It’s the age of YouTube, a golden age for DIY spirits.
Don’t know how to do something?
That’s all right! After all, someone has probably filmed it step-by-step and put it online, right? Why should an AC installation or any other kind of HVAC work be any different?
Honestly, it isn’t. We’ve been on the internet and checked out a few classics using basic searches (AC installation, HVAC repair, and HVAC how-to guide. They all turned up hundreds or even thousands of results. There are videos on installing ductless mini-splits, on installing central air units, on installing heat pumps, and on every imaginable HVAC installation or repair scenario.
Even searching specifically for AC installation in Orlando turned up results, as the Florida climate has specific needs.
All of which begs the question:
Do you really need to pay a pro to complete an AC installation or replacement in Orlando?
With how-to guides online making the job appear as simple as a paint-by-numbers, more and more adventurous DIY-ers are trying their hand at AC installs to keep costs down.
Guess how we know.
If you guessed because they called us to brag about it, you’re very much mistaken. We’ve got lots of calls, but they were from frantic or frustrated homeowners who’d made mistakes. Large or small, they couldn’t figure out where they’d gone wrong.
In a few instances, the mistakes were large enough to be dangerous. We’ve seen house fires started by poorly installed equipment, and we’ve met people who’ve been rushed to the Emergency Room at their local hospital with crush injuries or electrical burns from mishandling HVAC equipment.
The only thing we haven’t seen is a homeowner who made it happen without a hitch, without HVAC training. So while you might think you’re saving money, it’s far more likely that you’re going to cause yourself major headaches.
AC Repair Orlando: The Dangers of DIY HVAC repairs and installations
Dangers To You
You’re dealing with pressurized metal pipes temperature extremes, and combustible fuels or hazardous chemicals. Any of those things could prove exceptionally risky. In fact, most states require a contractor with an EPA certification in order to remove, collect, or dispose of the refrigerant that powers your old HVAC system, and to charge systems.
Additionally, there is a significant electrical risk. Your central air unit is not a small machine. It’s a very large one and it draws pretty substantial power. Furthermore, there are components within your system capable of storing power and holding a charge. It’s very possible to injure yourself, or worse, to start an electrical fire.
How realistic is that danger? There is a fire approximately every 24 seconds in America. Of those, electrical fires are the second leading cause (behind unattended equipment), or 13% of house fires. According to the National Fire Prevention Agency, fires involving electrical failure or malfunction cause 18% of civilian fire deaths and 20% of direct property damage.
Three of five fires occurred outside of the winter months. And while heating equipment is certainly responsible for more house fires than air conditioners, both can cause electrical fires.
As a last alarming statistic, 24% of electrical fires occur between midnight and 8 a – but those fires account for 60% of deaths.
What does that mean for you? It’s possible – even probable – that you could think you’ve done everything right. Your equipment can power on and seem to work as usual. But there might be a loose wire or stripped cable somewhere, and you won’t know to inspect and look for it. You could be lying in bed when the malfunction occurs and sets your home on fire.
Dangers To Your Wallet for a poor AC installation job
We get it: AC repair and installation services aren’t the cheapest thing around. But, and I hope we’re making this crystal clear, a bad installation is far more expensive in the long run than a good one up front. Even if you install everything yourself and it seems to be working fine, we positively guarantee that, without training, you’ve missed something.
Think you’ve got it all? Do you:
Speaking of tools, in order to do an installation properly and be ready to troubleshoot, you’ll need a sizable list of tools. We’re talking:
You’ll also need durable (but nimble) gloves, thick enough to keep your hands safe, but pliable enough to allow you to pick up screws and manipulate small tools. Then, safety glasses (because there will be debris), ear plugs (because it will get loud), and perhaps more.
By the time you’ve purchased all of that, you could have easily paid the labor costs of the installation itself.
Why so many tools? Before you can install a new HVAC unit, you have to remove the old one. That always requires at least a little cutting and grinding of some metal pieces. Then, while installing the new one, some adjustment is required to make things fit together perfectly.
An installation is also the best time to repair and replace damaged or leaking ductwork. In order to accomplish that, you’ll need to be very comfortable with sheet metal work.
Hiring a professional will save you a lot of headaches. You won’t have to purchase a trunkload of specialized tools, you won’t have to bend sheet metal for hours, and (perhaps most importantly) you won’t have to worry about whether the job is done right.
That’s because My AC Repair Orlando’s technicians adhere to all state and local codes, as well as national guidelines like those required to be NATE certified. With a qualified HVAC technician, you get a handyman, electrician, plumber, and AC specialist, all rolled into one, for far less than the cost of the tools you’d need.
Another note on costs! The other thing about a neat, pro installation is that it’s always done just right. That guarantees better performance and lower operating costs. Many jury-rigged and DIY installations cut corners or miss steps, which can lead to the air conditioner performing poorly.
Consider the Warranty on your new AC System
Lastly, it’s important that you consider your warranty. A service provider like My AC Repair Orlando will walk you through the manufacturer’s warranty and back it up with our own repair guarantee. We’ll also provide proof of insurance, which protects you and your home and property during the installation period.
We once fixed a man’s HVAC after he’d quit. His reason? He’d somehow destroyed a 60-inch television and a glass-topped coffee table attempting to repair his ductwork. A proper AC repair or AC installation protects you and protects your warranty.
Air Conditioning Installation - There Are Environmental Concerns
Did you know that older HVAC units can be recycled?
Did you know that they cannot be recycled unless they are prepared properly?
Putting an HVAC unit out on the curb after pulling it out of your house puts it on the fast lane to one of two places: a scrapper’s truck or a landfill.
With regards to scrappers, you can’t guarantee that they’re taking proper legal precautions. The dangerous element in HVAC removal is the refrigerant; our technicians are certified and trained in removal and disposal.
Scrappers? Not likely.
More likely, they break the evaporator coils, let the refrigerant leak run wild, and collect their money from the junkyard. That has a seriously negative impact on the environment.
The same is true of landfills. Some states work to keep that stuff from happening, but it’s just not practical. The only ways to guarantee safe disposal of refrigerant is to have an AC professional drain it properly with a vacuum pump and handle it for you.
AC Installation Orlando: Trust the Experts and Save
We hope we’ve covered this for you. If we haven’t, feel free to give us a call. We’d love to talk to you.
My AC Repair Orlando hires only the most qualified technicians – and they never stop training. Our commitment to customer service requires them to renew their certifications and engage in ongoing education.
That’s why we’re confident. That’s why we offer a risk-free guarantee on all work we perform for a year. That’s why we offer free consults and free home audits and in-person quotes. That’s why we keep our phones on 24/7/365.
If our friends and neighbors here in Florida ever have need of unbeatable service from the most highly trained HVAC technicians in the Sunshine State, My AC Repair Orlando is ready and waiting.
Michael Haines is a veteran A/C contractor and founder of the largest and oldest e-commerce site in the heating and air conditioning industry. His HVAC websites have served 10's of thousands of customers.