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DIY Furnace Repair: Is the risk worth the savings?

Have you even considered repairing your furnace yourself? Is it worth it for your to save by not hiring a professional HVAC technician?


The truth is that when repairing a gas fired appliance yourself there are risks associated with these repairs. Many homeowners are capable of completing these repairs by themselves and it is completely within your legal rights to work on your own equipment (to a point). This article intends to discuss some of the risks associated with this type of work so you can determine whether the risks are worth the cost savings. When completing these types of repairs it is crucial to practice extreme safety and diligence and know what you are getting into before attempting a repair yourself. We always recommend a HVAC technician who is licensed and insured!


So what are some of the risks of DIY furnace repair?


  • Carbon Monoxide
    • Gas fired appliances create a harmful by-product known as carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide is an odourless, invisible gas that can make people very sick or even cause death. This gas is a by-product of the combustion process that happens when your furnace is creating heat.  In a properly working furnace the carbon monoxide passes through a sealed heat exchanger system and exits your home through the flue pipes.  When repairing a furnace, it is crucial to ensure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.  If a component is not connected or sealed properly or a puncture is made you could be risking the safety of yourself and all others in the home. It is always important to have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home, whether you are completing DIY furnace repairs or not.


  • Fire Risk
    • When working on a gas fired appliance fire concerns are always present. The risk of creating a fire come from the combination electrical components and pressurized gas.  With many moving electrical components it is important to practice electrical safety when attempting a DIY furnace repair. Improper wiring or the by passing of safety features can cause an immense risk of fire.  When you combine these electrical risks with gas pressure you can create a fire hazard.  A simple spark at the wrong time in the wrong place can create a reaction with the gas causing a fire.  When working on your own appliance ensure all electrical safety procedures are being practiced and manufacturers wiring instructions are being followed.


  • Explosion
    • Much like the risk of fire, there can be a risk of explosion when working on a gas fired appliance.  Natural gas or propane are the most common fuel sources for central furnaces in the Ottawa and Ottawa Valley area.  These fuels are transported into your home through gas pipe and then are ignited in the furnace to create heat. When attempting a DIY repair it is important to ensure you are well versed in gas safety. A small leak can be created if you are attempting to install a gas valve and do not seat it properly, this can allow dangerous gas to collect in your furnace or basement.  Furthermore, working with gas pipe and not creating proper seals and in turn testing those seals can put you at risk.  As gas pools from a leak, a small spark or source of ignition can cause an explosion. When working on your own furnace it is important to be aware of the risks of explosion with natural gas and propane.


  • Void Furnace Warranty
    • When you are attempting to complete a DIY furnace repair it is crucial to be aware that you may be voiding your warranty. Generally as a client you receive two different warranties when you purchase your furnace; 1) a manufacturers parts warranty, this warranty is provided by the manufacturer of your equipment is generally valid for 10 years. 2) A labour warranty, is provided by the installing company and may range from 1- 10 years. If the equipment is worked on by someone who is not factory trained or does not carry a gas licence the warranty may be voided. This can be a costly mistake as, depending on which part needs to be replaced, you could be forfeiting thousands of dollars worth of warranty.


  • Create larger problems
    • This is an issue we encounter all too often in our trade. A homeowner with good intentions set out to repair their own furnace. A few youtube videos later and a small wiring issue has become a fried gas valve, a burnt-out control board and a much more expensive repair! When attempting to complete a DIY repair, the risk of creating a larger problem is always present. If you are not overly confident on what the issue is, it may be best to have a diagnostic completed by a factory trained individual.


  • Never get to the root of the problem
    • Another common issue we run into when dealing with DIY furnace repairs is related to the actual diagnostic. We come across homeowners who have repeatedly changed the same part only to see the same issue arise.  This is because in most cases, a bad part is caused by a deeper issue. This can be a poor install practice, gas pressure issues, ductwork issues or any number of other factors. There is nothing more frustrating than paying for the same part 4 times to only find out that the reason for this failure was any easy repair if diagnosed properly.


If you or someone you know is having furnace issues it may be time to call in a expert. At AirZone HVAC Services we employ licenced gas fitters and factory trained individuals. This should give you peace of mind that a repair will be completed safely in your home! Our team is also able to make professional recommendations when to repair or purchase a new furnace. Often it’s more economical to simply have a new furnace installed given the repair costs vs the energy savings that a high efficiency furnace can provide!


Given the potential problems listed above we hope that we have highlighted the need for a professional HVAC technician working on your equipment. Our friendly team is always here to discuss the right course of action for your furnace repair in Ottawa and the Valley.

Rheem R96T Gas Furnace

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