In an attempt to save some bucks, you might be tempted to DIY your air conditioning unit that has broken down or a heater that’s not giving you a comfortable indoor temperature. But beyond replacing your air filters regularly, HVAC systems are not designed for do-it-yourself projects, which can lead to a more serious (and expensive) problem.
Leading HVAC contractor Sharpline Mechanical shares the reasons why DIY repairs are not worth the risks:
HVAC units are high-voltage appliances, which means one thing: DIY repairs carry a high risk of electrocution because you don’t have the proper gear and equipment, and you lack the technical knowledge to do it safely.
Additionally, cooling and heating appliances use chemicals and refrigerants that pose a risk of toxicity. Hence, manufacturers include a warning sign that says repairs should only be carried out by a professional with relevant certifications and training in handling these toxic chemicals.
Previous cases of toxic combustion and electrocution occurred when a homeowner attempted to DIY an HVAC repair.
More Serious and Expensive Problems
HVAC repairs require two things: technical knowledge about the appliances and a specialized set of tools. Thus, your “average toolbox” of screws and pliers won’t get the job done.
By contrast, professional HVAC contractors have invested thousands of dollars in tools and equipment specifically designed for HVAC repairs.
The vast majority of warranties on furnace and air conditioning units have clauses saying that the manufacturer will void the warranty if the system is not repaired or maintained by a licensed HVAC contractor. Hence, hiring a technician is way more cost-effective to avoid the risk of more serious problems and voiding the product warranty.
DIYers lack the technical know-how and equipment to troubleshoot and repair HVAC systems, which means tinkering with the furnace and AC units could result in reduced efficiency that’s often manifested by high energy consumption, uncomfortable home environment (e.g., inconsistent temperature), and weird noise.
Examples of HVAC Repairs You Should Never DIY
In general, HVAC repairs are not a DIY project; this is particularly true for issues explained below:
- Refrigerant leak. Air conditioners contain freons, a toxic substance that only licensed professionals can safely handle. Common signs of a leak include hissing or bubbling noise and the presence of ice on the outdoor unit’s line.
- Temperature issues. If your HVAC system no longer gives you a comfortable temperature, more often than not, the problem is beyond a simple DIY project.
- Dirty or frozen evaporator coils. The coils are sensitive and difficult to access.
- Electricity-related issues in your HVAC system. Call a licensed HVAC contractor when you notice a burning electrical smell or the breaker is frequently tripping.
- AC fan malfunction. This is often a serious problem that requires an immediate repair or replacement.
- Water leaks around the unit.
- Spike in your electricity bill. If there is a sudden unexplainable increase in your energy consumption, the usual culprit is an HVAC system that is not functioning properly, making it use more electricity than necessary.
- Strange noise. More often than not, a noise that suddenly appears is a sign that something is wrong with your unit’s engine or motor.
Sharpline Mechanical is the leading HVAC contractor in Northern California, providing homeowners and businesses a full service, ranging from installation and repair to replacement and yearly maintenance