What A/C Repairs Can I Do Myself?

In the Carolinas, our air conditioning systems only get a few breaks around the year. All of this hard work makes them more prone to experiencing repair needs, which can occur at any time of the year. And, as it starts to heat up, the last thing you want is to deal with an air conditioner that can't keep up.


It can be extremely frustrating when your cooling system isn't able to keep you comfortable. When this happens, we understand how tempting it can be for you to try to save money by calling Larry, your neighbor's cousin with some handyman skills, or even looking for a DIY video on YouTube.


We urge you to not go with either of these options. The modern A/C is an intricate piece of refrigeration equipment, and it takes years of training and specialized tools to handle even the most basic repairs. Common repair tasks such as replacing motors or sealing refrigerant leaks and recharging lost refrigerant are out of reach of amateur workers. Even correctly diagnosing an issue can be tricky.

Why Shouldn't You Try Fixing It Yourself?

Rather than attempting a repair on your own and potentially damaging your system, it's a better idea to call the trained and experienced HVAC technicians. There are several reasons that we give this advice, which we've highlighted below:


Insurance

Professional HVAC businesses require proper licensing, bonding and insurance. These are the basic requirements to work in this profession. This protects you from being liable should any damage or injury occur to you OR Larry, which is an inherent risk if you are not a Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning professional.


Safety Risks

Residential HVAC involves a lot of potential behind-the-scenes dangers in the hands of an amateur. There are lot of risks associated with HVAC systems that our team has learned to avoid. An air conditioning unit is a complex high-voltage system with many different components. Some parts of the machine remain energized even after power is disconnected. By attempting a DIY repair, you could be risking electrical shock or fatal electrocution, natural gas or carbon monoxide leaks, reduced indoor air quality, chemical exposure, electrical fires, and other injuries. In 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported eight hundred nonfatal occupational injuries in North Carolina in the plumbing, heating, and air conditioning industry.


Inaccurate Diagnosis

A big part of performing air conditioning repairs is finding out exactly what is wrong. Most symptoms of A/C problems have a number of causes behind them. People without the adequate training to diagnose these causes won't be able to pinpoint how to fix the problem.


A/C Repairs Are Complex

There's a reason why air conditioning experts receive so much training to understand the ins and outs of an A/C unit. And they continue to receive ongoing education to understand how equipment continues to evolve. Many of the parts and pieces can be easily damaged. One wrong adjustment could compromise your entire system. You could cause the system to overwork, become less efficient, or damage a major component.


Band-Aid Versus Repair

What's the point of doing a repair job yourself or paying an amateur to do it, if it's not done thoroughly or correctly? It is possible that a non-professional can correctly repair an A/C problem. However, most times they will only be treating the symptom rather than addressing the actual problem. is "possible" really a gamble you want to take on one of the largest investments in your home? When it comes to your comfort, we highly doubt it. A true professional will get the job done right so you don't have to worry. Not only that - a reputable company will warranty their work.


Access To The Right Tools

The basic tools that anyone can purchase from a hardware store are not adequate for testing and fixing a complex piece of refrigeration technology like your air conditioner. If you've ever seen the inside of a fully stocked van of an HVAC professional, then you'd understand the extent of equipment needed to get the job done.


Avoided Warranty

You air conditioner could still be covered by a warranty. Performing a repair on your own could nullify this warranty. This means that should any other costly repairs occur, you'll be required to pay out of pocket instead of the problem being handled by the manufacturer. It's always best to leave air conditioning issues to the professional. They will check for available manufacturer warranties before quoting you the repair.


Lack of Efficiency

Although getting repairs done right will certainly help with your air conditioning system efficiency, that's not what we mean. We're talking about the speed and efficiency of the repairs. Hiring a licensed and experienced professional can be the difference between getting your repairs done in a few hours or getting your repairs done in a few days. And, let's face it, in the middle of summer, nobody wants to wait!!


What Can I Do Myself?

If you have an air conditioner that is not working the way it should, you can take steps to check on it to make sure it isn't a simple problem that doesn't require experts. These aren't exactly repairs, but they may save you time and money.


Check and Change Your Air Filter

This is the most basic step for handling an A/C that's unevenly cooling, putting out little airflow, or tripping circuit breakers. The filter in the duct system collects dust over the months as it runs and eventually will get clogged. If the airflow is obstructed even slightly, you can start experiencing comfort and performance issues. Check your filter often and change as needed. If your air conditioner isn't cooling properly and your filter is clogged, your evaporator coil may be frozen. Turn the system off, change the filter immediately, and give the system several hours to thaw before turning it back on.


Check Your Thermostat

It may seem silly to point out, but sometimes the problem can be as straightforward as incorrect settings on the thermostat. The programming may have been accidentally changed or lost during a power outage.


Check for Tripped Circuit Breakers

If the air conditioner fan or compressor isn't starting up at all, go to the electrical panel and make sure no breakers are tripped. A temporary overload from the A/C starting up could cause a tripped breaker. Reset the breaker and see if the air conditioner turns on. If it trips again, something is wrong that will require a professional to resolve.


Check Your Room Vents

Closing room vents doesn't help save energy. It only increases pressure in the duct system that can cause damage or even force it to shut off early. Make sure all room vents and return grills are open and nothing is blocking them.


Schedule Routine Maintenance

A lot of cooling issues could simply be from the lack of routine maintenance. A dirty condenser coil can cause your system to run continuously without maintaining your desired temperature. A clogged drain line could cause condensation to fill your drain pan and shut down your system completely.


If you still have problems or need to schedule your routine maintenance, give us a call! Be sure to check out our seasonal specials!


Helms Heating & Air Conditioning is the year-round comfort source for the Carolinas! We provide professional, affordable, and trustworthy repairs, maintenance, and replacement systems for homeowners in Charlotte, Waxhaw, Weddington, Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Clover, Concord, Locust, Stallings, Mint Hill, Unionville, Monroe, Pineville, Matthews, Gastonia, Lake Wylie, Belmont, Mt. Holly, Indian Land, Cornelius, Kannapolis, and our hometown - Indian Trail!