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Air conditioning is one of the modern conveniences that we often take for granted. It can be easy to forget that like any other appliance, air conditioners need regular maintenance and upkeep. Unfortunately, some homeowners make the mistake of trying to repair their own AC systems, or worse yet—causing damage by doing something they shouldn’t. To keep your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently, here are a few things you should never do when it comes to your AC system.

Don’t Forget Regular Maintenance
Regular maintenance is key to keeping your air conditioning system running smoothly and efficiently. If you fail to have regular tune-ups performed on your AC system, it could lead to a range of problems such as increased energy bills and unexpected breakdowns. In addition, preventive maintenance can help you spot minor issues before they become expensive repairs down the road. Make sure you schedule an annual tune-up with a qualified HVAC technician who can check for worn out parts or diagnose larger problems.

Don’t feel like you need to call a technician for every little thing. Manually inspecting your air conditioner for minor wear and tear is a great way to keep your system running correctly and efficiently. To get started, you should look for any visible signs of damage or corrosion on the system’s exterior such as cracks, rusting parts, or frayed wiring. You should also look for any signs of water leakage around the condenser unit or ducts. Additionally, take a look at your air filters and replace them if necessary—dirty or clogged filters can reduce airflow, causing your system to work harder than it needs to. By performing these basic checks, you can help ensure that minor issues don’t become major problems down the road.

Don’t Attempt Major DIY Repairs
No matter how confident you may feel about tackling DIY projects on your own, it’s important that you don’t attempt any major air conditioning repair without professional help. Not only do most HVAC systems require specialized tools and equipment for repair work, but attempting a repair job yourself can also void your warranty or cause even more damage if not done properly. Unless you are an experienced HVAC technician yourself, always call in a professional whenever you need repairs or maintenance work done on your AC system.

Don’t Touch the Refrigerant
Refrigerant is an essential part of an air conditioner’s operation; however, it needs to be handled with extreme caution. To determine if you have a refrigerant issue, look out for any signs of frost or ice on the evaporator coil near your AC unit. This can indicate an inadequate amount of refrigerant in the system. Other signs to watch out for include a hissing noise near the unit, warm air coming through the vents, and elevated humidity levels when your AC system is running. If at all possible, never attempt to add refrigerant or any other type of chemical solution to your air conditioner without first consulting with a professional HVAC technician who can safely handle this task for you.

It’s just as important to keep yourself, your family, and pets away from AC refrigerant at all times. Refrigerants are highly flammable and can cause serious injuries or even death if not handled properly. The danger posed by these chemicals is amplified when exposed to a low temperature, like those created within an air conditioning system. For example, contact with liquid refrigerant on the skin can cause severe frostbite or even chemical burns. To prevent any accidents, make sure to install a safety guard around your air conditioner and keep curious children and pets away at all times. If you ever suspect a refrigerant leak in the system, call an HVAC technician immediately for assistance.

Don’t Use the Wrong Products
Another mistake many people make is using the wrong type of refrigerant for their AC unit. Different types of refrigerants have different chemical compositions, which means they require different components in order to function properly. Using the wrong type of refrigerant can damage your system or even cause it to malfunction completely, so be sure to use the specific type recommended by your manufacturer or an HVAC professional. As always, never attempt to install refrigerant yourself; always call a professional to handle this task for you.

Don’t Overlook Leaks or Strange Noises
If you notice any leaks coming from your air conditioning unit or hear strange noises coming from it while it’s running, don’t ignore them! These could be signs of bigger problems that need to be addressed immediately in order to prevent further damage. If you detect any leaks or odd noises coming from your unit, contact an HVAC professional right away to have them inspected and repaired as soon as possible.

Other problems to look out for in an AC unit include refrigerant leaks, clogged or dirty air filters, damaged coils and fan motors, and faulty thermostats. Refrigerant leaks can cause your system to be less efficient at cooling your home and can even lead to severe damage if not addressed right away. Clogged or dirty air filters can restrict air flow and reduce your system’s cooling capacity. Damaged coils and fan motors can reduce the lifespan of your unit, while a faulty thermostat can cause your AC to run longer than necessary. If you suspect any of these issues with your AC unit, contact an HVAC professional immediately for assistance in making repairs or diagnosing the problem at its source.

When it comes to caring for your air conditioner, there are certain things that homeowners should never do—from forgetting regular tune-ups and attempting DIY repairs, to touching the refrigerant themselves—all these activities should be left in the hands of skilled professionals who know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to maintaining and repairing AC systems safely and efficiently. Keep these tips in mind next time you’re tempted to take matters into your own hands.