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DIY AC Repairs: Know Your Limits and Best Practices for Success

The urgency to restore cool air pushes us to consider DIY repairs. Before grabbing your toolkit, it’s crucial to understand the scope of what can and should not be tackled as a DIY project. In this guide on DIY AC repairs, we’ll explore the key factors to consider and provide insights into what repairs are suitable for DIY enthusiasts and professionals.

Inspect Your Home’s Circuit Breaker

The first step you can take is to inspect your home’s circuit breaker if your AC fails to turn on. The circuit breaker is the main panel controlling the power flow throughout the house. When there is an excessive power surge, the circuit breaker will trip and cut off the electricity supply. It will likely trip if your AC and other devices are connected to the same breaker.

If you find that the circuit breaker has not tripped, it is recommended to have your AC system examined by a professional. They possess the expertise and knowledge to diagnose and address more complex issues that may be causing your AC malfunction.

Replacing The AC Air Filter

The air filter in your air conditioner plays a crucial role in ensuring the air’s cleanliness. If you start noticing a decline in air quality from your AC unit, it may be time to replace the air filter. A dirty or clogged filter hinders the passage of clean air, diminishing its effectiveness. Ignoring the need for a filter replacement can decrease efficiency and compromise indoor air quality.

When inspecting your air filter, you can determine whether it requires cleaning or replacement. If the filter appears excessively dirty or clogged, opting for a new one is best. Replacing the air filter is a relatively simple task you can easily do yourself. However, ensure you choose a high-quality filter with excellent filtration capabilities and durability for longer-lasting performance.

DIY AC Repairs: What You Should (and Shouldn't) Attempt on Your Own

Generally, replacing the air filter every 2-3 months is recommended. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests changing the filter every 90 days, with monthly checks in between. Following this maintenance schedule allows your AC unit to continue efficiently cooling your space while effectively filtering out particulates and maintaining optimal air quality.

Check That The Thermostat Is Functioning

When your AC is not cooling as well as it should, you should check the thermostat and ensure the settings have not changed. This can be fixed by just resetting it. You can also ensure that the batteries are good and do not need replacement. 

To ensure effective cooling, it’s important to set your thermostat below the room’s ambient temperature. This activates your air conditioning system and provides the desired cooling effect. However, if you notice that your thermostat is no longer displaying the correct temperature or if your AC fails to function properly when the heat setting is selected, it may be time to consider replacing the thermostat.

Examine The AC Capacitor

One component of your AC system that you can tackle is examining the capacitor. The capacitor plays a vital role in controlling the motor, and any issues can lead to overheating and AC malfunctions.

In the case of a split system AC, you can perform some simple observations to assess the capacitor’s condition. Listen carefully for humming sounds and observe if the fan functions properly. If you notice a humming noise, but the fan fails to operate, the capacitor is likely faulty. Another way to check is by giving the fan blade a gentle push. If the fan spins freely with the push, it indicates a need for capacitor replacement.

However, it’s important to note that testing and replacing the capacitor involve working with electrical components, which can pose a certain level of risk. To ensure the safety and proper handling of voltage discharge and capacitor replacement, it is recommended to seek assistance from a professional, such as Shipton’s Heating & Cooling Ltd. Their expertise will ensure that the capacitor is tested accurately and replaced correctly, minimizing any potential hazards.

Provide A Good Cleaning

You can avoid an expensive repairs when you maintain a clean AC unit. By using a lightly dampened cloth, you can wipe away dust buildup. This easy cleaning will help the AC to continue running efficiently. If your AC is split, make sure it is turned off and wipe the fans to remove debris. Carefully clean the condenser’s fins so they don’t get damaged.

When your AC unit is packaged, it may be more difficult to clean because you’ll need to have it removed from the mount. If this is the case for you, then having it cleaned by Shipton’s Heating & Cooling Ltd will be a good idea.

DIY AC Repairs: What You Should (and Shouldn't) Attempt on Your Own

What You Shouldn’t Attempt

While there are many repairs that you can do yourself, there are some that you should not attempt, and instead, you should be in touch with us today to accomplish the repair.


When it comes to AC leaks, regardless of their size, it is strongly advised not to attempt repairing them on your own. The main reason is that specific parts may be needed for proper repair, which professionals best handle. Especially when the leak’s location is not readily visible, contacting a professional is crucial to identify and address the issue accurately. Even small leaks can lead to a significant amount of water leakage within a short period of time, making professional assistance necessary.

Moreover, if the leak involves refrigerant, it is essential to avoid any attempts at cleaning or repairing it independently. Refrigerants are poisonous substances, and mishandling them can pose serious health risks. Therefore, leaving refrigerant-related repairs to trained professionals with the expertise and proper equipment to handle such situations safely is highly recommended.

Gas Leaks

Just like major water leaks, the same goes for gas leaks. When you smell burning, it will be an electrical issue. These smells can be dangerous and cause further damage if left untreated.

Get The Best Advice Concerning Repairs From Shipton's Heating & Cooling LTD

When you feel like you can fix your AC yourself, you should be aware of your capabilities and the type of repair needed. This way, you won’t get in over your head. If you are unsure what you should and should not repair, contact us today at Shipton’s Heating & Cooling Ltd for your repair needs.

We know how important it is to stay comfortable during the summer months, but we also know that keeping your home warm in the winter can be just as important. If your HVAC equipment isn’t working as it should, this typically simple task can become a monumental challenge. That’s where we come in.

Whether you need a new furnace and air conditioner or general HVAC services, Shipton’s Heating & Cooling Ltd team is ready to help!

We have been providing HVAC services for over 95 years. Having been locally owned and operated by the same family since our founding, our priority is helping our Hamilton neighbours.

We take pride in our work and strive to provide great service every step of the way.


HVAC Hamilton, ON