My A/C isn’t Working! DIY or Professional Service?

Picture this: It’s a sweltering Summer day. The temperature is pushing 100. It’s so hot that the tar on the streets is soft.

Luckily, you’re relaxing in the comfortable, cool interior of your home. That is, until the air conditioning kicks off.

hvacHvac-Service-NJ125As the air inside your home begins to warm up, you head outside to see what’s going on. The central air conditioning unit has definitely stopped running. What do you do? Your internet is working fine, so you go back inside to research common air conditioning problems. You come across the following suggestions:

1. If the unit has stopped completely, check the fuse and breaker to make sure the problem isn’t power-related. You might be able to bring your cooling system back to life simply by flipping a switch. If not, there may be mechanical problems inside the unit.

2. If the unit is running but not cooling at all, the unit may be low on refrigerant. The condenser coils on either side of the unit might also be dirty. If your air conditioner has not been subject to preventative maintenance for some time, problems of dirt and grim may be affecting performance.

3. If the unit is running but cooling is weak, there may be problems with dirt and grime in the condenser. You may also have a dirty filter on your hands.

4. If the unit is leaking water, the problem may be related to the drainpipe. As the evaporator coil pan inside the unit fills with water, that water must have a clear exit. A clogged or broken drainpipe will cause water to built up inside the unit and cause problems.

So what do you do?

acAt this point, you’re left with a simple question. Do you diagnose the problem yourself and pursue a DIY repair, or call in a professional?

If you’re knowledgable about the various components of a central air conditioning unit, and already have an idea what the problem might be, going the DIY route can save money. On the other hand, if you’ve never tried to repair an air conditioner before, you might be sending yourself on a wild goose chase.

Before you disassemble your air conditioner, try breaking the problem itself down into parts. What are the two main factors that would go into your decision between DIY and professional servicing? Most likely, they are cost and quality.

1. Cost

If hiring a professional were as cheap or cheaper than doing it yourself, you wouldn’t think twice. It’s usually the idea of being slapped with a hefty bill that makes DIY attractive—and it’s something you hear about it all too often. A technicians shows up and delivers a heap of bad news, urging you to spend thousands on repairs or even a brand new system.

DIY, however, also opens the door to hidden costs—not only the cost of parts, but the cost of your time and energy.

The good news is, many companies who offer a/c repair service will provide a fast, affordable assessment of your situation. This puts you in a better position to decide whether it’s worth tackling the problem yourself. However, even if an assessment is all you want, it’s important to choose a reputable company. Some companies have questionable reputations, and have been known to pressure people into repairs and purchases that aren’t entirely necessary.

2. Quality

The most reputable service providers send only the most qualified experts out into the field. That means that repairs will be carried out to the highest possible standard. There are a few people out there who could repair their own systems with this level effectiveness, but they are few and far between.

The other thing to consider is that many companies guarantee their work. If you hire an HVAC specialist to fix a problem, recurrences of that problem (within a given time frame) will fall under warranty. If a DIY repair goes wrong, and the problem resurfaces, you’ll have to tackle it yourself.

So, back to that sweltering Summer day…

If your own time and energy is figured into the cost of repairing the problem yourself, you might very well end up paying more. A reputable HVAC specialist will provide a fair assessment of the problem, and an equally fair estimate. If you don’t know who you’d call if your A/C unit broke down, it pays to do a little research and have a company in mind. Preventative maintenance ahead of the Summer season is also a great way to stop problems before they start.

Has this post helped you decide whether DIY or professional servicing is right for you? We hope so, and we welcome your questions and comments in the box below.