Which HVAC Projects Should I Never Try Myself?

Your home’s HVAC system is a complicated, interconnected mechanism. Its heating, cooling, and ventilating components all rely on one another to treat your home’s air properly. When something goes wrong with one aspect of the system, it affects the whole system… and you. Obviously, we understand why you’d want to try to fix any problems you notice yourself right away!

Unfortunately, that’s often ill-advised. Precisely because your HVAC system is so interconnected, it tends to be particularly dangerous for non-professionals to work on. While trying to fix one thing, you could end up breaking something else even worse… or hurting yourself. While there are some minor HVAC projects (like cleaning vents and air conditioning units) you can do yourself, you should leave most of the bigger issues to the pros. Here are three HVAC projects you should never try yourself, and why:

Air Conditioner Repair

When it comes to AC repair, what you don’t know can hurt you. An air conditioning unit has many delicate moving parts to keep track of. If you accidentally damage, bump, or otherwise dislocate any of those parts, you could end up keeping your AC from running at all.

The last thing you want to do is turn a small AC issue into a big AC problem, and chances are, that’s exactly what you’ll end up doing if you try to repair a minor AC problem yourself. The worse the AC problem, the longer it will take to repair. The longer it takes to repair, the longer you go without air conditioning. It’s not worth the potential risk (to your AC, your checkbook, or your health) to try to repair your AC yourself. Going with the pros will always end up being faster, safer, and probably less expensive, to boot!

Asbestos Removal

Before you think about starting any HVAC project, you should figure out whether or not your vents contain asbestos. Asbestos was frequently used in the construction of ventilation systems before the 1980s. If you think you might have asbestos, do not enter your vents yourself. If you do, you run the risk of kicking asbestos up into the air, where it could circulate through your home. Any amount of airborne asbestos exposure is very dangerous.

Asbestos removal is frequently a part of adding new venting and ductwork as part of an HVAC update. If you even think you have asbestos, you have to have it removed before you do any other ductwork. Leave the asbestos removal to the pros: they have the safety equipment and expertise required to remove asbestos without exposing you to it. Take asbestos exposure very seriously–don’t put yourself at risk.

Replacing a Hot Water Tank

Unfortunately, Installing a new hot water tank isn’t as simple as removing the old one and screwing the new one back on. In fact, installing a brand new hot water tank will require a lot of expert assistance. You’ll have permits to acquire, codes to check, and safety regulations to follow. If you aren’t already intimately familiar with these details, installing a new hot tank tank can become quite challenging.

It can also be dangerous. Many hot water tanks are necessarily attached to gas lines. Installing a tank to a gas line incorrectly could lead to a gas leak or carbon monoxide emissions. If your hot water tank isn’t heated using gas, then it’s heated by electricity. Attempting electrical work yourself is nearly as dangerous as working with gas–and it’s even more complicated. Without the right tools and knowledge, working with gas or electricity is a very bad idea. Leave this particular installation to the pros.

We understand that completing DIY projects can be satisfying… especially right now, when everyone’s looking for something to do. Even so, remember that there’s a limit to what anyone should do on their own. It’s not about intelligence, ability, or even knowhow–it’s about safety and certification.

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