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4 DIY Mistakes To Avoid Tuning Up Your Air Conditioner

By National Refrigeration March 23, 2019

Springtime is here, and all the serious DIY-ers are emerging from their newly renovated rooms and workshops to tackle the outdoor chores.

If you have a central air conditioning system, one task on your list should be to schedule a tune-up to avoid a break down during a heatwave. There are definitely things you can do to ensure your HVAC system runs efficiently to lower your energy costs and . . . of course, keeps running. However, there are also ways you can sabotage your HVAC equipment and end up paying a lot of money to still sweat through that heatwave.

Before you pull out the toolbox, consider these 4 costly mistakes DIY-ers make when trying to tune up a central air conditioning system.

Mistake #1: Voiding the equipment’s factory warranty.

HVAC equipment made by leading manufacturers comes with a factory warranty of some sort. Warranties can be complicated and specific, and it’s important to know what they say. Any warranty has clauses and conditions that void the warranty. First, always register newly installed HVAC equipment immediately so you don’t forget. Equipment that isn’t registered typically isn’t covered.

Common warranty conditions also require inspections and maintenance be performed by manufacturer-certified HVAC technicians, and all replacement parts must be made by the original manufacturer.

Right from the start, tinkering with your brand-new, energy-efficient air conditioner can completely eliminate any recourse you have against a faulty part.

HVAC training for National Refrigeration technicians includes manufacturer education on all equipment. Quality service is part of our HVAC technicians’ job description.

Mistake #2: Illegally handling refrigerant.

Checking your refrigerant charge is a very important part of maintaining a high level of energy efficiency and prolonging the life of your HVAC equipment.

Before you go check . . . it is illegal to handle refrigerant without a license from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Dave, a certified HVAC technician from HVAC Training For Beginners.

Refrigerant isn’t used up during the air cooling process, which means if your equipment’s charge is low, there’s probably a leak somewhere. In the case of pinhole leaks, some HVAC technicians may re-charge the unit without fixing the leak. This ensures you have to pay for a re-charge with each visit.

Spilling or dumping toxic chemicals into the environment isn’t good for anybody, especially if you have a well. Keep yourself and your family safe and avoid handling refrigerant if you’re unlicensed.

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Mistake #3: Not being 100% sure.

One of the most common and costly emergency calls for A/C repair is for a clogged condensate drain line. Like plumbing problems, a clogged drain line can flood your home and cause both costly water damage and produce bacteria and molds that are harmful to your home’s indoor air quality. This is one tune-up task you don’t want to drop the ball on.

Some online HVAC experts say to pour a mixture of water and vinegar down the condensate drain line regularly to keep it clear. Other HVAC experts say many manufacturers advise against the practice.

Tune-ups require calibrations, such as checking the refrigerant charge, and also taking amp draws on motors driving the compressor, fan, and indoor blower, Dave says. If you’re not sure how to fine-tune the sensitive equipment delivering customized climate control, you could run your equipment hard and greatly shorten its lifespan.

As you can see, tune-ups require practical know-how and technical skills a well-trained and fully insured HVAC technician brings to the job. If you need HVAC or plumbing service for your business, check to make certain the HVAC contractor you use has a solid history of commercial projects.

National Refrigeration shows you how to improve the indoor air quality in your home. Keep your family healthy this winter with state-of-the-art air filtration equipment.

Mistake #4: Missing out on professional service.

Getting the most value from your HVAC equipment requires professional maintenance. Each piece of equipment varies slightly from one manufacturer to another, which is why HVAC techs get special training for specific lines of equipment and systems. Purchasing your central A/C and heating systems from the same manufacturer can allow you to use the same trusted HVAC contractor to service all your heating and cooling equipment.

A lot of YouTube DIY videos will show you how to clean your condenser with a garden hose and spray nozzle. (Please don’t forget to turn off the power.) But, that’s just one of many services your air conditioning system needs to perform at its best. Doing what you can as a homeowner is better than nothing, but it doesn’t safeguard your equipment or protect your investment.

Professional service has been shown to increase the return on your investment by both saving money on energy costs and making your HVAC equipment last longer. It’s always better to pay for a service plan because, in the long run, it ends up being less expensive than paying for repairs and replacing equipment sooner.

Countless reviews for HVAC new construction installation in Rhode Island recommend National Refrigeration. 24-7 emergency service available.


Do your part to keep your air conditioner running efficiently by checking the filter once a month, clearing vegetative growth from the condenser, and making visual inspections of the equipment between scheduled service appointments.

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National Refrigeration is a unique family company: one where we share our focus on our family of employees with yours. That’s why we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We know that our reputation is on the line with every job that we do and will settle for nothing less than perfection. It’s been that way since our modest beginnings in 1969.

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