You’re minding your own business when suddenly, the air conditioner stops working, or the furnace makes a strange sound and comes to a grinding halt. Dealing with a broken HVAC unit is a tremendous inconvenience, but it happens to every homeowner at some point.
The question is how to handle this situation. If you’re skilled at performing do-it-yourself projects around the house, you might think you can tackle the repair or replacement yourself. However, unless you have specific training and certification, you shouldn’t attempt to repair or replace your HVAC unit yourself.
Dangers of Repairing Your HVAC Unit Yourself
If your HVAC unit stops working, feel free to check the circuit breaker, fiddle with the thermostat, change the filter, hose down the outdoor unit, and examine the ductwork and air vents. These simple tips may be enough to fix minor problems.
While you can certainly troubleshoot AC and furnace problems to avoid calling the professionals prematurely, we highly recommend leaving complex issues to an experienced technician. Here’s why:
- You probably don’t have the right tools – Don’t expect to repair an air conditioner with a screwdriver and pliers. HVAC maintenance and repair requires a host of specialized equipment. When heating and cooling technicians first get started, they have to invest thousands of dollars in these purpose-built tools, so don’t expect to get the job done without them.
- You might not be able to diagnose the problem – Furnaces and air conditioners are sophisticated Without proper diagnostic equipment, you’ll be left guessing what’s wrong.
- You may compromise the reliability of your HVAC system – Perhaps you determine one problem with your HVAC unit, and you repair that successfully, but another underlying problem leads to more breakdowns. These piecemeal repairs leave you feeling unsure whether your furnace or air conditioner will function properly day by day, which is very stressful.
- You might not save time or money – All these failed diagnosis attempts, ordering the wrong parts, and only fixing half the problem at a time could result in a higher expense and longer repair time than simply calling a professional.
- You will void the warranty – Maybe you think you’re free to attempt a do-it-yourself HVAC repair because if something goes wrong, you can make a warranty claim. However, manufacturers are wary of DIYers, so to qualify for warranty coverage, you must show proof of professional maintenance and repairs. A botched attempt could result in a total loss, something you can avoid by always leaving repairs to a qualified technician.
Problems with DIY HVAC Installation
When the time comes to replace your furnace or air conditioner, you may be reluctant to pay the labor costs associated with professional installation. If you think you can save money by doing the job yourself, think again. Here’s why you should always leave HVAC installation to the experts:
- You could get hurt – When working with electrical equipment, there’s always a risk of shock if you don’t know what you’re doing. The current running through an air conditioner is enough to cause serious injury or even death. For this reason alone, you should leave the installation to a highly trained technician.
- You could hurt others – High electrical voltage could result in fires during or after the installation. Incorrectly hooking up a furnace could also put your entire family in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- You will have to guess the proper size – The rule of thumb is to size an HVAC system based on the square footage of your home, but that’s not accurate enough to guarantee the best results. After all, professionals also take factors such as the climate, home orientation, air infiltration rate, insulation level, window layout, home occupancy and more into account when sizing an HVAC system. Without the tools and knowledge to take these readings, you’ll be left guessing.
- You might cause irreversible damage – A new AC unit requires a highly accurate refrigerant charge to perform its best. An overcharged system could cause inefficient cooling, while an undercharged unit is likely to freeze over. In either case, your inexperience could permanently damage the equipment.
- You may overlook ductwork leaks – During a professional installation, airflow tests help the technician set the blower just right and detect ductwork leaks that need to be sealed. Without the necessary equipment to perform these tests, holes in the air ducts and inefficient blower settings could go unnoticed, forcing your HVAC equipment to work harder than necessary.
- You could compromise the efficiency of your HVAC system – The above aspects of an improper installation could decrease system performance by up to 30 percent, raising your utility bills in the process. So much for saving money with a DIY installation.
- You might be breaking the law – Refrigerant is an environmental concern, even if you use more eco-friendly R-410A, or Puron, to charge your new air conditioner. That’s why the Clean Air Act outlines precise handling guidelines, including requirements for refrigerant handling certification. If you’re not qualified to dispose of the refrigerant in your old AC unit or charge the new system, you’re breaking the law.
Clearly, it’s best to leave HVAC repair and installation to the experts at Air Rescue. We offer professional services to residents of Tampa, Largo and the surrounding communities. Our certified technicians ensure all HVAC repairs and installations are performed efficiently, safely and with industry regulations in mind. We’ll make sure you get the most from your investment with quality, affordable HVAC services for your Florida home.
For more heating and cooling tips, or to schedule HVAC repair or installation, please contact Air Rescue today at (813) 375-9982.
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