Don’t Try This at Home: 4 AC Repairs You Shouldn’t Fix on Your Own

Don’t Try This at Home: 4 AC Repairs You Shouldn’t Fix on Your Own

Preventative maintenance and repairs are the key to preserving the life of the central air conditioning (AC) system in your home.

Access to the internet and resources, like Google and YouTube, have made it easy to perform some DIY AC maintenance on your own—like changing your air filter, flushing out your condensate drain, cleaning your outdoor AC equipment, or checking your evaporator coils. There are other AC repairs, however, that should only be repaired or replaced by a trained and licensed HVAC contractor.

Today, we’ll uncover four common AC problems that you shouldn’t fix on your own and the reasons why you should work with a top HVAC company in Clearwater, like Air Care, to repair them instead.


AC Problem #1: You Have a Refrigerant Leak

As a Floridian, you’re familiar with the warm temperatures across the Tampa Bay area all year long. Your AC is likely turned on “Cool” most months out of the year, but that doesn’t mean your actual system should run all the time.

If your AC is constantly running—but never keeps a cool temperature—your HVAC system may be low on refrigerant (also called coolant or freon).

You should never attempt to replace or top off AC refrigerant on your own. That’s because AC equipment manufactured before 2010 usually relies on R22 refrigerant, an ozone-depleting substance (ODS) that was banned as of January 1, 2020, under the U.S. Clean Air Act and Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

You can still continue to operate an HVAC system that runs on R22. However, it will require an HVAC technician to identify the leak and add R22 refrigerant to your system. (Any other refrigerant can damage your equipment and may result in a total system replacement.) R22 can be more costly due to the low supply and high demand, and you will not be able to obtain R22 refrigerant unless you are a licensed HVAC contractor.

To determine if your system uses R22, the refrigerant type should be listed on your AC unit’s outside condenser. If there’s no label, check your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website. Contact Air Care if you still cannot identify which refrigerant is used, and we’ll help you determine the type of refrigerant and schedule an appointment to identify and fix the problem.


AC Problem #2: Your Motor Stopped Working

Is there a strange noise coming from your outdoor AC condenser unit? If so, first walk outside to see if your motor fan is spinning. If it’s stopped running altogether, you may have a bad motor or start capacitor.

Similar to a battery, your AC unit’s start capacitor stores an electrical charge and releases a signal to keep your motor running. When you have a faulty capacitor, your motor fan won’t spin, but you may still hear a buzz or humming sound coming from the outside condenser unit.

When this happens, don’t attempt to troubleshoot or fix it on your own. Call Air Care today to schedule an HVAC inspection to test your capacitor and motor. If it continues to fail, our trained technicians will replace your capacitor or motor to keep your Clearwater home cool and comfortable.


AC Problem #3: You Need to Test Electrical Components

The motor’s start capacitor is just one of many electrical components that make up your HVAC system. Your indoor and outdoor unit is made up of relays, which are connected to several other electrical AC parts—such as compressors, motors, capacitors, transformers, your circuit board, thermostat, and more.

Each of these AC components run on high voltage electricity, which can pose a danger to your personal safety and your HVAC system. As a result, we never recommend homeowners or handymen replace, repair, troubleshoot or inspect electrical components on their own. 

Instead, trust our trained, licensed and experienced AC technicians at Air Care to test electrical components and inspect your HVAC system. Contact our team today to schedule a system tune-up and inspection.

Want to know more about AC electrical components and parts and how they work together to power your HVAC system? Watch the video below:


AC Problem #4: You Need to Replace Your AC Unit 

In some cases, your HVAC system will only need a parts repair or replacement. In others, you may need to install a new central heating and cooling system altogether.

When that time comes, it’s important to work with an experienced HVAC company to ensure your new system is:

  • Properly installed and repaired
  • The right size for your home
  • Centrally located for airflow and ventilation
  • Cooling your home efficiently
  • Circulating good indoor air quality
  • Providing adequate dehumidification
  • Conserving energy and utility bill costs


AC License and Permit Requirements

A total AC system replacement also has property licensing and permitting requirements. Under Section 489.127, Florida Statutes, all AC contracting work should be conducted with a valid state license. Unlicensed contracting is a serious crime, and if caught, homeowners or contractors can be charged a first-degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to one year in jail or 12 months of probation, and a $1,000.00 fine.

These legal requirements are held by local governments across Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties, and if not followed properly, unlicensed AC work could end up costing you more in the long run if you are caught or decide to resell your home. Without a permit or proper license, you also cannot guarantee that AC work is done properly to heat or cool your home.

At Air Care, our team carries the proper Florida licensing for HVAC repair and electrical services and is EPA certified:

  • State License#: CACO45902
  • State Electrical License#: ET11000868

Contact your local AC company, Air Care, today to schedule an AC inspection and get a professional opinion on a new HVAC system installation. We recommend Rheem systems for all new installations. Read more about why we’re our Rheem Pro Partner.


The Solution: Hire a HVAC Company for AC Maintenance and Repairs

The most important step you can take is to properly maintain and repair your central AC system properly. Start by scheduling a service appointment with Air Care, where one of our technicians can determine if your AC equipment needs:

  • More refrigerant (i.e., R22) or has a leak
  • A new or repaired motor, fan or capacitor
  • Electrical components repaired or replaced
  • A new HVAC system replacement

Contact Air Care today.


“If you live in Pinellas Park, FL there is only one AC repair company that I would trust to refer you to. Air Care possesses an extremely high quality of service and is always fast, friendly and thorough service.” — Mike T.


APPENDIX: Phaseout of Ozone Depleting Substances, homeowner and consumer FAQs U.S. Clean Air Act Basic Electrical Wiring Components for HVAC Systems

Section 489.127, Florida Statutes