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Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

Some of the Biggest Do-It-Yourself HVAC Repair Mistakes


Don’t try to “do-it-yourself” when it comes to HVAC repair. It’s that simple. These are jobs for professionals. Trying to fix a furnace, an air conditioner, a heat pump, a blower fan, a thermostat, or any other HVAC component will lead to increased costs, poorer performance, wasted time, and possibly safety concerns.

We wish we could leave it there, but people still feel the drive to try to fix problems on their own. The internet and its cornucopia of DIY videos don’t help.

The best way to illustrate why DIY HVAC jobs are a non-starter is to look at a few of the big DIY mistakes. We’ve often run into these problems when we’re called to look into a malfunctioning heater or air conditioner. Often, the current homeowner wasn’t the one who made the error—the consequences of bad DIY repair job echo down through the years!

Blocked room vents

This is what happens when a homeowner decides they can save energy in their house if they shut off some of the air vents in the rooms. If no air is sent to the room, that means the heater/AC isn’t consuming as much power. Except that’s not how this works. The HVAC system still uses the same amount of energy. What changes is that the pressure in the ventilation system rises. This lowers efficiency and makes it easy for the ducts to start leaking.

Cleaning the coils

Dirt and grime along the coils of an air conditioner or heat pump restrict the ability of the unit to perform heat exchange, lowering comfort and raising bills. The solution, however, isn’t to clean the coils by blasting a hose into the outdoor condenser cabinet or trying to use cloth and cleaning supplies. The coils are delicate precision instruments, and the proper way to clean them is to detach the coils and use special chemicals. You may end up damaging the system by trying to clean it yourself.

Putting in more refrigerant

Yes, you can purchase tanks or refrigerant online. You can even try to put that refrigerant into your heat pump or AC on your own. But this is a huge risk. You may not need to put in more refrigerant, or you may put in too much, and an overcharged AC will eventually break down. You also must be licensed to handle refrigerant, so leave this job to professionals.

Replacing the thermostat

You found a great deal on a high-tech thermostat online, so you bought it and tried to put it in yourself. This is a major mistake—new thermostats have algorithms that probably won’t work with older equipment, and may end up damaging it. It will almost certainly void the warranty on the equipment.

Anything with a gas furnace

Working with natural gas is potentially dangerous. For your sake, your family’s, and your neighborhood’s, never attempt a repair of any sort on a gas-powered furnace. In most jurisdictions, it’s illegal unless you have the proper license.

Please call us when you’re looking for a West Hollywood, CA, HVAC contractor who can get all your repair needs done fast, accurately, and safely.

Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical serves Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Call our certified service technicians 24/7 for exceptional customer service!

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