Mini Split installation charges, are they actually inflated?

mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,167 ✭✭✭✭✭

To start with, perhaps I'm comparing apples to oranges to some degree, labor costs do vary depending on location.I'm in Thailand

Yesterday I found a Samsung inverter mini split on clearance, the R410a 10 000 BTU making way for the R32 version, the cost including installation, wall mounting bracket, duct for insulated liquid/gas lines was ~$ 450

This is where it gets interesting, today two guys arrived at 2 pm to install the unit, they had it installed in 45 minutes, the evaporator is pre charged with some gas, unknown to me, the compressor is also pre chaged with refrigerant with valves to release it. They attached a vacuum pump to evacuate the lines before releasing the charge, tested the operation, packed up and left, before 3 pm, to move on to their next install.

My question is, what is the average cost of installation of a mini split , above the initial cost of the unit, my research comes with the range of $300 to $1500, with an average of $500 in the USA, if the units are pre charged, the labor involved is dramatically reduced, no charging the system from a tank by weight, is this a realistic figure. Do the charges reflect the actual work involved, or are they based on old methods, or do the rates include travel time.

In my opinion installation should be included in the initial price, with installers on sub contact to the vendor without any hidden fees, it's a more honest business practice.

The same goes when buying a new vehicle here, the sticker price is what is paid, all taxes, PDI is included with no extras, they even include a years premium insurance at no cost including extras, window tint, bed liner, floor mats, door handle garnish, all service for 5 years including lubricants, filters, belts and such at no charge.

Are you getting screwed on the hidden costs? I think so, after over 30 years in Canada I know so, for there at least.

Naturally with all systems there are pros and cons, I could continue but digression would get in the way of the initial question.

1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.

Comments

  • PNW_StevePNW_Steve Registered Users Posts: 79 ✭✭

    I can't break out materials and labor but I can tell you that I got quotes from local HVAC companies for a single 12k btu unit installed. $2300-3100.

    I can buy a similar unit online for $700-1100.

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,186 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My understanding is many (most/all?) vendors require qualified (however defined) installation. As such, price competition is limited to between those so qualified. The actual work involved may have almost nothing to do with it.

    My car will need a new battery soon. The battery is worth about CAD$125. The dealer quoted ~ $450 to replace it. Apparently the dealer has a gizmo (not generally available to non dealers) to reset the battery "state of health" in the onboard computer, which affects functions like keyless door locking and radio station memory. A pox on all their houses I say!

    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,706 admin

    There is always the issues of when things do not go right.... From something in the install is not what was expected, to the installer broke something, to the A/C has a warranty issue (or was damaged during shipment). The installers (and factory) are expected to "eat" those costs.

    As well as the normal costs of having staff to do the work, vehicles, stocking parts, driving time, etc....

    Not saying they are not making a killing--But there are other costs than paying $50 an hour for onsite labor.

    Competition can reduce these costs... But factory/distribution rules can run costs up too (minimum manufacturer retail pricing, agreements among installers for fixed rate installs, etc.)--Some of which may be illegal in your country/state/etc.

    -Bill

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,840 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If you live offgrid in a remote place you really should consider learning it yourself. Many of my clients take a hvac course, learn it on youtube, or I teach them. It really starts with having the attitude that you do it yourself, in my opinion.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,167 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Many newer cars will generate a fault code in the ECU when the battery is removed, connecting a second battery in parallel will maintain power to the ECU during replacement and not cause a fault. Fault codes can be reset using an OBD 2 tool which are not too expensive these days. This is a general statement some manufacturers may differ, forums for the particular make may provide information, others must have complained about that quoted amount.

    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,186 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was thinking the fault code - bit flip on disconnect could be a problem, so figured on hooking up another battery before disconnecting the old one. Maybe a booster pack would do the trick.

    My understanding from local garage is my brand (Audi) uses some sort of secret decoder ring for their readers. The local guy can do stuff like tires that don't require any bit flipping, but the dealer apparently has a lock on the rest :-(

    I think there's a growing push coming for legislated "right to repair". People are getting fed up with products like phones that have to be replaced entirely when the battery runs down because the maker won't allow for reasonably priced 3rd party replacement.

    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,706 admin

    The phones are designed and assembled in such a way, they generally lose their water proof rating when the battery is changed (at least in the Samsung).

    I loved the Samsung S5 because it had a replaceable battery (got 5 of them at very low prices at as the new model came out)--But finding a good battery a few years later was a pain (lots of questionable, non-OEM batteries out there, and I guess did not have the NFC antenna).

    In the end, the phones after a couple of years, the hardware either failed before the battery (display problems) or just after I put a new battery in (reboot cycle).

    ...

    Oh well.

    -Bill

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,441 ✭✭✭✭

    For my S4 I keep a fully charged extra battery in my backpack for those rare times when I need to charge, but can't

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,167 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Did a little research on Audi battery replacement, here's what I found. The extensive use of electronics consumes power even when not in use, the battery capacity is monitored, probably by voltage? , if it drops below a certain level certain non essential circuits are disabled, remote door locking foe example.

    The replacement battery has to be an OEM Audi battery, there is a BEM code on the battery which needs to be entered into the computer via the OBD2 port using VCDS software downloadable to a windows PC, an interface cable lie this https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-OBD2-409-1-USB-Cable-VAG-COM-OBD-Diagnostic-Scanner-VW-Audi-Seat-VCDS-2019/263289249433?hash=item3d4d431e99:g:8MYAAOSw3Bla1Yti will allow communication to enter the BEM code and reset the onboard computer to recognize the new battery. This link https://www.audiworld.com/how-tos/a/audi-a4-b8-how-to-replace-battery-421715 explains the procedure on certain A4 model years, most likely similar to others just battery location may differ ( an assumption ), just did a search on A4. Since the cable is ~$5, could save yourself some money.

    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • 706jim706jim Solar Expert Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    I can only imagine what a replacement Audi battery must cost.

    Island cottage solar system with 2400 watts of panels, 1kw facing southeast 1kw facing southwest 400watt ancient Arco's facing south.Trace DR1524 MSW inverter, Trace C40 PWM controller 8 Trojan L16's. Insignia 11.5 cubic foot electric fridge. My 27th year.
  • stmoloudstmoloud Registered Users Posts: 111 ✭✭
    edited April 1 #12

    In my experience of Thailand there are often two prices - one for farang (foreigners) & one for Thais. This is where the Thai significant other might actually save you some money. Oh, bliss!

    Good info on buying cars other there. Now I know why they appear to be expensive.

    I still drive a 1990 Toyota Hilux with manual windows, carburetor, and no air con so I cannot comment on Audi batteries etc, and sometimes I believe myself to be better off. Rare instance I have to employ a mechanic I will employ somebody who actually calls himself a mechanic and will give 'technicians' a very wide berth as, quite frankly, not being able to plug a computer into my vehicle they are absolutely useless. And will charge you three times as much if you want to find out.

    760W panel array, 4 x 6v 220 ah Crown batteries, Tristar TS-45 PWM controller,  no name 600 PSW inverter. 
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,351 ✭✭✭✭
    Back to mini split install cost.  Each one is different so hard to price per each.  That said, doing the basic plumbing and wiring is a snap for any DYIer.  I did one for a friend, Daiken unit, single indoor unit, recharged.  I put a help wanted on Craig’s list and found a HVAC guy to do the final flare (as I needed to change the length, I could have done that my self) nitrogen pressure test and evac.  Cost me $100. He had the tools, including the nitrogen, the vacuum pump and gauges.  I wouldn’t do this often engough to justify the tools, so $100 is cheap.  

    On my end, hanging the indoor unit, running the linesets etc took a couple hours, single story install, with the compressor right near the evapaorator.


  • WaterWheelWaterWheel Registered Users Posts: 331 ✭✭✭
    I installed a 2 head system in my house with the heads on opposite ends of the house,      I did most of the work in a day with my wife helping for an hour as I snaked the lines through a spot in the eaves.

    I then paid a local AC guy $100 to purge the lines as I did the final hookup.

    Conext XW6848 with PDP, SCP, 80/600 controller, 60/150 controller and Conext battery monitor

    21 SW280 panels on Schletter ground mount

    48v Rolls 6CS 27P

  • NikiNiki Registered Users Posts: 21 ✭✭
    I did a similar thing with a Fujitsu minisplit years ago only I had to pay $250 to have it blessed by the HVAC guy to have a 5 year warranty.  It was worth it as it has worked flawlessly for about 8 years off grid.  SEER rating of 26!
    Re the auto battery dealer scam I put a Northstar battery (the ultimate car battery) in my Cayman S without loosing any programming by plugging a gadget in my lighter socket that had a 9 volt battery on the other end which kept everything alive.  Worked great and available at my local auto parts store for about $5. The Northstar cost me considerably less than Porsche wanted for a Bosch OEM and it’s a plante AGM far better technology with 1000 cranking amps and 10 yr Design life.
  • MrM1MrM1 Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭✭
    edited October 1 #16
    We bought a 2 ton mini split unit back in the spring,  had it installed last July.  The unit was  already hung,  the pad was poured and the unit was sitting on the pad.  Electrical connected by us and all copper lines where already in place (thru the wall and installed but not connected - need a flare).  The unit came precharged.  We had a AC co. come in and do it on the weekend.  It was one of those, "I know a guy" deals. "Friend of a friend,  he'll do you right", things.  Well, all they had to do was connect the copper on each end,  install the stat and connect to power. We already had the disconnect by the unit. All parts where already on site,  but after less than 3 hours,  we said,  how much and about passed out at $400 dollars.  felt like we were robbed.
    I just last week had a guy install a 5 ton standard split unit.  He had to remove my old unit including collecting the gas,  install the new unit, acid wash my copper lines twice, place and set both the condenser and the blower, sweat all copper, add gas, connect power and stat ... charged me $700 and he was there all day.  Much better deal.
    Needless to say, I will be using the 2nd guy again.
    REC TwinPeak 2 285W 3S-3P 2.6kW-STC / 1.9kW-NMOT Array / MN Solar Classic 150 / 2017 Conext SW 4024 Inverter latest firmware / OB PSX-240 Autotransfomer for load balancing / Trojan L16H-AC 435Ah bank 4S connected to Inverter with 7' of 4/0 cable / 24 volt system / Grid-Assist or Backup Solar Generator System Powering 3200Whs Daily / System went Online Oct 2017 / System, Pics and Discussion
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