When your air conditioner breaks down, you might be tempted to take care of it yourself. After all, it can cost an average of $225 to fix common A/C issues, and what better way to save money than to do your own repairs. Before you break out the toolbox, though, here are three questions to answer to help you determine if that's a good idea.
Are You Sure You Know What the Problem Is?
Air conditioners are complex machines, especially the more modern ones that contain a lot of electronic components that increase efficiency and let people do things like change the temperature using their cell phones. Because of this, it's not always easy to diagnose what caused your unit to malfunction.
In fact, some problems exhibit the same symptoms but stem from completely different issues. Smoke billowing from the A/C could be caused by overheating or a damaged fan motor, for example.
If you aren't sure why your air conditioner isn't working right, you could end up wasting hours of time and hundreds of dollars trying one thing after another to repair it. So, unless you're clear about the source of the problem, it may make more financial sense to have a professional look at the machine instead of dealing with it yourself.
Is It a Safe Fix?
The internet is full of information. If you know where to look, you can easily find a host of articles and videos that show you how to diagnose A/C troubles and what to do to fix them. However, this introduces a whole other problem. Some of these repairs really aren't safe for an amateur to do.
Your air conditioner is a mix of moving mechanical parts, electrical wiring, pipes, and gas. One mistake and you could end up injuring yourself or someone else. For instance, you may think it's a simple matter to refill your freon, but you could inadvertently cause a leak and make yourself sick. Additionally, a freon leak will break other things in the A/C unit, leading to more expensive repairs down the line.
Some fixes are safe for owners to do, such as changing out a dirty air filter or emptying the water pan. However, if a repair requires you to reach deep inside the bowels of the machine or handle potentially dangerous parts, you may want to leave it to the experts.
What Does the Warranty Say?
A third thing to factor into your decision is what your warranty says about do-it-yourself repairs. It's pretty common for air conditioner warranties to prohibit owners from digging into the machine. In fact, even removing the cover can be enough to void the warranty and make you ineligible for coverage.
This is likely because, as mentioned previously, do-it-yourself fixes can cause other things to break, and it can make it hard for the company to determine whether the damage was from a problem with the air conditioner itself or the result of a DIY repair. And since they don't want to inadvertently pay for user mistakes, the company covering the warranty will reject the claim.
It's important to note that you should check any and all policies protecting your air conditioner, including home warranties that cover all household appliances. While one policy may not say anything about DIY repairs, another may explicitly forbid it, so cover your bases and look over each policy.
Fixing your broken air conditioner yourself can seem like it's the right option, but oftentimes you'll actually save more time and money by calling a professional. To learn more about air conditioning repair, contact a local HVAC company for assistance.