DIY projects are all the rage at the moment thanks to our many favourite home renovation projects. If you’re doing minor renovations and decorating, DIY is a great way to save time and money. However, there are some household issues that are expensive – and downright dangerous – to attempt yourself. One of these is home air conditioning DIY repairs. Join us here at John’s Refrigeration as we discuss the issues and dangers of do-it-yourself air conditioner repair – and why you need to leave it to the experts.
Air Conditioner DIY Takes Time
Do-it-Yourself repairs might seem like a great way to save time but when it comes to AC repair this couldn’t be further from the truth. Air conditioners are complex machines with hundreds of moving parts. It can take even a professional a while to learn how to pinpoint where a problem is. Finding the problem on your own can be nearly impossible. Even with the abundance of guides online and on YouTube by “professionals” to guide you, all AC units are different. There is no “one-size-fits-all” repair for a problem – it takes time and expertise to properly identify and fix an issue.
For example, the motor of an AC unit is integral to its running. It contains thousands of parts that can be difficult to find and replace with irreparable damaging the motor. Or what if you have a large leak? Large leaks in piping and ducts can be very difficult to fully seal without experience and training. This can cause your system to continue leaking, even if most the breach is closed, causing your electricity bill to skyrocket.
Further, it is difficult for DIYers to find the correct parts. Unlike professionals who will almost always have parts on hand correct for your system, you may have to go through the lengthy – and expensive – process of sourcing, ordering and waiting for your new parts. Certifications are also required to handle things like refrigerants due to their inherent dangers and pollutants. A certified repairer will already have all the necessary qualifications while a DIYer needs to apply for certification and permission.
Do-It-Yourself AC Repair is Complex
As we touched on above, do it yourself air conditioner repair is complex. An air conditioner might look sleek and simple, but it is anything but on the inside. Your AC unit is full of small, fragile components that are very easily damaged. The complex workings of the air conditioner mean that one wrong adjustment can damage your entire system. One wrong movement of a coil can offset the entire system. This can make it overwork, underwork, or ruin the unit completely. Professional repairs train on old systems because almost everyone breaks their first unit on their first repair attempt. DIY runs the very high risk of destroying your AC unit beyond repair, requiring a replacement.
Further attempting something as “simple” as refilling refrigerant can very easily destroy your air conditioner. A few millilitres of refrigerant over or under the required amount can affect performance in the best-case scenario. In the worst it can completely destroy your compressor, requiring the entire system to be replaced. A screeching compressor could indicate a dangerous build-up of internal pressure that can be life threatening to a DIY repairer.
Hidden Costs in DIY Air Conditioning Repair
Most DIYers don’t realise the scary hidden costs when it comes to home air conditioning repair. Because do-it-yourself repairers aren’t professionals, they don’t have ready access to the appropriate parts. This can be expensive orders from manufacturers, and worse if you mistakenly order the wrong part! The cost can quickly skyrocket past that of professional call out when you don’t know what you’re doing. Professional and certified repairs also get discounts from manufacturers, something not available to the average homeowner.
As we’ve discussed, air conditioner repair is complex and difficult. If you end up breaking your air conditioner due to botched DIY, then you could end up paying double or triple what you would have paid a certified professional. You could even end up having to replace the entire unit. Another expense many DIYers forget is the air conditioner’s warranty. In most cases, the warranty on your air conditioner is void if anyone other than a licensed contractor opens the unit. That means the moment you crack the seal yourself, your several thousand-dollar machine is no longer under warranty. Even if the issue with the air conditioner ends up being a factory issue, you no longer have a claim.
Further, if you are found to have been doing illegal repairs, even if the repairs are successful, this can lead to hefty fines. In fact, DIY fines can reach as high as $40,000 in Australia, especially when it comes to electrical and plumbing repairs. In some states in Australia, you can face up to 3 years in prison and fines exceeding $200,000 if your DIY repairs cause injury or death. Fines are just as steep if your air conditioner DIY causes environmental damage to your property, your neighbours’ property, or the surrounding environment.
DIY Air Conditioner Repair Health and Safety
Finally, there are many health and safety issues when it comes to home air conditioner DIY. There are minor issues that can be caused by any home DIY work – such as strained muscles and the danger of dropping equipment on yourself. There is also the risk of disturbing rodents and pests that have taken up home in your system, which can lead to nasty bites and infections. Improperly repaired water leaks can cause dangerous mould to grow in your AC unit or walls, causing respiratory and health issues for your family.
Refrigerant causes many horrible health issues. Because refrigerant is a tasteless, odourless gas it can very quickly poison you, cutting off oxygen to your cells and lungs. Spilled refrigerant can also cause frostbite and chemical burns or pollute your surroundings. These chemicals also need to be properly and safely disposed of, otherwise they can contaminate the water supply and surrounding environment.
As a result, DIY can affect the health of your family, putting them at the risk of fire from botched electrical work, to a reduction in air quality – and even poisoning. The risk of electrocution is, of course, a major component of DIY home air conditioning repair. Many people falsely believe wearing rubber boots will protect and ground them. This is not the case. In Australia, voltage is set at between 220 and 240 volts which is enough to kill someone. Even if a DIYer is not killed by electrocution, they can be severely injured and cause further injury – and even death – to anyone coming to their aid. This is why home electrical work is illegal. Even qualified experts can have bad accidents despite their years of training. Imagine how much greater the risk is for someone with no experience at all.
Leave it to the Air Conditioning Experts
Do-It-Yourself air conditioning repair is a time bomb waiting to happen. If the fixes seem too good to be true, then they probably are. It is better to leave your air conditioning repair to a licenced professional. In the end, you will save time, money, and the health of yourself and your family. Above all, maintenance is key to keeping your air conditioner working well all year round. Organising a yearly maintenance check of your air conditioner is far more cost effective than dangerous DIY tinkering. Contact John’s Refrigeration today to find out about our maintenance options!