Home Repairs - YouTube is Your Friend...

Oddly enough, I'm fine with YouTube for "infotainment." I prefer non-fiction to drama, and there's a lot you can learn out there. And since I only watch when I have some time to kill, I don't mind quite as much if some of it is wasted. I do, however, prefer a faster-paced delivery. Simon Whistler always seems to strike the right balance (although admittedly his post-production staff have gone a bit overboard with the effects.) It's getting hard to find fact-based content, rather than click bait and hyped BS.

I'm going to make a concerted effort to use YT for more DIY stuff, when I have a task to do which I need some reference material for. I know there's good stuff out there, it's just so frustrating to find it among the crap.
 
We've had capacitor issues with our A/C. A tech told me older capacitors on older units lasted longer and the new ones --not as long. If the replaced capacitors start bulging within a year or two after replacement, you may be having other issues causing the problem. As you're aware also -- those capacitors need to be discharged before you take them out as they can shock the heck out of you. So be sure to learn how to do that safely. We have a annual maintenance agreement with our A/C installer and get discounts on repairs. While not as cheap as DIY, I get more peace of mind that they are doing an overall system check and repairs don't work, it's on them.
 
I change out light fixtures and switches. That’s about it for me. Plumbing HVAC and appliances are a no go for me. I haven’t cracked the code on those yet.
 
I have a microwave oven that I've fixed 3 times. It's 28 years old now and I figure the magnatron will be next and then I'll throw it away. My refrigerator started loosing it's cooling at about 15 years old, but it was never very good. I added 8 ounce of refrigerant to it and its been better than new for the last 4 years.

Beyond saving a few bucks, I get a sense of accomplishment by fixing things and I really like not dumping something into the landfill that has a lot of life left, except for one little issue/part.
 
I joke when I fix something using YouTube that I went to YouTube university. Some videos have a section that list the key moments in the video.
Some are definitely better than others, so I try to watch an assortment of them until I feel comfortable enough to try the project.
Some projects just the require the courage to try them, but as mentioned, you should know your comfort zone.
 
HVAC companies charge high prices because they can. Most people will not tackle those jobs like you did and are willing to pay for the service. I am not and like yourself, have saved lots of bucks over the years with a willingness to do things myself, HVAC or otherwise. Because of the size of our house we have to have two furnaces/AC units for everything. Both have the UV bulbs installed to help clean out "stuff". I remember they burned out one time and when the installers did the yearly warranty checkup they charged me $100/bulb replacement. I was working and busy at the time so I said fine, and both bulbs burned out within a few months. The next time I was retired and said screw it, I'll do it myself. Found the bulbs on Amazon for about $30-40 total for two and replaced them, and so far my bulbs have been working for a few years with no problems. Do things yourself and you'll know they are usually done right.

On another note, when the warranty period was upon the units they wanted to charge me something like $1000-1500 for an annual maintenance plan, the costs of which have likely gone up a lot during the 5+ years I declined. I religiously clean the systems and do everything I can to keep them going, saving a boatload of money that way as well, which will be devoted to replacement units down the road.
 
On another note, when the warranty period was upon the units they wanted to charge me something like $1000-1500 for an annual maintenance plan, the costs of which have likely gone up a lot during the 5+ years I declined.
This truly sound like a racket. Did you at least consider calling in another company for an alternate contract?
 
I recently had our routine annual AC cleaning/check on our 8 yo unit. The tech told me the dual run capacitor was getting weak (61 microfarads?) and should probably be replaced, he had the part and quoted me $325 to do it same day. I remembered a YouTube video I watched a while back and seemed to recall it was an easy DIY job, so I declined their service. A few minutes later, he volunteered the capacitor was a $10 part and told me exactly what to buy and how to replace it. I told him I couldn't understand why the AC company would quote such high prices for a routine 2 minute job - I had already covered their travel costs with the tuneup, so it was all additional profit. He shook his head in agreement, but he said most homeowners just assume it's a fair price and approve without thinking. Sure enough I ordered the part on Amazon for $19, and replaced it in a couple minutes. It's typical for run capacitors to fail after 7-8 years.

Just another PSA as I have saved myself thousands doing whatever I can DIY around the house or our cars, either I knew how to do the job (thanks Dad) or I did a little research on YouTube to decide. If I look and realize it's beyond my ability, nothing lost. There are certainly jobs I would not tackle, better left to a pro, but there are quite a few that homeowners can easily do themselves and save thousands $.

The best part is DW thinks I'm a genius when I fix stuff, even though I tell her I just research online to decide when to DIY.
Huge satisfaction from DIY repairs. My AC is now 30 years old. I’ve replaced the start capacitor and the power contactor. I’ve had a free inspection a few years ago and the Freon was up to snuff. I’m not a heavy user living in the PNW but I do a pretty decent job of PM on the system. Blow it out in October, wrap the outside compressor unit unit needed in July. Not the most efficient but it works and not really cost effective to change now. Probably use it <200 hours a year.
 
This truly sound like a racket. Did you at least consider calling in another company for an alternate contract?
I thought about it, Koolau, but then decided I could keep them going myself with routine maintenance and so forth. So far so good since it has been 5+ years with no issues, while I almost always was guaranteed problems or complications afterwards if someone touched them, which was always a new and sometimes green person. Don't know about other peoples experiences but I personally have gotten to the point that I dread others working on things that up to that point were running great, since items never seem to run as well after they touched them.
 
This truly sound like a racket. Did you at least consider calling in another company for an alternate contract?
On another note, when the warranty period was upon the units they wanted to charge me something like $1000-1500 for an annual maintenance plan, the costs of which have likely gone up a lot during the 5+ years I declined.
They got the same racket going around here. We used to pay about $250-300 annually for a maintenance plan. 2 visits a year and a discount on work. That was reasonable.

A few years ago they went to monthly charges, starting at $99/month. Sorry, that is stoopid money to pay for a less than 5 year old system.

Takes me 15 minutes to clean the condenser coil. Just did it a few days ago (I wait until the cottonwoods stop floating in the air).

Back on topic: I use YouTube videos all the time for small repairs, but, like others, actually prefer it when I can find photos and written instructions
 
Yeah, I stopped the annual maintenance contract as soon as my 10 year parts & labor warranty expired.

Now I'd never have the refrigerant tested unless it stopped cooling since every time the Schrader valves are accessed there's a chance that will cause them to start leaking.

If I had an old R-22 (Freon) system I'd get my certification at the local community college since there's now an inexpensive (RS-44b) option which is a true drop-in replacement refrigerant for R-22 systems.

I long ago locked out my heat pump for the winter and just use the 'backup' 80% efficient gas furnace in order to save wear & tear on the compressor as cooling is critical in my locale.
 
I think that YouTube can be a great learning tool. I've used it to learn many things, from watercolor painting to building a small cabin. I recently used YouTube to repair a gas nail gun that wouldn't fire anymore.
 
YT videos can be useful, but now and then you may find one that just plain does it wrong.
Viewer beware.
 
I just tried spraying lacquer after a couple of videos and it looks great. The other things I've used it for...
Complete brake job
Capacitor in the garage opener
Lots of cabinet builds
Fixing all types of problems with the vehicles
Fixing dryer (twice)

This has saved me thousands of dollars. Too many to mention.
 
We pay for a monthly subscription so that all repairs and replacements are covered for almost all of our appliances. It's amazing how service calls go from the "you need to replace this, because it's old" to "we fixed it, and no replacement is required" when they are on the hook.

YT is awesome for most things, like tiling, construction. It has become one of my hobbies to fix/renovate stuff around the house.
 
We pay for a monthly subscription so that all repairs and replacements are covered for almost all of our appliances. It's amazing how service calls go from the "you need to replace this, because it's old" to "we fixed it, and no replacement is required" when they are on the hook.

YT is awesome for most things, like tiling, construction. It has become one of my hobbies to fix/renovate stuff around the house.

What kind of subscription is this?
 
What kind of subscription is this?

Yeah, tell us more Toocold. How much does it cost and who sells it?

We had a home warranty for a year after we bought this place. It saved us money, but the times we had to use it was a double hassle to get approval. Part of it admittedly probably due to living miles from the city.
 
Yeah, tell us more Toocold. How much does it cost and who sells it?

We had a home warranty for a year after we bought this place. It saved us money, but the times we had to use it was a double hassle to get approval. Part of it admittedly probably due to living miles from the city.
It's a repair and replacement service plan by my natural gas service provider. Link below. For the times we needed to use it, the service was quite good. Our furnace is about 20 years old, so I'm thinking when it needs to be replaced, it will make up for itself, but in the meantime, I don't need to deal ever increasing repair places.

 
It's a repair and replacement service plan by my natural gas service provider. Link below. For the times we needed to use it, the service was quite good. Our furnace is about 20 years old, so I'm thinking when it needs to be replaced, it will make up for itself, but in the meantime, I don't need to deal ever increasing repair places.

One of the electric providers offers something like this for the a/c. It is probably managed by a home warranty service of sorts in this case.

I could only find 1 other provider with a lower kwh rate that would be ~$140 annually less, so I reasoned the "warranty" would cost me $140/yr which is not a great value since I can switch out the capacitor if needed (most likely problem) and my unit is only 5 years old...if 20 years, it'd definitely be a consideration.
 
I learned to weld watching only YouTube videos specifically about a flux wire feed welder I bought at Harbor Freight for $120 plus another $100 or so in tools and equipment like welding mask, gloves, leather apron, etc. Turned out that everyone thought it was a good welder for a homeowner. It's like soldering except the solder feeds right out of the solder gun with every pull of the trigger. Welding has to be the easiest way to save money. So many things I used to toss because it was broken and needed a good welding now are returned to service because of making that decision to learn a new skill. I also got an oxy/acetylene torch and some rods to do some brazing as well. Another easy skill to learn and even more like soldering since the rod flows much like solder would. Fixed the front wheel on my wife's doggy stroller after it snapped off a couple days ago.

welder1.jpg


welder2.jpg
 
That's one thing I never have learned how to do: weld/braize. I installed an HVAC system single handed, but had to "call the man" to braize, evacuate and charge. And he "did it wrong" (left off the TXV). I validated the vacuum held. He charged it and got it dropping temp by about 12F, which was fine, so I paid him and he left. Then I went in the attic and the TXV was still in the box. I called him and he said it wasn't needed. But it was in the kit I bought, and in the instructions. It works, but unsure if I'm getting the published efficiency. But I digress. I should have just learned to braise and get the HVAC cert at the community college and not have to deal with these kinds of problems.
 
One DIY HVAC guy on YT solders, not braizes, his connections.

It is solder specifically designed for HVAC.
 
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