When it comes to your air conditioner (A/C) system, you shouldn’t attempt to do most things yourself! It can be tempting as a customer to try and take things into your own hands, but electrocuting yourself is a real risk.
A recent article from Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News talked about how a news show told homeowners that they can fix their air conditioners themselves. The news show encouraged people to replace a broken capacitor, even though there are tons of different kinds of capacitors and not only does installing the wrong one ruin your compressor, but also, any mistake during installation can result in electrocution.
These kinds of messages are dangerous, especially if they get shared, because it encourages people to think they can tune-up or replace their own air conditioners without formal training and certification!
Doing regular maintenance on your AC unit is a good idea …
But there are a few things you need to do first!
Switch off the breaker
Power should not be running through the system when you want to clean it! The best way to do this is to remove the breaker or turn the switch off.
Turn off power at the outside circuit
Just in case, you should also make sure your air conditioner is shut off in a secondary way, by opening up the flip lid next to your unit and switching that to the off position as well.
Get rid of debris and objects around the unit
It goes without saying that you need a clean work environment in order to do any DIY maintenance safely. You want at least two feet around your unit to be free of objects, plants, etc. As your techs, we always appreciate if you do this step before we come by!
Now, it’s safe for you to do basic cleaning/maintenance such as:
– Removing the outer casing
– Removing the fan assembly so you can get to the inside (unless you can’t do this without moving or stretching wires — in that case, give us a call!)
– Cleaning and straightening your A/C fins. It’s a good idea to clean out the dirt and debris in your fins by using a hose inside the unit, but you need to be careful to avoid getting water on any electrical parts!
Overall, even with this basic maintenance (as well as other maintenance such as cleaning out your evaporator coil and drain), it’s better to call in the professionals, because many people are not able to do this safely and correctly themselves!
Besides, even if you do DIY A/C maintenance, you still need a tech to come and check pressures and amp draws of the unit, as well as more in-depth checks for leaks and for proper drainage.