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How an Amateur Repair Can Really Mess up Your Home’s Heater

Heating Cabinet

You may have read about “Chuck in a Truck” before if you’re a regular at my blog. Chuck in a Truck is a handy term we use at Russell and Abbott for unlicensed, inexperienced amateur HVAC “technicians.” Usually, Chuck in a Truck’s only credential is “has a truck.” Maybe with words and a phone number stenciled on the side for that extra touch of—class, I guess? Trusting Chuck in a Truck to fix your heating system is the same as trusting someone who claims they’re a doctor because they can show you a business card.

“But what can really go wrong, Olive?” Plenty! An amateur accurately and safely fixing your heater is more about luck than anything else. (“Good Luck with Chuck in a Truck.” Hmm, I like that.) Below I’ve listed some of the ways an amateur can mess up your home heating system.

The wrong diagnosis

This sounds super obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway: In order to fix a problem, you need to know what is causing the problem in the first place. For example, your heater isn’t providing you enough heat. That’s a problem, but the lack of heat is a symptom of the problem. What’s the cause? A professional knows how to do a proper diagnosis and fix the problem. With an amateur, there’s a strong chance they’ll make the wrong diagnosis and “fix” the wrong thing—leaving you at square one and possibly with a new problem.

Cheap materials

You get what you pay for. Amateurs can offer cheap prices because they use cheap materials. Even if an amateur manages to do the correct repair, it’ll probably be done with poor materials that will wear down fast and leave you with a broken heater again. There’s a chance the second repair will cost more because of bad materials used before.

Electrical problems

Electricity is important for any heating system, and that includes gas furnaces. The control panel has complex wiring, and when a heating system of any type fails to work, technicians will check the control panel to see if this is the source. Few things are easier to mess up for an amateur than wiring. It may not seem so bad, but once Chuck in a Truck drives off, you may find your thermostat is communicating incorrectly, or the blower fan won’t turn off. In the worst case, you’ll end up with electrical fire hazards.

Damage to the heat exchanger

This is the nightmare scenario, but I’ve heard stories about it happening. A clumsy amateur trying to find a solution to a heating problem might accidentally drill right into the heat exchanger. That is dangerous! Even small cracks in the heat exchanger can lead to toxic combustion gases entering your house. You never want to take a chance of someone making this sort of mistake with your gas furnace.

One other thing to keep in mind about amateurs—they don’t have proper insurance. Insurance is an essential protection in case anything goes wrong with the service.

Only trust a licensed HVAC contractor in Knoxville, TN. We have a team that puts your needs and safety first. Every call is a priority call. We work fast but never sacrifice quality.

Stay warm,