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Six Common DIY Heating & Cooling Mistakes

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Many homeowners perform DIY fixes when their heating and cooling systems experience minor problems. So what can go wrong with a do-it-yourself HVAC repair? A lot –– including costly permanent damage to your unit. You can still take good care of your system by avoiding common DIY mistakes and leaving repairs to a trained and experienced HVAC professional. In this month’s blog, the home comfort specialists at Main Stream Mechanical help you avoid the following heating and cooling blunders:

Mistake #1: Dismissing hazardous situations.

Your HVAC system uses electric components and refrigerants to operate. Attempting any DIY repair could cause great harm to you, not to mention costly and permanent damage to your unit. Crossing the wrong wires or adding too much refrigerant can render your equipment inoperable. Leave repairs to trained professionals who have the experience working with electrical systems and the certifications to handle hazardous chemicals.

Mistake #2: Voiding your warranty.

In order for your HVAC warranty to remain valid, installations, repairs, and replacements must be performed by a licensed HVAC professional. If you decide to fix a problem yourself, you risk voiding your warranty. This means that you won’t be eligible for free equipment repairs if your unit malfunctions again. When you hire an HVAC technician you are keeping the warranty in good standing for when you need it most.


Did you Know? Not keeping up with professional routine maintenance may also void your HVAC unit’s warranty.


Mistake #3: Neglecting routine tune-ups.

Another common mistake many homeowners make is skipping regular maintenance of their unit. Annual tune-ups by an HVAC professional will ensure your cooling and heating system is operating optimally year-round. Check-ups catch small issues early and rectify underlying problems before they become significant and costly. They also improve overall performance, reducing repairs, and extending the longevity of your unit–all of which lead to more savings for you.

Mistake #4: Neglecting your air filters.

One of the simplest HVAC maintenance tasks that homeowners miss is checking and changing the filter. Air filters catch dust, mold, and grime that can clog up the air path. A dirty filter will reduce the amount of air you’ll feel in your home and lower your indoor air quality levels. Check your filters at least once a quarter. If you have multiple pets in your home, suffer from allergies, or are a smoker, we recommend checking your filter more frequently.

Mistake #5: Covering or closing vents.

It’s a common misconception that you can save money and reduce the burden on your HVAC system by closing off vents to rooms that are not regularly used. When in fact, quite the opposite will happen. Your HVAC system and ductwork was designed and calibrated for your house. When you cover or close your vents, it throws your system off balance, and makes your HVAC unit work harder to control the temperature in your home. The added pressure in the ducts can cause air leaks, leading to inefficiency and undue wear and tear. Ultimately you’re left with higher utility bills and a shorter system lifespan.

Mistake #6: Ignoring strange noises or smells.

Your system is designed to run without the fanfare of sounds or odors. So any unusual sounds and smells are a call for help. Something could be stuck or a component could be loose or broken, making a racket as it rattles around. Foul smells can be caused by a variety of sources such as mold and mildew, animals in your ducts, or plumbing leaks or mechanical issues, such as a bad blower motor that is overheating.

What You Should Do Instead

There are a few simple tips and safe troubleshooting techniques you can do to care for and assess an HVAC issue before calling our comfort specialists, including:

  • Frequently removing debris from around your outside unit so it doesn’t clog the system and slow it down.

  • Checking your filters regularly and changing them at least every three months.

  • Problem solving temperate air by making sure the filter isn’t clogged, checking your thermostat (as it could need a battery replacement), and ensuring your registers and vents are open and not blocked.

  • Checking the power switch or your circuit breaker if your system stops working.

HVAC Installation, Service, and Repair in MA and NH

Maintaining a healthy and safe heating and cooling system is simply a phone call away. Contact our expertly trained home comfort technicians to answer your questions and resolve your concerns. We’re here to help you keep your equipment running smoothly year-round.

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