Can I Service My AC Myself?

When that intense South Texas heat kicks into high gear, the absolute worst is having your air conditioner die or act up. While most people choose to call a professional when there is a major issue, smaller issues can be a gray area. If you are handy, you may consider a DIY fix. Read on to learn when you can safely work on an issue yourself and when you should be sure to involve a trained technician.

Regular AC Maintenance Tasks You Can Do Yourself

Keeping your air conditioning system in top shape is key to ensuring efficient, reliable cooling all summer long. While most maintenance and repair tasks require a professional technician, there are a few simpler tasks that homeowners can tackle themselves between tune-ups.

Filter Swaps

One of the easiest yet most crucial maintenance jobs is regularly replacing your air filter. A clogged filter restricts airflow, straining the system and driving up energy costs. Check your filter every 1-3 months, depending on usage. If the filter is no longer translucent, it’s time to change it. While it may seem counterintuitive, be sure not to upgrade your filter to a higher SEER level without talking to your HVAC professional first. Smaller mesh can catch smaller particles, but it also requires a stronger fan to pull air into the system through the intake. If your fan is not strong enough, you can cause stress and premature wear on your system.

Outdoor Cleanup

Your outdoor condensing unit outside can get caked with dirt, leaves, and debris, obstructing airflow. After a big storm or autumn leaf fall, you can clean debris away from the unit. If you have vegetation growing too close to your unit, trim it back at least 2-3 feet to allow for adequate airflow. If you find caked-on dirt, pollen or mold and you don’t have an upcoming maintenance appointment, you can shut off power and carefully clear away any built-up gunk on the outside of the unit. You may also be able to use a garden hose to rinse the fins.

Thermostat Check

Your thermostat tells your air conditioner when to run and when to stop based on a desired home temperature. If you think that your air conditioner is not cooling your home to the right temperature, you can check the calibration of your thermostat on your own. Get a separate thermometer and place it near your thermostat. When your AC shuts off because your home is at a desired temperature, compare the temperatures of the thermometer and thermostat. If they are off more than a degree or two, it’s time to call a professional and tell them what you have discovered. To check calibration as accurately as possible, be sure to keep your thermometer very near your thermostat because temperatures will vary slightly in different areas of your home.

Troubleshooting Consultation

There are issues that may be serious and may be small. If a breaker flips one time and you can flip it back with no issues, then it may have been a small surge or other momentary electrical issue. If you hear a rattling in your fan, it may be that a small item is caught and that you can remove it yourself (once you have safely turned the fan off to avoid damage). If you’re unsure, you may wish to ask your HVAC professionals whether a sound you hear is something that can be ignored or fixed at home. In some cases, a few questions answered over the phone can give you an idea of whether you need service and how severe the problem is.

The Risks of Servicing Your Own AC

Professional HVAC technicians have the specialized training, tools, and expertise to properly diagnose and repair complex issues that go beyond DIY capabilities. If you are not a trained professional, there are many reasons to avoid fixing your own air conditioner. As a contrast, home repairs can risk your safety, system and wallet in the following ways:

System Damage

Without proper training and tools, amateur repair attempts risk causing damage to delicate equipment components. You may bend fan blades, miscalibrate components or return components to an unbalanced state. Damage or incorrectly installed pieces can cause additional wear to the system.

Complex repairs require the right skills and equipment to resolve them safely and correctly. Professionals go through years of training in basic skills and brand-specific repair requirements. They have a large supply of HVAC-specific tools for proper diagnosis of issues, calibration and repair. They also know how to source the right replacement parts for your make and model of air conditioner.

Safety Hazards

Air conditioners contain electrical and refrigerant materials that can be extremely hazardous if mishandled. If your refrigerant levels are low, only licensed individuals may purchase this substance to top it off. Also, air conditioners can be an electrical danger due to the amount of power required to run them.

Safety is a major component of professional HVAC training. Skilled staff learn how to make repairs safe for themselves and to look for hazards to the home or health of their clients. In addition to repairing your system safely within their own skill set, they will let you know when other professional services like electricians or duct cleaning techs are needed to keep your air conditioner running properly without risk.

Voided Warranties

DIY repairs may violate manufacturer warranties. If you damage a part by working on it yourself, you may lose all future replacement and repair opportunities that would have been otherwise covered. Working with a pro means that you have the documentation needed to use your warranty without concern. Professionals will often check the state of your warranty before beginning work to save you money. They may also work with manufacturers on your behalf to get your warrantied part or repair covered.

Annual Tuneups

In addition to calling a professional to address repairs, you can schedule annual maintenance to catch potential problems early. This allows you to speak to your HVAC professional about your system’s unique needs. They can give you tips on the best way to keep your system running efficiently between tune-ups, what to watch for if your system is nearing the end of its lifespan and when to start budgeting for a new system. They can also give you tips on how to perform simpler DIY tasks like changing air filters or programming your thermostat.

Schedule an Appointment

When the brutal Texas summer leaves you melting, don’t get stuck sweating it out with a busted AC unit. Trust the cooling experts at Rosenberg Plumbing & Air to keep your home or business an oasis of comfort all season long. With over 30 years of experience under our tool belts, our team of highly trained HVAC technicians knows all the ins and outs of keeping residents of San Antonio cool.

From routine maintenance that maximizes efficiency to complex repairs and full system replacements, we’ve got the skills and specialized equipment to tackle any AC issue. And our services extend beyond just cooling – we’re also pros at heating systems, so you can count on us to keep you cozy when winter rolls around, too. Whether you need a new furnace installed, a heat pump tuned up, or any other HVAC assistance, we’re the one-stop shop.

Don’t sweat it this summer with a busted AC. Call Rosenberg Plumbing & Air today to schedule your service appointment.

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