You may not be looking for an HVAC contractor with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. You may think you can save money by watching a playlist of DIY air conditioner tune-up videos on YouTube instead of hiring a multi-year winner of the Angie’s List Super Service Award. Anything is possible.
If you’re serious, you may look into how to become an HVAC technician in Massachusetts, or whichever state you live in. The industry nationwide is 2 years into a 10-year projected growth trend that will see jobs for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers increase by 15%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For the average homeowner, even those with remarkable handyman experience, today’s sensitive, energy-efficient air conditioners require specialized, manufacturer training to properly service.
Don’t click away to your DIY videos until you’ve read the 4 Things Most DIYers Get Wrong Tuning-up Their Air Conditioner.
1. Working on equipment still under factory warranty.
Before you consider doing anything to your air handler or condenser, check to see if the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. If it has, and you’re handy, you may be able to tackle simple DIY air conditioning maintenance tasks. On the other hand, older HVAC equipment will start to break down and possibly need more complex maintenance and repairs.
Central air conditioning systems under warranty are a different story. Tinkering with HVAC equipment under warranty can void the coverage, according to HouseMethod.com.
FAIL: Homeowners can easily void their air conditioner’s factory warranty for a number of reasons, including using replacement parts not made by the original manufacturer, skipping regular maintenance and inspections by a factory-certified HVAC technician, and many others.
TIP: Read your warranty carefully, and always register all brand-new HVAC equipment, including oil & gas boilers, furnaces, water heaters, and heat pumps.
2. Stumbling into rookie mistakes.
There are a lot of household projects the average handy homeowner can successfully do by watching a few YouTube DIY videos. Today’s sophisticated HVAC equipment takes more than a quick tutorial to properly service.
The condenser unit requires some expertise working with electricity, circuit boards, and small motors. Plus, even similar units differ from one manufacturer to the next, which is why it’s so important to find an HVAC contractor near you who is factory certified by the manufacturer of your air conditioner.
FAIL: Unless you have decades of professional experience behind you, as do HVAC technicians working for long-standing businesses, it’s hard to apply technical know-how and troubleshoot in the field on today’s state-of-the-art, energy-efficient air conditioning equipment and systems.
TIP: Save money on repairs and replacement units by finding an affordable HVAC contractor who has specific knowledge of your particular air conditioning system—and who’s been in business long enough to know all the rookie mistakes, like forgetting to turn off the power at the circuit board before you spray out your condenser with a garden hose, misreading your amp meter, or improperly blowing debris into your fan motor.
3. Saving today but paying more tomorrow.
Don’t get fooled into thinking because your air conditioner works when you turn it on that everything is okay. In fact, problems can start long before any signs show, and by then you may be facing costly repairs. For example, an A/C unit’s refrigerant charge should be checked at each tune-up. Too little and too much refrigerant makes the air conditioner less efficient and can shorten its lifespan, according to ENERGY STAR.
Typically, the issue is too little refrigerant, and since refrigerant isn’t used up, a low charge signals that a leak could exist. But, finding the leak may not be as easy as looking for a puddle. The leak could be a pinhole in a copper pipe.
FAIL: First, the Clean Air Act* requires everyone who maintains, services, repairs, or disposes of equipment that could release ozone depleting refrigerants into the atmosphere to have a license from the Environmental Protection Agency. (*Section 608 Technician Certification). Skipping this important tune-up procedure can make your equipment run inefficiently (paying higher energy costs) and break down sooner (paying high repair or total replacement costs).
TIP: Professional service plans have been shown to both save money on energy costs and make your HVAC equipment last longer.
4. Missing out on state-of-the-art expertise.
The HVAC industry is always changing as new innovations in heating & cooling equipment and related laws impact the marketplace. The average home improvement store employee or cheap HVAC contractor may not be aware of upcoming industry changes, and as a result, you can make uninformed decisions at your own expense.
For example, starting in 2020, the EPA’s next phase of a total ban on R-22 refrigerant begins, and servicing air conditioning systems using R-22 refrigerant will rely on recycled or stockpiled supplies. R-22 was the most common refrigerant used in A/Cs prior to 2011, according to the EPA.
FAIL: Spending any more money on repairing your pre-2011 air conditioner is a waste! Also, knowledgeable HVAC contractors can inform you about other eco-friendly trends, including soy-based Bioheat®.
TIP: Research the best deal on a new central air conditioning system or energy-efficient ductless mini-split. Homeowners, renters, and landlords in Massachusetts can save money on equipment and energy costs by checking the latest Mass Save® rebates and incentives.
Financing may also be available through Mass Save®’s residential HEAT Loan program and special promotions offered through authorized Carrier® dealers.
Get the most out of your air conditioner and your free time by checking the filter once a month, cutting back vegetation growing over the condenser, and making visual inspections of the equipment.
Then, ask around and find a highly recommended, nearby HVAC contractor who offers an affordable, comprehensive service plan for your air conditioning system.
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If your question isn’t answered here, contact the friendly team at Genove Oil & Air, and we’ll find a solution for your home or business.
Whether you need home heating oil or gas delivery, Bioheat delivery, or installation and service of oil & natural gas systems for HVAC, heating, and cooling—call us at 781-893-9191 or email us.