Why AC Repair Isn’t a DIY Project

Published on: May 16, 2014
Contractor with toolbelt | AC Southeast®

Your air conditioner is one of the hardest working pieces of equipment in your house. During the summer, it probably runs for at least 12 hours a day through rain or sun, and like most people, you probably take it for granted until it suddenly stops working during a heat wave.

When it does, there’s a good chance you think something like this: “No problem! I’m pretty handy with my car, so I’ll take care of it myself.” However, don’t be surprised if you find yourself completely stumped.

A Hundred Tiny Components

Your home air conditioning system is an intricate machine every bit as complex as your personal computer. It contains hundreds of tiny parts, and if you can’t even recognize them, what chance do you have of actually fixing your AC? Here are just a few of the components you’ll encounter:

  • Expansion valve
  • Fan motor
  • Heat exchanger

That’s not to mention capacitors, screws, and countless other components that you’ll need to identify. Even if you can identify all of the parts in one brand of AC, they might look different or be located in a different location in another brand’s system.

Finding a Needle in a Haystack

Even if you manage to overcome the first hurdle, you need to possess a fairly extensive level of knowledge to know how all of the parts interact. Let’s say that your system is running but not providing adequate cooling for your home — is your evaporator dirty, or is your compressor broken? You might just have a refrigerant leak, or the problem might just be as simple as a faulty thermostat.

Your problem might be easy to fix, but it’s just as likely to be complicated. Air conditioning repairs aren’t exactly rocket science, but they still require years of training to troubleshoot.

A Costly Mistake

You still decide to fix your AC yourself, but the unthinkable happens. Your hand slips while you’re digging around some wires, and now some of them are hanging loose. You cautiously reattach them and turn the system back on to see if you’ve fixed it, but the air conditioner simply sparks once and grows quiet. It’s possible that you’ve just ruined a $2,000 piece of equipment, and because you’re not trained to make repairs, you’ve voided all of your AC warranties. Now your $250 job costs about 10 times as much to repair, and you’re no closer to actually fixing it.

Lingering Concerns

At long last, you manage to get everything turned back on, and it seems to be running just fine. You praise yourself for some good work, and then two months later, it breaks again. Your repair job turned out to be little more than a temporary band-aid, and now you’re back at square one.

At AC Southeast®, we understand the DIY lifestyle, but take it from professionals with decades of combined experience: DIY AC repairs usually end up causing more damage than not. If your system breaks down, find a local contractor to schedule your repair today.