The Do’s and Don’ts of DIY HVAC Repair and Maintenance

August 24, 2020
Do’s and Dont’s of DIY HVAC

As a homeowner, you are likely to have a long list of household chores and odd jobs to do. Keeping on top of your HVAC air conditioning and heating maintenance is an essential part of this work. How do you know what jobs are safe and easy for you to perform, and which ones you should leave to the professionals? We have a list of things you should do, and when you may want to call an HVAC company below. At American Service Company RVA, we are proud to help you stay safe and keep your home healthy.

DIY tasks for HVAC heating and cooling

Since you will have several times of the year that you need to do maintenance for your HVAC system, it may be handy to use a dedicated calendar. You can put the date holder in the garage, shed, basement, or wherever it makes the most sense for you to keep track of household tasks. Here are several things you can pencil into your heating and cooling checklist.


When you mow your lawn, the grass clippings, petals from blossoms, and other yard debris like pollen blow around the yard. These airborne particles find their way to every crevice and space, including your HVAC air conditioning unit. The fans and coils in this item can clog up quickly. The more debris in the fan, the harder the system works. This extra use equals higher utility costs and a shorter lifespan for the heating and cooling equipment.

Every week you should check the vents and fan. If you see grass or twigs, then you should rinse the unit out with the garden hose and remove the debris. For stubborn material, a safe degreasing solution is easy to apply and spray off. When the pollen count is high in your area, then this is one task you do not want to forget.


You should always inspect the return air filter on your HVAC unit monthly. Depending on how dirty it gets, you may need to replace it every one to three months. Another task is to keep vegetation approximately 18 inches away from all parts of your outdoor heating and cooling system. Check to be sure there are no branches, debris, or yard waste building up between cleanings.

Semi-annual HVAC maintenance tasks

Homeowners should plan to schedule two annual maintenance checks for your cooling and heating system to find and prevent small issues before they become bigger problems. It is best to schedule these appointments for the season before the hottest and coldest weather arrives. You will also want to check and replace the batteries in your thermostat every time you change your clocks, so you do not forget this little task.

Things homeowners should not attempt with HVAC systems

A property owner should never attempt to do some things with his or her HVAC unit. These include not tampering with electrical lines, wiring, and connections. You should also never try to replace the capacitor in your unit. Professionals tell homeowners not to install your thermostat without being familiar with the wiring because of the risk of electrical shock or fire.

An important note is to never use a pressure washer on an air conditioning unit. These machines release too much pressure, which can bend the fins and block the airflow. You will want to avoid running your air conditioner when the outside temperature is below 60 degrees. The reason is the refrigerant shrinks at lower temperatures without a heating element in the crankcase.

When to call a specialist to check out your HVAC air conditioning

You should call your trusted HVAC specialist if you notice any of these signs:

  • Uneven cooling
  • A fan that is not working or irregular
  • Unit will not shut off
  • Frozen lines
  • Thermostat is not responding with a new battery

Why it is not safe to perform some DIY HVAC repairs

AC and heating systems contain dangers like high voltage components that can cause shocks. Plus, these systems have hazardous materials like refrigerants the government regulates and other chemicals. Homeowners can void the warranty on the system by attempting DIY repairs. If there is damage to your home because of homeowner fixes, your insurance may not cover the cost.

If you hear your air conditioning unit making any unusual noises, or if you notice an unusual smell coming from the vents, then do not hesitate to give our office a call. Do not compromise your family and safety by performing professional repairs. Always contact your qualified professionals at American Service Company RVA with any questions or concerns. We are available 24 hours a day for emergencies.