A great way to save a bundle of cash on your air conditioning and HVAC maintenance is to take care of the maintenance yourself. However, some maintenance items are better left up to the pros. One such maintenance item involves checking and recharging your air conditioner's refrigerant.
So why shouldn't you check and charge your own refrigerant? The following offers several good reasons why that could turn out to be a bad idea.
The Process Requires Special Tools and Training
Chances are you won't have access to the various manifold gauges, oil pumps, charging cylinders and other refrigeration equipment needed to safely check and add refrigerant. It's also likely that you won't have the years of training and experience necessary to properly use these tools without damaging your A/C system or harming yourself.
It Could Prove Dangerous to the Average DIYer
There are plenty of dangers associated with checking and charging an A/C system's refrigerant. For starters, A/C refrigerant is kept under high pressures. Without following certain procedures mandated by the manufacturer, it's easy to injure yourself or damage your tools and A/C equipment. Direct skin contact with refrigerant can also cause severe skin irritation or even frostbite injuries with extended contact. There's also an asphyxiation risk involved with refrigerant, especially in confined areas.
You Could Inadvertently Damage Your A/C System
Even if you somehow manage to check and charge your own A/C system, the consequences of your DIY job could be just around the corner. There's plenty that could go wrong after you start using your A/C system:
- If you accidentally used the wrong refrigerant or lubricating oil, it could wreck your A/C system's compressor and other components in short order.
- If you forget to check the refrigerant lines and seals for leaks, your efforts could prove wasted once your A/C system runs out of refrigerant.
- If you've added too much refrigerant, the resulting increase in system pressure could cause various components to fail prematurely.
To avoid accidentally damaging your air conditioner, it's best to leave refrigerant-related tasks to the professionals.
You Could Even Void Your Warranty
Having a professional maintain your A/C system not only keeps you safe and your unit working order, but it also preserves your unit's warranty. If something goes wrong with your air conditioner and the manufacturer links the problem to earlier DIY work, the manufacturer may decide to reject your warranty claim. Previous DIY work is a common reason for manufacturers to void A/C system warranties.