Can I Fix My Own HVAC?
For many homeowners, the thought of trying to fix something instead of calling a professional can be tempting. From a broken door hinge to simple plumbing, there are some obvious benefits to the DIY approach. DIY projects are appealing because you can fix the issue immediately – no need to wait for a technician. You might also save some money if you already have the tools and materials on hand. While this can be a reasonable approach for some household fixes, you should think twice about opening up your HVAC unit to repair it yourself. If you’re in need of a fix and find yourself wondering, “Can I fix my own HVAC?” Here’s what you need to know.
What Could Go Wrong?
Trying to fix your own HVAC unit can be dangerous. You are potentially dealing with chemicals and gases, not to mention live electrical wires and currents. Even if you’re following instructions or a tutorial on YouTube, interacting with these elements without proper training can result in serious injury to yourself or others.
In addition, you risk damaging or completely breaking your HVAC in an attempt to fix it yourself. While trying to save money in the short run, you could cost yourself thousands to replace the unit entirely.
The bottom line: From a financial and safety standpoint, it’s not a good idea to attempt HVAC repair yourself.
What You Can Do
Never fear, DIY enthusiasts – there are still a few ways to maintain your HVAC unit from home without the risks. To keep things running as efficiently as possible, you can regularly check for and clear debris around your external unit. This includes tree branches, plant growth and any trash or other loose items that can build up around it (particularly after a storm).
Next, you can check and replace your air filter regularly. This can be done as often as every 1-3 months, depending on if you have pets or family members with allergies. For those who are sensitive to allergens, it is recommended to replace the filter more frequently to keep the air as dust- and dander-free as possible. Finally, if the battery in your thermostat goes out, you can replace it yourself. These batteries are fairly simple to access and replace without a technician’s help.
In addition to these maintenance tips, one of the best ways to keep your HVAC in good working order is by scheduling regular maintenance with a certified technician.
Knowing When to Call
While it’s not a good idea to attempt HVAC maintenance yourself, you can be a huge help to the professionals by providing specific details when you make a request for repairs. If you call to report a weird sound, unusual smell or other malfunction, observe carefully and make note of what you see. This can help your technician determine what, if anything, needs to be done ahead of time.
You can also help determine whether maintenance is needed by consulting this checklist before you call:
Make sure your thermostat is operating normally and is on your desired settings. This includes temperature settings, toggles, power connections and backup batteries.
Dirty Air Filters
How long has it been since you’ve changed your air filter? Dirty air filters can have a significant impact on your system’s performance and could cause your system to run longer and harder than it should.
Blocked or Closed Registers
Do you have obstructed registers? Closed, blocked or dirty registers could restrict airflow throughout your home and impact your system’s performance.
Check for obvious interruptions or problems with your system’s power supply. This could include your circuit breaker, power switch, fuses and issues with electrical connections.
Ice or Frost
Look over your outdoor unit and indoor air handler (if applicable) for ice or frost. It may be normal for your system to be covered in ice or frost under some conditions, but not for extended periods of time.
Is steam rising from your unit? Similar to ice or frost, this could be normal for your air conditioning unit under certain circumstances, including cold weather. If the steam persists for a long period of time, you may have an issue.
If you have a gas-powered system, make sure that your gas hasn’t been disconnected or shut off.
So… Can I Fix My Own HVAC?
While you can certainly prolong the life of your unit through basic upkeep, when it comes to actual repairs, we recommend leaving it to the professionals. Saving on the cost of a technician is not worth the cost of damaging your unit, or much worse, putting yourself in a dangerous situation. The team at Barineau Heating and Air Conditioning can help you diagnose a problem, determine the necessary repairs and get things up and running at a reasonable price. Give us a call today or click here for an emergency appointment.