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While it may be tempting to try DIY work on your HVAC system, homeowners in Lake Forest, Illinois, and the surrounding areas should know there are some projects you should never attempt. You should always do simple upkeep such as changing air filters regularly, but most heating and air conditioning maintenance should be left to a trusted repair service. Even the most experienced do-it-yourselfer runs the risk of personal injury, damaging the system, voiding the warranty, or even breaking the law.

Refrigerant Restrictions

Because refrigerants used in air conditioners can be harmful to the environment when handled improperly, the EPA has strict rules requiring service professionals to be licensed. These toxic chemicals are also dangerous when inhaled, so do not attempt any repair involving refrigerant. Let the pros handle air conditioner maintenance, such as finding and fixing refrigerant leaks, refilling refrigerant, and disposing of the substance.

Electrical Hazards

HVAC systems run on high-voltage electricity, so you should never try to fix any type of wiring issue yourself. Aside from the serious risk of injury or death by electrocution, potential problems include causing sparks or fire, voiding the system’s warranty, and creating bigger issues that will ensure a professional repair is needed down the road.

Natural Gas Risks

Many heating systems run on natural gas, which can be hazardous. Any installations or repairs on heat pumps or furnaces involving natural gas lines should be completed by a licensed professional. While it’s tempting to check out a few online videos and try to fix problems yourself, it’s important to remember that there are variances between makes and models of HVAC systems, and you might quickly find yourself in over your head. Also, consider the danger of explosions or carbon monoxide leaks when dealing with natural gas.

Preventive Maintenance

Heaters and air conditioners are intricate machines, composed of several smaller systems that all must function together to regulate temperatures inside your home. Changing one part of any component affects the system as a whole, so even small maintenance tasks should be left to a professional. Do not attempt tasks such as adjusting motors or belts, cleaning evaporator coils, lubricating parts, or calibrating your thermostat. Even the most experienced do-it-yourselfer likely doesn’t have the specialized tools or training to inspect and repair HVAC systems, so you might spend precious time and money buying tools or trying to fix the wrong component.

Installation Issues

Whether you just bought a home or your old system is beyond repair and needs to be replaced, always leave the installation of a new HVAC system to the pros. In addition to the dangers of personal injury, voiding warranties, and damaging units, you also run the risk of creating ventilation problems and causing poor indoor air quality if ductwork is improperly installed. A certified technician will be able to help you choose the proper size and type of system for your home, and can also advise you on extras such as the latest snowmelt systems, perfect for those cold Illinois winters.

Outdoor Units

When it comes to your outdoor compressor unit, there are some maintenance tasks you can do yourself. It’s safe to clean out the condensate line, which is a drain that removes excess moisture from your home. Use a stiff wire brush or a shop vac to clear the pipe, or pour a cup of bleach through the line to remove biological growth. A clogged condensate line can cause water to back up into your home, damaging walls and carpets. You can also trim foliage around the outdoor compressor, which prevents damage to the unit and can improve airflow. All other service should be left to the pros.

The easy availability of online tutorials and videos may tempt you to try to complete heating and air conditioning repairs yourself, but consider the consequences carefully. If you need HVAC system service, call Ireland Heating & Air at 847-388-0108.

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