When can I do a DIY HVAC repair and when do I need a professional?

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Answered by: Marie, An Expert in the All About Heating and Cooling Category
Has your summertime heat got you sweating? Are the winter blues getting you down? If your HVAC system is in need of maintenance or repairs you might be able to solve the issue by yourself without calling the pros. Here’s a basic rundown of simple DIY HVAC repair that you can do, and ones you'll need to call the experts for.

1. My HVAC system isn’t turning on.

It would be a unique circumstance for an HVAC system to abruptly stop working. While you may need to call a professional to repair the system, check first to see if a circuit breaker is tripped or a fuse is blown. Your thermostat may also be to blame. Verify that the thermostat is set to the correct temperature and on. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to call a professional to examine the system.

2. A room in my house is too hot, or too cold.

It’s likely if you have uneven heating or cooling, that your system needs to be re-balanced by a professional. However, before you call, verify that the vents are properly open or closed and that an outside source (like a window) isn’t allowing rapid temperature changes.

3. My entire house isn’t cold or hot enough.

It might be that your system needs to be cleaned, or that your home needs a newer or larger system. Trying checking your thermostat first to make sure that it’s on the right setting. Then if you’re comfortable, you can clean the condenser to your unit and replace the filters. If your system is still underperforming you’ll need a professional diagnosis from a licensed technician.

4. My unit turns on and off frequently.

The most common cause of a unit rapidly turning on and off is a dirty condenser or a blocked filter. If cleaning your condenser doesn’t work and replacing your filters shows no improvement in your system, a call to a professional is in order.

Proper maintenance of an HVAC system is critical for your unit to operate at peak performance. It's also the easiest DIY HVAC repair there is! Changing your filters on a regular basis will keep your unit clean of dust and debris it will also allow you to breathe easier in your home. The condenser can often become just as clogged and dirty, cleaning out your condenser isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds and can often be done in just a few minutes.

Cleaning a condenser just requires a few steps:

1. Locate your condenser unit outside your home.

2. Turn off the power to the unit at your fuse or breaker box.

3. Remove any large debris from the unit and trim back weeds to a 2-foot clearance.

4. Wash the condenser with a specialized cleaner designed to remove dirt and organic matter build up.

5. Inspect the clean unit for damage to the sides and fins. Bent fins should be combed back into place – if you’re unsure how to do this, ask your professional to service your unit.

6. Turn the unit back on at the fuse box!

Maintaining your HVAC unit doesn't have to be a frightening or mysterious experience. regularly changing your filter, keeping your unit clean, and scheduling a yearly professional cleaning are all you need to keep your unit operating at peak performance.

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