I bought a Mitsubishi Heavy industries 1 ton unit this Friday. For all previous AC purchases, I have always bought the installation kit from the AC installers. This time I decided to purchase directly from a place which I discovered recently. I discovered this place is in Abid Market, Lahore. All these AC installers buy their kits from this shop. When you enter Abid Market, keep going straight till the far end, this shop is on your right inside a plaza it has no name but you will be able to see many AC installers buying kits from the here.
When I asked about the prices for various items I was amazed to know that installers charge 100% or more from the customer on each item. The Rs. 1000 installation charges are peanuts in comparison to how they rip you off on the other items. An AC installer can earn Rs. 3000 or more in profit every time they install an AC! For the benefit of all here are the actual prices.
Installer price (250 per foot, 350 per foot if you buy from Hyperstar)
Actual price (125 per foot) This includes both pipes
The insulation foam is also quite cheap, I don’t have the exact price right now but I will post it after referring to my bill. Always buy separate foam for high pressure and low pressure pipe. Don’t put both in one foam. Set of 4 flare nuts cost Rs. 120. New ACs usually have them so there is no need for this item. Always buy extra pipe rather than simply measuring actual distance from indoor to outdoor, and give it two loops before connecting it to the outdoor. This will help minimize vibration and prevent oil from collecting in the indoor unit.
AC bracket 1.5 ton
Installer price (Rs. 500-600)
Actual price (Rs 250)
When you buy the bracket, also buy the wall mounting bolts, I don’t have the exact price but I think they should not be more than Rs. 20 per bolt. Also buy rubber mounting pads that sit between the outdoor and the bracket. This will help minimize vibration. And finally you need 4 bolts with nuts to attach the outdoor to the bracket
AC refrigerant 13.5 kg cylinder (Sufficient enough to fill ten completely empty 1 ton ACs)
Gas is pre-filled in new ACs but if you have an old AC that is low on gas, then you should be aware of refrigerant prices.
Chinese R22 cylinder 13.5kg (Rs. 3700)
Honeywell USA R22 cylinder 13.5kg (Rs. 6000)
Installer charges (Rs.1000 minimum for topping up AC if gas is low and if it is completely empty they will charge you Rs.2000 or more!)
According to the shop owner, 1 ton AC uses approximately 1 kg gas. So 1 cylinder is good enough for filling ten completely empty 1 ton ACs. If you have a lot of ACs installed in your home it is wise to buy one cylinder and keep it at home for topping up gas, and just pay the installer his labour. The shop owner claimed that everyone in the market is using Chinese R22 and he said there are no complaints.
You can even buy gas by the kilo, the shop owner will fill it in your cylinder if you have one, or you can buy an old cylinder from him and get it filled for Rs. 300 per kilo.
You might also need a drain pipe, which is available at sanitary fitting shops for about Rs. 6 per foot.
The single most important part of the AC installation is purging the lines before opening the refrigerant valve on the outdoor. The problem is that you need a vacuum pump to do this and I have not met a single installer who has a vacuum pump. The vacuum pump sucks moisture from the lines. All of them skip this part and simply open the valve to let some air out. If you read the installation manual, the method for purging lines is clearly specified. I did not have a vacuum pump so I had to skip this part for my AC installation, but I plan on buying one and keeping it at home next time I need to install an AC.
Last and equally important step is to check refrigerant connections for leaks with soapy water. Kick the installer in the butt if he tells you it is not required.
I hope this information will help you save money on your AC installation and ensure that you have a chilling summer and long lasting AC.