A True DIY Story—The Names Were Changed to Protect the Guilty

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A True DIY Story—The Names Were Changed to Protect the Guilty

Do-it-yourselfers have a proud history in our country. Maybe it goes back to the pioneer days when everyone had to be self-sufficient to survive. Builder’s Heating & Air Conditioning has nothing but admiration for the folks who have the skill to do their own work, but we had a recent reminder why the risks are great when it comes to DIY work on residential HVAC units in Denver.

The phone call came from, well let’s call her Laura, who was worried about her husband’s (let’s just call him Jimmy) attempt to install a new thermostat. Now according to Laura, Jimmy is no dummy. He has some mechanical aptitude and loves the idea of saving money by doing his own work.

He carefully read the instructions and removed the old thermostat (11:00 a.m./inside temperature 74℉). This is where the train started to go off the tracks. The color coding on the wires didn’t match what was on the instructions. To his credit, Jimmy didn’t just keep going blindly forward. He went to the modern DIY library of tutorials, YouTube.

After some hours of research (1:15 p.m./inside temperature 79℉), he was ready for another attempt. The new thermostat was connected and, nothing. Now the entire central air unit appeared to be dead. The summer sun was beating down (3:30 p.m./inside temperature 81℉) and Laura became more than a little concerned.

Jimmy decided discretion is the better part of valor and put the old thermostat back in. You guessed it, the system was still dead. All Laura could see was dollar signs flashing in front of her eyes for a central air conditioner replacement. After some more online research (5:30 p.m./inside temperature 84℉) Laura won the argument and she made the call to Builder’s.

As hard as we try, we have to handle these calls in the order they come in. Laura and Jimmy spent a couple of very uncomfortable days in their house before our technician arrived to assess the situation. The bad news is Laura and Jimmy had to pay for the diagnostic fee, but the good news is the damage was pretty minor this time.

While trying to install the thermostat, Jimmy had blown a fuse when he connected the wrong wires. Thankfully, the fuse worked the way it was supposed to and protected the rest of the system. If the fuse hadn’t done its job, Jimmy’s attempt at money saving could have cost hundreds of dollars instead of the relatively modest amount to replace the fuse and diagnostic fee.

The moral of the story is there’s a reason our technicians go to school for as long as two years and then do continual on-the-job training. The technology in HVAC systems is changing so rapidly, there’s no way for the DIY’er like Jimmy to keep up. So, when it comes to the valuable heating and cooling systems in your home, put down the tool belt and pick up the phone. Here are a few troubleshooting tips for you that are safe if your AC stops cooling.

Builder’s will keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Just like it has been doing for Denver and the Suburbs since 1950.