Heating & A/C

Do I DIY HVAC?

To do or not to do…to vaguely reference a famous poet who touched on so many deep, human questions. And speaking of deep questions, you may have wondered before if you should attempt to install/repair your HVAC system.

Your HVAC system is important when it comes to the health of your indoor environment; it can affect your safety, utilities, and how much it costs to run them.

Many people wonder from time to time whether they can save money doing DIY on HVAC, but honestly, it may not be a good idea for you.

DIY—What You’re Getting Into

There’s a good reason HVAC technicians have years of on-the-job training and apprenticeships before they can be qualified with all the certifications and insurance. It’s a hard and complicated job! They additionally receive yearly training to keep up on changing technology so that they can stay qualified.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say you get some sort of general department store HVAC DIY system—this makes you the mechanical contractor of the project, in charge of installation, commissioning, and maintenance.

The following list is just a snippet of the complexity and hazards involved in DIY HVAC involves:

  • You should know everything involved with HVAC systems. Everything. From ductwork design, plenum building, and return air handling to everything electricians know about electricity…and everything in between. HVAC systems are incredibly complex with many interrelated parts—parts that look very different and are in different places depending on what kind of HVAC system you have. This isn’t something you can just YouTube and figure out.
  • You’re working with high voltage electricity which can be very dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted unless you are an electrician or an HVAC professional.
  • You’re also handling dangerous refrigerant chemicals, which can be a safety issue for not only yourself, but everyone in the home or building. In most places, it’s actually a law that only HVAC techs may work on your ac system.
  • Furthermore, you most likely don’t possess the right tools to conduct DIY installation and repair on HVAC systems. Working on your system without the right tools or the right knowledge can cost you so much more than a professional will. There are many parts that can be easily damaged and become a safety or efficiency problem.
  • If you DIY, you won’t get the expert eye on your equipment. Your HVAC professional will make sure everything is installed correctly, efficiently (saves you money), and they can spot any parts of the system that are failing…stopping breaks and disasters before they happen.
  • And then you have to think of the future and the value of your home. If you try to sell your house, a DIY HVAC system is going to bring the value of your home down for every problem it has with it.

If this sounds like a heavy-handed list of reasons you do NOT DIY HVAC…then you’re right. The fact of the matter is, your life and the lives of your loved ones are priceless and no amount of supposed saved money can make that worthwhile. There are so many ways to mess up an HVAC install/repair, you most likely won’t even save money on a DIY project at all.

Not worth it.

So what can you do?

  • You CAN change the thermostat and smoke detector batteries. Easy and keeps you safe.
  • You CAN change your filters that keep dust and such out of your system. This will help your system run more efficiently and save you money.
  • You CAN keep the temperature lower in the summer and higher in the winter to save yourself some money. Also, use shades/blinds/curtains to keep heat in or out depending on what you need. There are lots of ways you can save money on energy, so you can put that money towards a professional when you need to.
  • You CAN keep the area around your system and vents clean from debris and dust.

Professional—Basically The Way To Go

Here are a few benefits and reasons you should hire an HVAC professional:

  • They have years of training, apprenticeships, and continuing training to be qualified with all certifications and insurance. And they keep learning to keep on top of all the new systems/technology.
  • They’re certified and insured to handle the dangerous chemicals and work with high voltage electricity.
  • They’re work and materials should be warrantied so that any mistakes made will be on them and their dime.
  • You will save much more money by getting HVAC professionals than you will doing it yourself. You will save it in time, efficiency, safety, and in all likelihood in parts and labor too. The system is very complicated. So with higher likelihood of mistakes come higher chances of you needing to pay out of pocket for mistakes and issues that arise from DIY.

Aside from the very basic DIY techniques you can use to save money on energy and keep your equipment efficient, your HVAC system should be left in the hands of your professionals.

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