Many people opt to try to fix issues with their electronics and appliances themselves as a way to save money. When it comes to an HVAC unit, most of the time a person who is having issues with their system is better off calling a professional. However, there are some ways to troubleshoot your system before calling the professionals. Let’s take a look at DIY vs. professional HVAC repairs, and when you should call in an expert.
Dangers of DIY Repairs
The biggest reason why it is typically discouraged to repair an HVAC unit by yourself is because it can be rather dangerous. HVAC experts have professional equipment and the experience to handle pretty much any issue that comes their way. Even the most experienced home repair experts won’t be able to compete with an HVAC professional in that regard.
An attempt at repairing an HVAC unit by someone without experience could risk a fire or explosion, carbon monoxide poisoning, or even fatal electric shock.
Hidden Costs of DIY Repairs
Most people imagine that trying to fix a broken HVAC system will save them money. But in reality, it could end up costing you just as much–if not more–than if you hired a professional.
First of all, standard tools typically don’t work when it comes to trying to repair an HVAC unit. HVAC professionals spend a lot of money on the proper equipment required, so you will have to buy the correct tools and parts for your DIY repair.
Secondly, tinkering with a furnace or air conditioner without the proper knowledge of what you’re doing could actually make your unit run at lower efficiency, which will give you higher bills in the future.
And lastly, you could end up unintentionally completely breaking the unit, which will really be a major expense, especially if it ends up needing to be replaced.
Time Spent on DIY Repairs
Even when done by professionals, furnace or air conditioner repairs can take hours. When a repair is done by someone who isn’t fully experienced or who doesn’t own the proper equipment, it will take even longer. Since HVAC issues can come up at any time and weather conditions can switch so suddenly, you are better off calling a professional so you can have the issue fixed as quickly as possible.
Warranty Loss From DIY Repairs
Many manufacturer warranties require proof that any repair or maintenance was done by an HVAC professional. Without this proof, any maintenance cost won’t be covered by the unit’s warranty, meaning you will have to pay out of your own pocket.
What Homeowners CAN Do Themselves
It is typically not worth attempting to do an HVAC repair at home. However, homeowners can stay on top of their HVAC’s maintenance by themselves. In fact, most maintenance can (and should) be done by the homeowner.
Some of these tasks include cleaning up debris from around an outdoor AC unit, changing your air filters about every 90 days, and checking to see if your ducts are dirty.
Keep in mind, you always have the option to call a professional to help with maintenance you aren’t comfortable with.
What Homeowners SHOULDN’T Do Themselves
As we’ve mentioned, DIY HVAC repair should be avoided. It should especially be avoided in a few instances.
You should never try to resolve a refrigerant leak yourself. Refrigerant is similar to carbon monoxide in the sense that it is odorless and tasteless, but it is still dangerous.
Dealing with fan malfunction is another instance where you should call the experts. The fans that are in air conditioning units are very delicate. Therefore, replacing them takes a lot of care. In many cases, a fan issue will require a whole AC replacement.
Lastly, you should never try to clean evaporator coils yourself. Cleaning these coils can be tricky because they are hard to access.
In most cases, a simple DIY is the most cost-effective option. But that is not the case when it comes to HVAC units. Having the assistance of a professional is always better than risking your health, safety, and wallet. Contact us today at 724-479-9949 if you need an expert for your HVAC needs!