When your HVAC breaks down, you could be very tempted to try to service it yourself. You may want to get that heating or cooling back to work fast without laying out a lot of cash. But slow down a second. Do-it-yourself air conditioner repairs or furnace fixes are not as simple or cheap as they might look on YouTube. There are severe risks and expenses involved.
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 Isn’t DIY HVAC Repair Worth It?
DIY heating and cooling repair can put your physical safety, your wallet, and the proper functioning of your equipment at risk. Here are the top 5 dangers:
1. Mistakes Affecting 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
Many of the disastrous scenarios described above can affect everyone in your home, not just the HVAC repair newbie.
2. Mistakes Affecting Equipment Efficiency
Even if your repair hack somehow gets the heating or cooling up and running again, the system may not be operating at peak efficiency. Unless you’re a trained, experienced expert, it’s easy to make mistakes with essential tasks like correctly adjusting the thermostat or ensuring optimal airflow and drainage.
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 and replacement parts, which will need to be updated periodically as new advances in HVAC technology are made.
The cost to purchase this equipment and the necessary training to use it is beyond the means of the average layperson. Hiring professionals to service your HVAC actually makes better financial sense than doing it yourself.
4. Warranty Void
Have you read the fine print on your furnace and air conditioning warranties? They likely contain a clause stating that they are only valid as long as the system is professionally repaired and maintained. Once again, trying to save a little cash with DIY could end up costing you big time.
5. Longer Repair Time
Ideally, HVAC repair should be completed as quickly (and carefully) as possible. No one wants to be without AC during one of those GTA heatwaves or without a functional furnace when it’s -20 degrees outside.
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.
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 better shape. These fall into the category of preventive maintenance rather than repair.
Clean Your Outside AC Unit
Because your AC’s condenser is located outdoors, it can quickly become clogged with dirt, twigs, leaves, and other debris from your yard. It’s OK to clean the unit yourself. For further protection, prune back foliage surrounding the unit and ensure that there is access for HVAC professionals.
Change Air Filters
Adequate airflow is super important to keep your system running great. Check the filter monthly; whenever it looks grayish and full of dirt, change a disposable filter or clean a permanent one. Air filters need to be changed at least once every 90 days.
Install Or Replace Insulation
Insulation in good repair will give your HVAC system a welcome boost in performance and energy savings. If you haven’t yet insulated your home, what are you waiting for? And if you already have insulation, be sure to replace it if it has grown dirty or damaged.
Common Repairs To Leave To The Professionals
It’s wise to have all HVAC repairs taken care of by professionals. Here are a few important examples.
Does your air conditioner use R-22 refrigerant? R-22, commonly known as “Freon,” is being phased out in Canada because it contributes to the depletion of the ozone system. Although theoretically, Freon will last forever in your sealed HVAC system without evaporating or getting used up, it can leak. In that case, forget the question of DIY repair vs HVAC professional. Ontario law permits only certified technicians to work with ozone-depleting substances.
Dirty Evaporator Coils
Dirt is a real threat to your evaporator coils. It causes several problems — such as an air conditioner that runs all the time or that doesn’t cool, as well as frozen coils. With time, it will eventually shorten the lifespan of your AC system. Cleaning this area is complicated since it is difficult to access. Only a pro will get the job done right.
Your air conditioner has 2 fans — one indoors and one outside in the condenser unit. They’re both equally necessary for an air conditioner that cools without freezing up. Fan repair should be done by a professional, due to the delicacy of the operation and the specialized parts involved, and because the trouble with the fan is often a serious problem, making AC replacement necessary.
Relax! Your HVAC Is In Expert Hands
Rely on Dr HVAC to take excellent expert care of your HVAC… so you can relax! We perform cost effect repair, maintenance, and replacement for heating and cooling systems.
This glowing review left on Google by our customer Sonia T. says it all:
Very impressed with the level of professionalism of the HVAC tech who came out. Bryan was thorough and patient in explaining in detail what the issues were with our (fairly old) heating system and both our immediate and future options for repair. He even followed up with a detailed email listing everything! Never felt pressured and was super happy overall with the service provided. Will absolutely recommend this business. Keep up the great work Dr HVAC!