Are you a DIY kind of person? Whether you do it for a hobby or to save money (or both), it's probably something you really enjoy. If you are always looking for new opportunities to learn extra DIY skills, one area you should look into is heating and cooling. While major repairs to your home's heating and cooling systems should always be handled by a professional HVAC expert from a place like Stuck's Heating & Cooling, there are some small repair and maintenance tasks you can easily learn to do on your own. Here are the top three HVAC repairs you should start learning to do today.
1. Replace Your HVAC Unit's Capacitor
The capacitor stores and releases electricity to your unit as needed, usually during start-up. It also takes care of fluctuations in voltage before they can affect and damage the rest of the unit. They are prone to slowing down as they age, and may provide less power or dole it out too slowly for the unit to operate smoothly. They will eventually stop working altogether, and will need to be replaced around every five years or so.
- You can replace the capacitor yourself with little difficulty. Just do the following:
- Remember where any wires are located before you disconnect them (take a photo if you need to)
- Remove the capacitor from its bracket
- Touch an insulated screwdriver between the H and C and F and C terminals (this releases any stored electricity)
- Remove the wires from the capacitor and secure them to the new one, making sure they are securely attached
- Put the new capacitor in place and discard the old one
2. Fix an AC Unit That Isn't Cooling As Well As It Should
You may think this would be a job for a professional, and sometimes it is. However, the problem may be a simple one you can fix yourself. Before calling an HVAC contractor, try the following technique to see if you can get that AC blasting cold air like it should.
Check the unit for dust, dirt, and debris. According to HomeTips.com, if it is dirty, air won't flow properly through it to cool your home.
Turn off the power to the AC.
Rake leaves and other debris from around the unit. Use the hose end of a vacuum cleaner to get the dirt out from the inside of the unit.
Don't put the hose up against small or delicate parts. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush to clean these parts.
Cover the motor and wires with a trash bag, then clean out the rest of the unit with a garden hose. Remove the bag, turn on the power, and the AC should be blasting cold air again.
3. Repair a Unit That Isn't Cooling At All
While a unit that doesn't cool at all will almost always require a professional to fix it, there is a small chance it may be an easy repair you can handle. First, try lowering your thermostat by 5 degrees F. If that doesn't work, try cleaning the unit as described above.
Finally, try turning off the unit and re-starting it. Sometimes the system just needs a reboot. You can use this same technique on a heater that won't heat...just raise the thermostat by 5 degrees F as a first step instead of lowering it.
You can often save yourself some money by taking care of small repairs on your heating and cooling unit yourself. Always make sure the power is turned off before doing anything to it, to ensure your safety.
If you go through these DIY techniques and your unit still doesn't work, call a professional to take care of it. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you at least tried to fix it, and if it does work, you will be your household hero.