Weekend handymen may not want to hear this, but it needs to be said: Average homeowners are not able to make most repairs on their own air-conditioning and heating systems. When there is a repair problem -- and not maintenance to be done -- call an HVAC service technician. You cannot expect to pull out the toolbox and owner's manual, and fix your system.
Heating and cooling systems are more sophisticated than in years past. Many repairs require special diagnostic equipment. If there is a problem with coolant levels, you not only need special equipment, but a license to handle the Freon. If you do try to troubleshoot problems on your own, turn off the power first to your heating and cooling system.
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