We live in the “Do It Yourself” age. The internet has made it easier than ever for a homeowner to find advice for ways to tackle numerous jobs around the house without needing to call for professional repairs. YouTube alone has thousands of videos explaining DIY tactics for almost any job imaginable.
There are limits, however, to what an enthusiastic amateur can achieve. One of those limits is repairing broken refrigeration systems, such as air conditioners. So the answer to “Can I repair my AC myself?” is “no.” Repairing a busted air conditioner should be left to licensed HVAC professionals.
Repairs vs. Troubleshooting
When you notice your air conditioning system isn’t working the way it should—maybe it’s producing less cooling, it’s makings strange noises, or it’s becoming far more expensive to run than usual—there are steps you can take to see if there is a simple solution to the problem. These aren’t “repairs” however! This is troubleshooting, and it’s important to know the line between troubleshooting and actually attempting to repair an air conditioner.
Here are the troubleshooting steps you can take:
- Change a clogged air filter
- Check to see if a circuit breaker has been tripped
- Look over the thermostat settings
- Make sure the room vents aren’t obstructed or shut
- Clear away obstructions from the outside condenser
- See if the door to the HVAC cabinet is properly latched
Anything beyond these tasks, such as using tools or opening the HVAC cabinet or condenser to poke around inside is a repair—and you shouldn’t be doing it.
The Refrigerant Issue
There are many reasons why air conditioning repair needs to be left to licensed experts, and we’ll talk about a few more below. We want to put a spotlight on one reason because it isn’t talked about often enough. ACs use chemical refrigerants to operate, the same as freezers and refrigerators. It is illegal for a non-licensed individual to handle refrigerant or dispose of it. Refrigerant is harmless as long as it’s in the air conditioning system. It’s hazardous for the environment and people when it’s outside the AC. This is why hiring a licensed HVAC tech is so important.
Other Reasons to Stay With the Pros
Air conditioning systems are intricate devices that combine electrical components, computer chips, and refrigerant. The complexity makes it difficult to track down the specific problem that’s behind a malfunction. When an AC loses cooling power, there are many possibilities for what’s causing it. Diagnosing the cause is almost impossible for anyone without proper training. Trying to go DIY usually ends up with the wrong part of the AC getting “repaired.”
AC repair in Portales, NM also requires advanced tools that aren’t easily available to the general public and which require training to handle properly.
The bottom line: A professional can get an air conditioning system repair done fast, accurately, safely, and with a small chance of the trouble reoccurring. Amateur work promises none of that.