The only thing more infuriating than a broken HVAC system is having to wait around all day for a professional HVAC technician to arrive to solve the problem. Especially during the peak of Summer or on the coldest Winter day. It’s no wonder why some people turn their HVAC repairs into DIY projects, especially with broader access to YouTube video tutorials and DIY blogs.
While working on your HVAC system yourself may be tempting, it’s not always a good idea. While do-it-yourself air conditioner repairs, furnace fixes, and DIY mini-split installations might look easy and cheap on YouTube, real life isn’t a home renovation TV show when it comes to HVAC, as there are severe risks and expenses involved.
Sure, there are general HVAC maintenance tasks that homeowners should be routinely doing; however, performing daunting HVAC repairs can have drastic consequences. Attempting HVAC repairs can be dangerous to your house and harmful to yourself. Installing an HVAC unit yourself without experience, for instance, could be hazardous.
Read our guide to discover the dangers of DIY HVAC repair, plus a few things you CAN safely do to improve the functioning of your system.
Why DIY HVAC Repair Isn’t Worth It.
Working with HVAC equipment can be a lot more complicated than people realize. It can also be very dangerous. Electricity, gasses, refrigerants, metalwork and woodwork, sometimes even plumbing skills are needed. It requires the right tools and, more importantly, the right expertise and licenses.
Here are 5 reasons why you should avoid DIY HVAC Repairs:
1. Your Safety
Residential HVAC, as comforting and cozy as it makes you and your family feel, involves a lot of potential “behind-the-scenes” dangers in the hands of an amateur. These include:
- Electric shock or fatal electrocution from touching the wrong electrical components
- Fire or explosion from mishandling natural gas
- Poisoning from inhaling carbon monoxide or gas fumes due to an improperly vented HVAC system
HVAC systems require plenty of voltage to run and if you’re not careful, this voltage can seriously harm you. Mishandling a gas furnace can lead to gas leaks, which can cause explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Air conditioners contain refrigerants, which pose health risks. Only licensed professionals can legally handle systems with refrigerants. Therefore, AC maintenance checks are best left to professionals. During annual maintenance, your HVAC contractor will check the refrigerant and recharge your system if necessary.
The disastrous scenarios described above can affect everyone in your home, not just the HVAC repair newbie.
2. Poorly Executed Repairs
Do you know how to diagnose HVAC problems accurately? Your decision to DIY an HVAC repair job based on your assumption of knowledge could be the beginning of trouble. Your home may be at risk of significant damage in case your DIY repair fails to meet the required standards and your HVAC system may not operate at peak efficiency.
Your greatest undoing will come from your lack of knowledge of wiring and other electric works. Such negligence could lead to a short circuit, resulting in a potential electrical fire.
Electrical faults directly account for more than 51,000 house fires in the United States every year, most of them resulting from defective repairs. Saving a few bucks by doing it yourself is not worth the safety risk to you, your family, and your home.
3. Lack of Proper Tools and Parts
Don’t think you can wing it with just a screwdriver and a hammer. HVAC repair requires a range of specialized tools, knowledge and replacement parts, which are updated periodically as HVAC technology advancements are made.
The cost to purchase this equipment and the necessary training to use it is beyond the means of the average layperson. When trying to fix your HVAC system yourself, you could easily cause more damage. As a result, you may have to replace more parts, leading to costlier repairs. Even worse, you could lose the entire system and require premature replacement. Also, if you get hurt while doing DIY HVAC maintenance, you may end up with a mountain of medical bills.
4. Longer Repair Time
Ideally, HVAC repairs should be completed as quickly and carefully as possible. No one wants to be without AC during a heat wave or without heat during the coldest winter days.
Heating and cooling professionals have the experience and know-how to diagnose your problem, advise you on the best solution, and get the repair done within the shortest time frame. If you were to attempt the same thing, it would most likely take you much longer to troubleshoot, assemble your tools, take the system apart, etc. Pro-Tech HVAC Home provides same or next-day service to Annapolis and the surrounding communities.
5. Warranty Void
One of the most important reasons why we advise against DIY HVAC repairs is because going this route might void your warranty! Have you read the fine print on your installation contract and furnace and air conditioning warranties? They likely contain a clause stating that they are only valid as long as the system is repaired and maintained by a professionally licensed HVAC company. By attempting a repair yourself, you could be voiding a warranty on your HVAC equipment. Once again, trying to save a little cash with DIY could end up costing you big time.
Things You CAN Do Yourself
You’ll be pleased to know there are several things you can — and should — do yourself to keep your HVAC system in great shape. These are not repairs, but are “routine maintenance” tasks that you should be doing.
- Check and replace your air filters. Adequate airflow is super important to keep your system running at peak efficiency. A good rule of thumb is to replace them every 30 to 90 days. If you have pets or keep your windows open, you may need to do it more often. Consider buying high-efficiency pleated filters that can trap more debris.
- Keep your outdoor unit free of dirt and debris. Look for leaves, pollen, sticks, dirt and foreign objects in and around your exterior HVAC unit. Remove anything that might be blocking the airflow, and keep a two-foot area around the system free of debris, snow and obstructions.
- Clean your indoor registers and air ducts. Use a damp cloth to wipe them, and vacuum between the slats to keep air flowing efficiently.
- Tune in to any odd noises coming from the indoor or outdoor units. There could be debris caught somewhere, or something may be loose. If you notice any potential wiring issues, call Pro-Tech HVAC Home right away.
- Even an HVAC system deserves a break. If the weather is not extreme, turn off the cooling and heating and use the fans to circulate air throughout your home.
We’re Here to Help YOU.
If you’re unsure what’s happening with your HVAC system, give us a call before you try any solutions yourself. We’re always happy to help troubleshoot over the phone—which means we ask questions about what’s happening with your system, discuss what the possible issues might be, then determine a time for a technician to take a look in person. Sometimes it’s as easy as us instructing you to change the filter or to flip a breaker to get things running until we can come out in person.
In the end, opting to hire a professional HVAC technician rather than carrying out DIY HVAC repairs is vital to both your family’s and your HVAC system’s well-being. If you need quality HVAC services from a professional, locally-owned and operated company in the Annapolis area, contact us at Pro-Tech HVAC Home. We provide same or next day service to our Annapolis neighbors!
Pro-Tech HVAC Home offers new installation, replacement, repairs and maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems in the Annapolis area. Our customers rely on us for honest and reliable service for air conditioners, heat pumps, gas furnaces, Mitsubishi systems, and more. We’re happy to answer questions, troubleshoot, and help you choose the best HVAC system for you and your family. We’re always happy to help answer your questions, so please give us a call or send us an email.