Did your central AC system suddenly stop cooling your home? If your air conditioner breaks down in the middle of a summertime heatwave, look at the dos and don’ts of AC repair.
Do Call an HVAC Professional
Suppose you don’t have extensive expertise in air conditioner repair. In that case, you need to call an HVAC professional when your system stops working. Whether your AC unit blows warm air through the vents, won’t turn on, takes too long to cool your home, or has another issue, hire a licensed HVAC contractor to:
- Inspect your system. What is the culprit behind your AC’s issues? If you can’t answer this question, you need to contact a qualified contractor to inspect your air conditioner. The technician will assess the coil, condenser, refrigerant line, and other system parts.
- Diagnose the problem. After the inspection, the technician will diagnose the issue. While you may not understand the technical jargon, the AC contractor can break down the basics as they explain what’s wrong with your home’s cooling system.
- Provide you with an estimate. How much will the repairs or replacement cost? A qualified contractor should provide you with a written estimate. The estimate should include the per hour rate or job cost, materials cost, and applicable fees.
- Complete the repair or installation. After you agree to the estimate, the technician will complete the necessary repairs or install a replacement (if a repair isn’t possible).
The sooner you call the HVAC contractor, the better. A long wait between when you notice the initial problem and when you finally contact the contractor could result in additional issues.
Don’t Wait to Call the HVAC Professional.
What types of issues can a delayed service cause? For example, even though the summer swelter may suddenly end, you swap out AC use for fans, or you put off a service call for another reason, failure to schedule a prompt appointment could result in:
- Discomfort. Your AC system provides a valuable service — it keeps your home cool. However, if you wait days or weeks after your AC system fails, you’ll need to sweat your way through the hottest days of the summer.
- Damage. A system that blows warm air makes loud noises, has odd odors, doesn’t work correctly, and requires a repair. Failure to promptly repair the system could result in significant damage or excessive wear and tear.
- Excess energy usage. A damaged or worn AC system may use more energy to cool your home. The result is an increase in electricity bills or related operating costs.
- Invalidation of a warranty. Does your warranty have time frame restrictions? For example, suppose the warranty requires you to schedule professionally done repairs within a specific period or only extends to a particular month and year. In that case, you may need to pay out of pocket for repairs.
Along with these issues, the HVAC contractor might not have high availability for mid-summer appointments — especially during the peak heat of the season.
Do Keep Cool While You Wait
Even though you may have called the contractor the moment your AC system turned itself off or started blowing hot air, the HVAC service provider possibly won’t have an immediate appointment. Again, peak heat season is often a tricky time to schedule AC services. You may have to wait hours or days between overworked systems, excessive wear and tear, and new installations.
While you wait, avoid heat-related discomfort or illnesses and:
- Use fans. Provided your home has electricity and plug-in fans. Only use fans in rooms you will use. This reduces overall energy usage and may lower your temporary fan-related cooling costs.
- Close window treatments. Reduce the effects of the sun on your home—close blinds or curtains during the day to reduce sun-related home heat gain.
- Open windows. Let the breeze in. Open windows that aren’t in direct sun. Always use screens to keep insects or other pests out.
- Don’t cook indoors. The oven-baked meal you plan to make can heat your home. If possible, make cold meals or cook outdoors on a grill.
- Hydrate well. After you take steps to cool your home, cool yourself with a cold glass of water. Hydration is crucial on a hot summer day.
If your home won’t cool effectively or feel uncomfortable, leave and go to a friend’s or family member’s house.
Don’t Attempt a DIY Repair.
Should you fix your home’s AC issue yourself? If the service technician can’t schedule an immediate appointment or you think you’ll save money with a do-it-yourself repair, consider:
- Your experience level. An online DIY tutorial doesn’t provide the same degree of training a qualified professional has. If you’re an HVAC novice, leave this job to a professional.
- Your warranty. A manufacturer’s warranty may only cover repairs made by authorized service professionals.
- Your safety. Failure to properly repair an HVAC unit puts your or your family’s safety at risk.
Not only does the HVAC contractor have experience in air conditioning repairs, but the technician can also help you to decide if your system requires replacement.
Do you need an HVAC service call? Contact Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning for more information.