Although air conditioning maintenance and repair is best left in the hands of a professional service technician, there are some that the average homeowner can perform at considerably less expense and regardless of their skill level where DIY projects are concerned. Those minor maintenance and repair jobs can easily be the difference between cost-effective A/C operation and spending thousands in repairs or replacement costs down the road. Here are a few of the more routine tasks that you can handle without hiring a professional technician.
Air filter replacement - the simplest, least expensive maintenance and repair job that you can do. Ironically, it is oftentimes the most neglected of all A/C maintenance and repair work and typically results in the most costly repairs or replacement charges. These filters help to trap certain allergens from entering the air that we breathe inside our homes including dust, pollen, and small particles. Your indoor air and environment will be healthier and your system will operate more efficiently and save you money on your monthly utility bills.
Condensation drains - in most instances, HVAC repair work applies to a home's A/C system. These systems are equipped with drains that help to remove excess condensation that has accumulated over time. This condensation is never clean and contains debris, dirt, and other particles that can easily block those drains and keep them from functioning properly. Removing that debris, dirt, and particles on a regular basis will prevent them from building up over time and preventing the drainage of condensation.
Pilot lights - in addition to HVAC repair work that applies to A/C units, many of these repairs are associated with heating systems that operate using natural gas. The pilot light is the ignition mechanism that lights the natural gas that runs your furnace. When the pilot light fails to operate properly, the gas is not ignited and only air that is the same temperature as the air outside will be circulated throughout the home. In most cases, it is pilot light failure that results in only cool air coming out of your vents. To correct this issue, all you need to do is locate your pilot and re-light it.
Thermostats - although you may not be skilled enough to replace a thermostat and install a newer, more energy-efficient model, you don't need a professional technician to verify that it is working properly. If your home stays too cool or too warm, your thermostat may not be operating properly and wasting a lot of energy at the same time.
Over time, this will be reflected in higher monthly utility bills and potentially expensive repairs in the future. You can easily check to see if the temperature within the home is the same as what your thermostat indicates. Any maintenance or repair that is more sophisticated than this will require the assistance of a trained professional.
According to Energy Star, the hiring of a professional HVAC contractor technician is the recommended course of action for scheduling annual preventative maintenance. The check-ups they perform typically include:
- Adjusting the blower and refrigerant (cooling systems only)
- Adjusting the thermostat
- Checking combustion, gas pressure, and heat exchanger (heating systems only)
- Cleaning the condenser coils and evaporator (cooling systems only)
- Drain cleaning
- Lubrication of all moving parts
- Measuring current and voltage
- Testing electrical wiring
- Verifying that system switches off and on properly
On a closing note, please remember that the secret to avoiding those costly repair and replacement bills, more energy-efficient operation, and lower monthly utility bills is an annual preventative maintenance schedule performed by a skilled HVAC technician. Despite the initial investment, it will save you a great deal of money in the long run.