Heating and Cooling – DIY Inspection

The following content concerns heating and cooling installation.

Evidence of Previous Replacement

Because fan motors are unique to each manufacturer, new fan replacement wiring doesn’t always feed down to the capacitor as the original manufacturer designed. Consequently, when I see wiring pinned to the fan cowling in this manner, it usually indicates that the fan motor has been replaced at some point. Ask the seller when/if the system was last serviced, inquire whether the motor is currently under warranty, and get the unit’s service records. Here are some basics for the fan replacement. Note (in the video) how the fan wiring is typically fed through a protective sleeve.


Section 440.14 of the electrical code addresses the required power disconnect means for air conditioning equipment.

You’ll want to disconnect the power when it’s time to work on the equipment. In this image, the blue line runs under the house (in this case, a mobile home) and connects to the electric panel in the house. The rule states the point of disconnect should be within sight of the condensing unit. Also, note the disconnect should be readily accessible – which means it should not be installed behind the condenser. A licensed electrician is the best subcontractor to call, and don’t forget to confirm their current license. Follow for more DIY Inspection tips.

NOTE: The 2020 code defines readily accessible as – capable of being reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite to take actions such as to use tools (other than keys), to climb over or under, to remove obstacles, or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth.

Illustration by “Code Check

Your Thermostat

Mercury Type Thermostat – you should replace an old model thermostat equipped with a glass bulb of pure mercury. Read more about how to clean up a mercury spill.

Thermostat Placement

The role of a thermostat is to sense the indoor temperature and control the heating and cooling equipment.

Bonus room(s) on the second floor won’t heat/cool properly without a separate thermostat placed on the same level as the room(s). In this case, a stand-alone air conditioner may make the best sense, and a ductless mini-split system can offer you more comfort. Mini-split systems have no ducts to install; they typically hang on the wall directly in the room. They’re more expensive upfront but provide plenty of benefits in the long run. I suggest you discuss the options with an HVAC contractor and create an action plan.

Ideally, the best location for the thermostat is in the same room with and near the return air register. It should not be placed behind a door, and furniture should never be placed to block the thermostat. Do programmable thermostats save energy? Dr. Allison Bailes explains more in this article.

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