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HVAC Hacks: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do Yourself

November 23, 2016

Tempted to Hack Your HVAC Repair?

You’re handy around the house. You’ve stained some kitchen cabinets, repaired a few leaky faucets, and maybe even built a deck. You’re that homeowner. Now that your HVAC system is in need of a repair, you’re probably thinking “hey, why not?” Maybe, you’ve even considered replacing the system entirely – no technician needed. You’ve seen a few YouTube videos, plus you knew someone who did it and it went alright.

Slow down. DIY HVAC repair is dangerous and the consequences could include your family’s safety, your own safety, the condition of your system and your home, and the financial burden of a job done wrong.

DIY? Don’t!

HVAC service technicians are highly trained and licensed – there are years of schooling, tests, and ongoing trainings required to be an HVAC tech and maintain licensure. You would never walk into an operating room and feel qualified to perform surgery. This is hardly different! Your heating and cooling systems have dangerous components, require the use of electricity, and have dire consequences if installed improperly. Plus, only certified technicians should handle some of the equipment and materials required to perform repairs.

What could go wrong?


HVAC system installation and repairs can require interaction with high voltage electricity. By handling this poorly, you could blow a fuse in your home or worse, electrocute yourself.

Chemical Contamination

Refrigerant is a chemical used to keep your air conditioning system functioning. This chemical compound is cold enough to burn your skin and can be deadly if inhaled or handled poorly. Not only does refrigerant misuse put you at risk when performing repairs, but it also endangers everyone inside your home, as it could cause a gas leak.

One more thing, the EPA requires 608 certification for anyone who handles refrigerant. If you don’t have the certification, you are putting your life in danger.

Being Ill-Equipped

Equipping yourself with the right tools is essential. This will require more than what you’ve got stored in your toolbox or out in the shop. In fact, there are special gauges and tools that are required specifically for the HVAC industry including those that measure refrigerant gas leaks and other MAJOR issues. Failure to procure and properly use this equipment will result in major risks to your health and safety, as well as to the integrity of your system.

Fixing Your Mistakes Will Only Cost More!

With incorrect handling, your faulty system repair may not only need to be redone by a professional – which could cost more than it would have to rectify any problems your repair has caused. Also, the mistakes you make could compromise other components of the system which will then need to be repaired or replaced as well. Surely, you can see the HVAC bills piling up. It’s better to handle the problem with a professional from the very start.


The desire to be involved in all aspects of home ownership and maintenance is a noble one. In fact, there are things you should be involved in, as a dedicated homeowner, to help your HVAC technician care for your system in between visits.

Swap your batteries: Your thermostat and your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors operate on batteries – swap these out regularly to ensure that your system and air quality are being monitored properly.

Swap your filters. Nearly all heating & air conditioning systems have filters to help manage debris and keep your air clean. If you’re not sure where your system’s filters are located, how to switch them, or which ones you need to buy, consult your Owner’s Manual.

For more information on HVAC system maintenance – both routine and repair – contact Brody Pennell Heating & Air today!

About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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