

Taken From: The Right Way of Pulling Vacuum | Classic Heat and Air

OK, well all this means I’ll be paying someone to install the next AC… I have been thoroughly cured from the notion that I want to do it myself.

Now you just hope the installer does it correctly…

Apart from the cost, this is my other worry. I have seen enough in my IT career spanning ~40 years of cockups in data centres big and small. Callbacks and rework galore in cooling systems.

Buy tools for same price as install charges, learn even mores lot in a very short time. At least I can redo it if I screw up the first time, as I now have the tools…


I’ve been there a few times. First time I had to put burglar bars on a (rental) house. Saw the neighbour had nice ones in, asked him about it, he said: Go to Crawford Steel services, buy 5 x 20 flat bar, cut to size and drill. Then drive across the road to Aspect powder coating and have it coated. I made burglar barring for a whole house for under R1k (though that was back in 2008, steel has become insanely more expensive since then) when the quotes were 9 times that. Now part of that exercise was that I needed a drill stand… R600. Still have it today. Same thing happened repeatedly, which is why I own a mitre saw, jack stands, a trolley jack, a vacuum pump (for bleeding brakes), a torque wrench, a hammer drill, plumbing tools, an earth leakage tester, a network cable crimper, etc etc… each one was acquired at some point when the cost of one more tool was just worth it…

Most recent acquisition: A cut-off saw. Cause I got really tired of cutting steel with an angle grinder. Measure, clamp… buuuzzzz… clank… there’s your piece of steel.

Maybe I must start a tool post, just like the meter post, or just post the tools on this one, well the AC tools anyhow…

But that was mostly the way I got a lot of my tools. That is now apart from all the tools I convinced myself I really really needed for something or another project :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: :man_shrugging:t3: