Why is air conditioning repair a job better left to the professionals? You've read the tutorials, watched the how-to videos, and feel confident in your ability to replace a thermostat sensor, remove a condensate drain clog, find a refrigerant leak, or fix another AC issue. Even though you may think you know how to repair a cooling system, take a look at the top reasons to skip the DIY approach.
Older air conditioners use HCFC-22 (also known as R-22) refrigerant. A refrigerant is necessary for an air conditioner to effectively cool the interior space. The chemical absorbs heat from the air and transforms from a gas to a liquid.
There are several types of refrigerant products available. While HCFC-22/R-22 is a common and effective coolant, it's also an environmental hazard. Unlike newer refrigerant options, HCFC-22 attacks or depletes the Earth's ozone layer. This ozone-depleting chemical is no longer made in or imported to the United States. But this doesn't mean you can't find it in existing older AC systems.
If your central air conditioner uses HCFC-22, a leak could add to the chemical's environmental impact. This makes a do-it-yourself refrigerant leak repair a danger to the planet—and to you. Only EPA Section 608 certified HVAC technicians should repair, replace, recharge, or retrofit HCFC-22-containing air conditioners.
Does a DIY AC fix seem like a money-saving idea? Even though you won't need to pay a technician, the overall price of the do-it-yourself repair could cost more than a professional service. Failure to correctly diagnose and repair a cooling problem could escalate the current issue or create a new one. This will require a service that goes beyond what a novice DIYer could reasonably perform.
The cost to repair an AC system doesn't only include the price of labor. The price of parts is a major factor in what you'll pay. Do you know where to buy air conditioning system components? While your local home improvement store may sell some of the parts you need for an AC repair, this type of retailer could end up costing you more than what you'd pay a contractor.
If you aren't sure what a fair price is for AC parts or which parts are the right components for your cooling system, you could spend more than you have to. An AC contractor has access to the parts your system needs—and (most likely) at a price that's lower than what you'd pay in a retail store.