Think your handyman skills extend to your A/C system? While minor tasks like changing filters or cleaning up condenser coils is something that any homeowner can do, there are certain tasks that are better left to an experienced HVAC professional to tackle. Read on and learn which maintenance tasks and air conditioning repairs are worth handing off to your technician.
1. Refrigerant Leak Detection and Recharging
A refrigerant leak doesn't have an immediate impact on your A/C system's ability to cool, but it can pose serious problems as time goes on. Low refrigerant levels caused by a steady leak can cause issues like short cycling and shorten the life of your equipment.
The sooner you can pinpoint an ongoing leak, the better off your A/C system will be in the long run. However, finding a leak on your own isn't easy. Searching for a leak can prove frustrating unless you have the right tools and the experience needed for the job. Fumes from the leak can also lead to nausea, difficulty breathing and dizziness, just to name a few symptoms.
Handling refrigerant is another issue altogether. A/C systems store refrigerant at high pressures, making any potential misstep one that results in serious injury. Outside of the pressurized confines of an A/C unit, direct contact with refrigerant or the oil it uses can lead to skin and eye irritation, among other symptoms. Specialized equipment is needed to check and add refrigerant to A/C systems, making those tasks a job for your HVAC technician.
2. Capacitor Diagnosis and Replacement
Just as your car needs its battery to crank up and start every morning, the average A/C system relies on a battery of sorts – the capacitor – to start the compressor, blower fan, and other motorized components. A typical A/C unit will have anywhere from one to three of these devices that store enough of an electrical charge to energize and start their connected components.
Just like a car battery, capacitors can lose their ability to hold a charge over time and with constant use. Unlike most car batteries, however, swapping out a capacitor isn't a simple deal. Even a dying capacitor can hold enough of an electrical charge to shock and seriously injure anyone inexperienced in replacing them. Just to be on the safe side and avoid the shock risk, have an experienced technician replace the capacitor.
3. Anything That Involves Wiring and Circuitry
If your A/C system suffers from constant circuit breaker trips or blown fuses, you might be tempted to figure out what's up on your own. However, most issues involving electrical wiring and A/C circuitry also come with a risk of electrocution or worse. Besides, a skilled technician can diagnose those issues faster and with more certainty than any DIY attempt.