Dangers of DIY AC Repairs
Do-it-yourself (DIY) home repairs are all the rage now. Why pay a costly professional or contractor to come into your home, disrupt your life and fix something when you can do it with a few tools from the local hardware store and a video tutorial? While self-sufficiency is an important skill to learn as a homeowner, it’s also good to know when to leave things to the professionals.
DIY air conditioning (AC) unit repair is a bad idea for many reasons. HVAC maintenance is a serious undertaking, and professional technicians undergo months and months of training to learn the ins and outs of AC unit repair. Continue reading to learn why it’s not a good idea to fix your AC yourself.
Can I Fix My AC Myself?
There are some repairs you can safely do to your AC, but they involve general maintenance. Anything more serious that requires special tools or knowledge should only be completed by a professional. Air conditioning maintenance you can perform yourself includes:
- Changing filters: If you’re familiar with your unit, where the filter is and how to get to it, you can change your AC’s air filter. However, if you’re unsure where it is or how to access it, it’s best to leave it to the professionals at your regular maintenance appointment.
- Cleaning the unit: An essential piece of maintenance for your AC unit is ensuring it is clean and clear of debris. If your home has lots of trees nearby, check around and inside the unit to be sure no large twigs have made it inside. These inspections are especially important in late winter and early spring before you start your air conditioning for the season.
- Installing a leaf guard cover: If you find debris constantly making its way into your AC unit or you suspect birds may be trying to build a nest in it, you can install an inexpensive leaf guard cover. This cover will prevent critters and debris from clogging your unit, making it easier to maintain.
Because keeping up with everything that goes along with HVAC repairs can be hard for many homeowners, Metro Services HVAC provides preventative maintenance plans to ensure your unit receives the proper inspections and tune-ups. Preventative maintenance can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in repair or replacement costs by catching issues before they happen.
Dangers of AC Repairs
If your AC isn’t running as it should, or you think you need any maintenance beyond changing the air filter, you should call a professional HVAC technician. DIY AC repairs are dangerous because they can lead to injury when not performed correctly. You may also inadvertently cause more damage to your machine, so it’s important to always call a professional for HVAC service.
Below are a few reasons why performing AC repair on your own is a bad idea:
1. Risk of Personal Injury
With the increase in DIY projects from people staying at home in 2020, emergency room visits from botched home repairs increased. According to a research survey, 290,000 home improvement injuries required a trip to the emergency room. Performing any DIY home project should involve a comprehensive safety assessment and plan. However, HVAC repair is not something you want to undertake for yourself.
HVAC repair comes with many risks that professional technicians are trained to assess and respond to. These risks might include:
- Inhaling toxic fumes from the refrigerant.
- Spreading contaminants and allergens throughout your home.
- Risking electrical shocks and fire.
- Leaking carbon monoxide.
- Suffering lacerations from sharp machine parts.
- Crushing appendages between or under heavy machinery parts.
2. Complex Parts and Pieces
An AC unit is a complex piece of machinery. Even HVAC technicians in training learn their skills on older systems so they don’t risk damaging new ones. HVAC machines are so sensitive that one wrong move could compromise the entire machine. If you twist the wrong pipe or apply too much pressure to a certain area, you could cause damage that leads to an expensive and lengthy repair.
Even if you consider yourself a pretty handy individual, there’s a big chance you may not be prepared to handle the complex parts and machinery AC units have to do a proper repair. A professional technician has the technical know-how to navigate your AC unit without causing further damage or lengthening the repair time.
3. Costly Tools and Equipment
While you might have an extensive toolbox, odds are you do not have all the supplies, equipment and tools necessary to perform the proper repairs or maintenance on your AC unit. To perform a DIY AC repair on your own, you will probably need to purchase new tools that will be more expensive than the average because of their specialized use.
Equipment will also be a costly expense. If you can manage to find the right part for your unit online, you’ll likely have to purchase it from an online retailer, with will include additional delivery and shipping costs.
4. Voided Warranties
Many manufacturers include warranties on the HVAC machines that detail specific repairs and issues the warranty will cover under regular use. However, these warranties often include the stipulation that any AC installation, repair or maintenance be done by a licensed professional. You risk voiding your warranty if you try to repair your AC unit yourself.
In addition to trying to perform repairs yourself, you can void your warranty by:
- Installing unauthorized parts.
- Getting a new furnace without replacing the AC unit.
- Failing to perform regular maintenance.
- Not registering your equipment after installation.
5. Lack of Cool Air When You Need It Most
When an AC unit breaks down in the middle of summer, waiting for a repair technician as your family sweats in the house can seem like the worst idea. However, it’s during these times you need to trust a professional the most. They will be able to diagnose and fix the issue much faster than you can, and you’ll avoid any extended periods without air conditioning due to improper repairs.
Additionally, if you fail to diagnose the problem right the first time, you may experience further AC outages that can impact your family’s comfort and health in your home.
Metro Services HVAC proudly serves homeowners in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. areas. Having an HVAC system break down can be a stressful and costly scenario, but we pride ourselves on HVAC service where quality meets affordability.
If you see any signs of trouble with your HVAC system or want to ensure your system remains in tip-top shape, contact Metro Services HVAC. We employ professional, licensed technicians that can service your AC unit and ensure your family is comfortable at home.