white flowers

We all know Indiana winters are unpredictable, but it can be pretty difficult to stay warm when temperatures drop unexpectedly. If you find yourself cranking up the heat, consider some of our budget-friendly solutions. These tricks will help keep your home warm during any cold spell.

 

1. Replace your dirty air filters.

A dirty air filter may not cause you any problems when the weather is mild, but it’s definitely something to check in winter. If we’ve got cold or freezing temperatures outside, your filter could very well be your biggest roadblock to a toasty home. Before you blame your furnace for the lack of heat, be sure to take a quick look at your filters.

Dirty filters restrict air flow and make it harder for your furnace to keep up without using loads of energy; and if your filters are old and dirty, there’s a good chance your furnace won’t be able to raise your temperature at all. Changing your filters regularly, and making sure to check them in the colder months is definitely a smart way to help your furnace run efficiently.

2. Check your attic insulation.

Proper insulation saves energy and makes your home resistant to heat loss by creating a barrier between your warm home and the cold outdoors. One easy way to see if your home is losing heat is to compare the amount of snow left on your roof to your neighbor’s. If your snow is melting fast, you’ve probably got poor insulation. Even if your furnace is working fine and your thermostat is set to high heat, you might still feel cold because all the heat is escaping to uninsulated areas. Warm air rises and escapes to your attic space if it’s not insulated—meaning your furnace is heating your roof instead of the rest of your home!

Check your attic space in winter to make sure you’re not losing heat to poor insulation. The U.S. Department of Energy has a few tips for insulation, but a good rule of thumb is to make sure your attic’s insulation is at least 12 inches thick. One of the most effective ways to insulate your home is to make sure your attic access door is insulated—plus it’s a really cost-effective fix!

3. Keep your thermostat at one temperature.

This low-tech solution is kind of counterintuitive, but it’s our best advice for battling freezing or below-freezing temperatures outside. In milder months, a lot of homeowners like to lower their thermostat temperature at night to save on energy. When we’ve got really cold, or even record breaking cold weather though, it’s hard for your furnace to make up even a 5 degree difference from nighttime to daytime.

Rather than get stuck with a cooler temp in the day, we suggest leaving your thermostat on a set temperature in winter that’s comfortable for both day and night. If you have a programmable thermostat, try using the “hold” function for your ideal temp. This is a great feature that helps your home stay warm 24/7 without any temperature fluctuations or thermostat checks. A programmable thermostat even helps you control energy costs, and can cut your heating costs by 35%.

 

If your home is still extra-chilly in the winter months, you can always call on your local HVAC company to help you solve the problem. A specialist can help you review your home’s current setup and make sure all your heating components are working at their best levels.

And if for some reason your furnace actually quits on you in winter, please call your local HVAC specialist right away! It doesn’t take long for your home’s temperature to drop drastically low if your furnace stops working, so be sure to put in a call ASAP. There might be a lot of other homes without heat too, so you’ll want to get on the technician’s list early so your home can go back to being cozy and warm.

woman sitting on the couch

The last thing on anyone's mind right now is HVAC.  It's too warm to need the furnace and too cool to need the air conditioner.  We do live in Indiana though so that can change in just 24 hours!  We want to provide some tips for things you can do on your own to keep your furnace and air conditioner running at its best.  We present the LCS Top Ten of Homeowner DIY HVAC Tips:

10.  During cold or hot months, keep the programmable thermostat set within 3 degrees of each setting.  A furnace and air conditioner will have to run for a very long time to make up the temperature difference.  If you have an electric furnace

and heat pump, the electric furnace will come on as well to reach the set temperature.  Since an electric furnace runs at a higher cost, it counters the savings that you might have had with the lower initial temperature.

9.    Keep the weed eater and lawn mower away from the control wiring of the air conditioner.  The wiring should not be hanging down but if it is, be careful when mowing and weed eating.  It's not a high voltage wire but if it gets cut with a weed eater or mower, you can get shocked and it can take out the air conditioner.  If the wiring is loose or hanging down, tie it up with electrical tape or have a technician tie it back when they're out doing annual maintenance. 

8.    If you are experiencing high utility bills, call the gas or electric company first.  Ask the utility company if there's been an increase in the therm or electric rate.  Ask if your bill compares to the average of others in your neighborhood.  You can get great information about what your utility bill should be running.  If there isn't a good reason for the higher bill, then it might be time to have a technician out to make sure the system is operating properly.

7.    Move furniture away from registers.  It's not uncommon to see a couch over a register or a bookcase pushed up against a register.  Not only can the heat dry out your furniture but it also prevents the air from properly traveling throughout the rooms.

6.    Keep registers open.  A very common problem in two story homes is a temperature swing between the upstairs and downstairs.  Homeowners try to fix this problem by closing registers upstairs or in some rooms.  Keep the registers open.  Closing registers can restrict air flow and cause the furnace to run hot.  This can ultimately shorten the life of parts inside the furnace such as motors.  It can also make the air conditioner freeze up by reducing the volume of air that the system needs to expel throughout the house.  This is comparable to running the system with a dirty filter.

5.    If you notice a noise, smell or problem, call on it right away.  If you notice something unusual, don't ignore it.  It's rare that an HVAC issue will go away or resolve itself.  Noises and smells often mean that a part is getting weak or going out.  A little critter could also have gotten inside. Address these issues before your furnace or air conditioner goes completely out.  It's no fun being without heat on a cold day or without a/c when it's hot out!

4.    Keep dogs away from the air conditioner.  Animal urine will degrade the a/c fins.  There's not much that can be done to fix the fins once this happens so it's best to make sure the fur babies stay away.

3.    Replace the batteries in the thermostat.  If the thermostat goes blank, check to see if there are batteries that need changed.  Not all thermostats have batteries, but if it does, it's likely AA or AAA batteries that need changed.

2.    Pick up leaves that are around the air conditioner or heat pump.  Leaves, cottonwood, branches, etc can gather around the air conditioner.  Keep these things cleaned away so the outdoor unit can breathe.

1.    CHANGE THE FILTER!  This is the number one thing to do to keep your furnace and air conditioner running efficiently!  A dirty filter causes restricted air flow and can ultimately cause the system to stop working.  If you have a 1" filter, check it once a month.  If you have a 4-5" filter, check it every 3 months.  It may not need to be changed at that time but it's good to check it to make sure.  It's also a good idea to keep extra filters at the house.  That way, you always have one on hand when it's time for it to be changed.  

A couple of other tips are to caulk or re-caulk around windows and doors.  It's also a great idea to check the insulation in your home.  If you don't have at least 12-15" of insulation in the attic, you'll want to consider adding more!

Keeping up on these things can not only save you money but can save you from the inconvenience of being without heating or cooling during those hot and cold months.  HVAC equipment is definitely an investment.  Protect your investment by following our Top Ten tips!

house covered in snow

Compared to some Indiana winters, we've been pretty lucky this year! Winter is still winter though and we're right in the middle of it. With a couple of cold months still left, the question should be asked: How's your home holding up? We'd like to share some customer HVAC questions we've had over the past month as well as provide some tips to protect your home against the harsh winter days.

Q: My furnace is running but it's not keeping the temperature that I have it set at.
A: Have you checked your filter? A dirty filter restricts air flow and can affect the operation of the furnace. During milder outdoor temperatures, a filter that's a little dirty may not affect anything at all. During colder outdoor temperatures, the same filter can cause the furnace to have to work harder and fall behind. Filters may have to be changed more often than usual during extreme outdoor temperatures.

Q: I usually keep my whole house humidifier set at 40% but I've recently noticed that my windows are sweating.
A: When outdoor temperatures get really cold, you may have to turn your humidifier down. Once the outdoor temperatures warm back up a little, you can turn it back to it's normal setting. When there's too much of a humidity difference between the outdoors and indoors, you may notice some sweating. It's a common misconception that the colder it is, the higher the humidifier should be turned up. The opposite is actually true. In addition, houses differ in how insulated they are (amount of insulation, leaky windows and doors, etc). Therefore, one house may notice window sweating at 30% and another at 40%. Adjust the humidistat up or down accordingly.

Q: Why is there ice on my heat pump?
A: There's not a cut and dry answer for this. A heat pump has a defrost cycle that it goes through to melt the ice under normal circumstances. If ice is there at one time and gone the next time you look, then it is likely operating normally and has gone through the defrost cycle. If you see ice for days on end, there's possibly a problem. It could be a number of things. Turn the heat pump off by taking the thermostat to emergency heat. That will help thaw the ice so it can be properly diagnosed.

Q: My electric bills are outrageous!
A: If you are all electric, our first question will always be: do you have a heat pump or air conditioner? An electric furnace running by itself to heat your home is very inefficient and expensive. If you have an air conditioner with electric furnace, it's worth considering replacing the air conditioner with a heat pump. If you do have a heat pump and still have unusually high electric bills, there could be a problem with the heat pump or furnace. The heat pump could be under-charged, it could not be going into defrost mode, a bank of heat in the electric furnace could be stuck on, etc. It would be worth having your equipment looked at if you feel like your utility bills are high.

Here are ten other tips that we have to prep your home for colder days to come:

*Have your furnace cleaned and tuned-up
*Test sump pump
*Caulk around windows and doors
*Remove hoses from outdoor spigots
*Check insulation in attic. It should be a minimum of 12 inches
*Check door thresholds for gaps
*Plug in carbon monoxide detectors if you have gas appliances (stove, furnace, water heater, etc)
*Reverse ceiling fans
*Have your fireplace, chimney and vents inspected to make sure all is in good condition
*Clean gutters

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any additional questions. Stay warm and cozy!

3 dogs and 2 cats

There's a common passion among all of us at LCS Heating and Cooling.  Well, in addition to home comfort and the mechanics of HVAC that is! The common passion is animals.  We love dogs, we love cats, one of our techs even has a rabbit! We're just animal people.  It never surprises me to get a random picture throughout the day of a dog or cat.  It's usually a customer's pet that Travis takes a picture of and says- check this little one out! katy aloneOne of our installers even sent a picture of a customer's pet turtle that hung out in the backyard with them while they changed the heat pump.  So, where are we going with this?

IMAG0146We were all talking a few weeks ago about wanting to have some "community projects." We're excited to tell you about our first one!  One of our customers is Freeland Animal Hospital (www.freelandanimalhospital.com). They are located at Pendleton Pike and Sunnyside in Indianapolis. They are fantastic people and care so well for their furry clients!  Each year, they have an Angel Tree in which they accept donations of dog and cat food, treats and supplies. All donations then go to a local rescue.  This year the local rescue is PAWS (http://www.pawshancock.org), located in Greenfield.

Now through the end of the year, LCS Heating and Cooling, LLC has the following "Promotion" going on:

**For each new customer that signs up for Annual Maintenance (our Energy Savings Plan), we will donate a bag of dog or cat treats. Here's the link for more information about our Energy Savings Plan for your HVAC equipment:  https://lcstempsite.dreamhosters.com/esp.html

**For each new furnace install, we will donate a 5lb bag of dog or cat food.

**For each new full system install (furnace & air conditioner), we will donate a 15lb bag of dog or cat food.

Will it be dog or cat food?  The choice is yours!!

We are so excited to help a local rescue that helps so many dogs and cats each year. Who do you know that's thinking about having some HVAC work done?  We greatly appreciate your referrals and personal business.  The animals will too!

 

LCS Heating & Cooling van

In an ideal world, furnaces and air conditioners would only need service during regular business hours of 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday.  That's not reality though!  Customers will often say things like "I'm having people over for the holiday and my furnace just quit working" or "of course this couldn't have happened during the day" or "it was working fine yesterday!"  HVAC can be unpredictable which is why Emergency Service or After Hours Service is available.

We want to provide a little information on our after hours service and some changes that have taken place within LCS.  We have a story for you:

Many of you have either met or spoken to Travis or Renee, the owners of LCS Heating and Cooling.  For over eight years, Travis and Renee took all of the incoming calls. With the continued growth of LCS, they were finding that they couldn't keep up on the calls.  People were getting frustrated for a few reasons:  1. They were getting voicemail when they called  2. Their calls were not getting returned fast enough  3. They felt that their HVAC needs/projects/jobs weren't important.  4. Travis' phone ringing while he was meeting with customers made the customer feel like he wasn't focused.

Obviously, this was a problem!  Travis and Renee felt that their inability to keep up with the phone calls was affecting the high level of customer service that they wanted to offer.  The solution:

In July of 2013, they hired an office manager.  Chasity is a great asset to the LCS team!  Phone calls that are coming in during the day are answered, phone calls are returned and follow-up calls are made in a timely manner.  Of course, Travis and Renee are always reachable by phone or email but Chasity handles much of the scheduling now.

The one problem Travis and Renee were still having was answering all of the after hours calls.  These calls were being forwarded directly to Renee's cell phone.  Every night, every weekend and every holiday, Renee and Travis were answering calls.  Their solution to being on the phone so much was to let after hours calls go to voicemail and then returning the calls that were emergency calls in which someone needed service right away.  As it turns out, people don't like leaving a message!  If they needed service at 9:00pm, they didn't want to leave a message about it.  They wanted to talk to someone about getting service!  After receiving some great feedback from customers regarding talking to a real person versus leaving a message, Travis and Renee decided they needed a new solution.  They couldn't handle all of the calls but customers didn't like leaving messages.  The solution:

In February 2014, Travis and Renee hired an answering service.  The answering service simply acts as an extension of LCS Heating and Cooling after regular business hours.  ALL calls are answered and our customers will always have a person to talk to...whether it's midnight, a Sunday or a holiday.  If the call is for immediate service, the information gets sent to the LCS technician on call.  These calls are then handled right away by the technician.  If the customer is calling regarding something other than immediate service, the information is sent to the LCS office and either Chasity or Renee will follow up the next business morning.

Why are we telling you all this?  Because we care about what our customers think and we want our customers to understand the process.  We've had some mixed feedback regarding the answering service.  Most of it has been good as people are happy to have the phone answered no matter when they call.  We've also had some great feedback regarding phone conversations with the answering service themselves.  They are efficient and we are happy with their service.  We have had some feedback in which people are unhappy that it's not Travis or Renee answering the phone or that Travis isn't available to talk at that time.  This has been an adjustment for everyone.  It's hard to make changes when things have been done a certain way for almost nine years.

We promise, these are GOOD changes. Providing the best possible customer service is a priority for us.  We want to thank you for your business, your referrals and an exciting 8.5 years!  We're looking forward to growing our business with you and providing you exceptional service...any time, any day or any night.  If you have any feedback for us, it's always appreciated and can be emailed to Renee through the website:  www.LCSheatingandcooling.com

Tips For Staying Warm in Record Breaking Cold!

It's not often that we experience negative degree weather in Indiana!  This weekend sure has been fun with all the snow and new temperature experiences!  Well, fun unless your furnace goes out!  Here are a few quick tips to make sure that you and your family are warm and cozy inside:

  • Change the filter:  In Indiana, furnaces are made to effectively run down to about 3 degrees outside.  In temperatures below that, you may see that your furnace falls behind a little.  To help the furnace out, make sure there is a clean filter inside.  If the furnace is running on a dirty filter, it will have an even harder time keeping up.
  • Don't change the temperature on the thermostat:  Leave your thermostat at one temperature.  For example, maybe you usually keep the temperature at 70 degrees during the day but 65 degrees at night.  In this weather, it's going to be hard for your furnace to make up that 5 degree difference.  Turn your thermostat to a temperature setting and leave it there.  If you have a programmable thermostat, put a "hold" on the desired temperature so it's not fluctuating.
  • Turn the thermostat to "Emergency Heat":  If you have a heat pump and electric furnace, you'll see "auxiliary" heat show on your thermostat.  This is because heat pumps are inefficient in extremely cold weather so the electric furnace also runs to supplement the heat pump.  With temperatures below zero, the heat pump is not helping at all, so turn the thermostat to "emergency" heat.  This will manually lock out the heat pump.  The electric furnace will run by itself to heat your home.  Just remember to turn the thermostat back to regular heat mode when outdoor temperatures warm up a bit.  You don't want the electric furnace running by itself all of the time because of the cost to run it.
  • Clear snow away from the heat pump:  Clear away any snow drifts from the heat pump.  The snow will restrict air flow and prevent the heat pump from operating properly.  It may also prevent the heat pump from going into defrost mode, meaning the heat pump could ice up.
  • If your furnace does quit, call right away: It will take no time at all for the temperature inside to drastically drop if your furnace happens to quit working.  Call for HVAC help right away!  There are a lot of homes without heat so it may be a few hours before a technician will be at your door anyway.  A delay in calling will only increase that wait time.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding your HVAC equipment!  Keep an eye on our Facebook page as well for other tips and posts.


HVAC Repair or Replace: 5 Considerations

Heating and Air Conditioning is one of those necessary evils.  It's much more fun to spend money on a new TV rather than a new furnace!  At some point though, you may be faced with the ultimate HVAC decision:  Repair or Replace?  Here are a few things to consider when you are faced with this decision:

  • What is the age of your current system?  Most equipment comes with a 10 year manufacturer warranty on parts.  The average life expectancy of a furnace and air conditioner is 12-15 years.  That's not to say that it won't last longer than that...it's just an average.  If the part is under warranty, it's most often going to make more sense to have the repair done.  If the part is not under warranty, then you may want to factor in the age of the equipment with the repair cost.  For example, if you have a $200 repair on a 15 year old furnace, it may certainly make more sense to take your chances and make the repair.  Now, on the flip side of that example, say your furnace is 15 years old and you're looking at a $500 repair.  You could have that repair done and not have another problem for a few years.  You could also make that repair and a few months later, have another part go out.  Before you know it, you have $800 into a 15 year old furnace.  Since there is a risk of other parts failing on older equipment, it may be worth considering replacement.
  • Energy Efficiency:  Your HVAC system uses a considerable amount of energy as compared with other appliances in your home.  If you have an older system, it's very likely that new equipment will be more efficient, resulting in lower utility bills.  Let's use the example of a $500 repair on the a 15 year old furnace.  If you're considering replacement, factor in the savings if you go from an 80% efficient furnace to a 95% efficient furnace.  Think about it in this way:  For every $100 that you spend to heat your home with an 80% furnace, $80 is heating your home and $20 is going out the flue.  For every $100 that you spend to heat your home with a 95% furnace, $95 is being used to heat your home and only $5 is being lost.  Air conditioners and heat pumps also vary in efficiency.  This is definitely something to think about when considering repair versus replacement.
  • Financial Incentives:  Are there financial incentives to upgrade to a new, more efficient HVAC system?  Currently, there is a federal tax credit and various utility rebates available for the installation of high efficient furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps.  The qualifications and dates do change so it's important to see what, if any, are available.
  • Length of Time in Home:  How long are you planning to live in your home?  If you are planning to stay in your home for awhile, you might have different factors to consider than if you are planning to sell in the near future.   If you are thinking about selling, definitely compare costs.  A repair might be the way to go simply because you don't want to spend money in a home that you are selling.  However, replacing the HVAC equipment might be a good investment because it will make the house more appealing to potential buyers.  If you are planning to stay for a while and are looking at a costly repair, it might make more sense to upgrade and get a new 10 year parts warranty.
  • Comfort:  HVAC equipment and technology have come a long way over the past several years!  Furnaces are now available with variable speed motors which are not only more efficient but also produce a more even and comfortable heat in the winter and coolness in the summer.  Programmable and/or WiFi thermostats are designed to reduce temperature swings, provide the ultimate control over your system and save on energy usage when you are not home.  Finally, there's the noise.  Maybe your HVAC equipment is loud because something is out of balance.  That could very well be an easy repair!  If not, consider replacing it with equipment that is quieter.  There are some systems that are so quiet, you cannot hear them run!

Repairing or replacing your furnace and/or air conditioner can be quite an investment.  Think about what's important to you when making the decision!


Furnace FAQ

Heating season is just beginning but the questions about furnaces are rolling in!  We thought it might be helpful to post and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about heating season and equipment.  Here we go!

1. Is it safe to turn my furnace on before maintenance has been completed?  The answer is YES!  A good cleaning and tune-up on the furance is needed to keep it running as efficiently as possible.  However, it's not necessary to have this service done before the furnace is turned on for the first time each year.  It's just important that it's done once a year.  We actually recommend turning the furnace on before it gets too cold outside.  That way, if there is a problem with the furnace and you are without heat, you can get it taken care of before it's really cold.

2. There was an odor when I turned my furnace on the first time.  Is this normal?  Dust will collect and settle in the furnace during the summer months when it is not being used.  When the furnace is fired off the first time, the dust will burn off the heat exchanger.  Some people describe it as a burning smell.  This is normal and will go away after the furnace has cycled a few times.  If an odor continues though, it's best to get it checked out.

3. How often do I need to change my filter?  Is it the same filter that I changed for the air conditioner?  An HVAC system consists of a furnace (either gas or electric) and either an air conditioner or heat pump.  Each system has a filter that needs to be changed regularly.  It's the same filter whether you are using the furnace or air conditioner.  If you have a 1" filter, it's recommended to check the filter once a month and change as needed (usually once a month or once every other month).  If you have a media filter- 4" or 5"- it is recommended to check the filter every 3 months and change as needed.  Changing the filter is very important!!  A dirty filter can restrict air flow enough to make the furnace or air conditioner stop working.

4. I have a heat pump and a furnace.  Do I need to turn the heat pump off and furnace on?  All you need to do is turn your thermostat to Heat.  Your heat pump will turn on in heating mode.  Your heat pump will heat the house until it reaches a certain temperature outside.  This is called a set point and is already set on your heat pump.  For example, if your set point is 32 degrees, than once the outdoor temperature gets that cold, your furnace will automatically turn on.  If you have a gas furnace, your system will automatically switch from using the heat pump to using the gas furnace.  If you have an electric furnace, the furnace will kick on at the same time to help the heat pump maintain the indoor temperature.  This is all done automatically so there's nothing you need to do to make this happen!

5. There seems to be something wrong with my furnace.  What do I do?  There are a couple of things that you can do on your own.  Check your filter.  If the filter is dirty, change the filter, then turn the furnace off and back on.  Also, check the batteries in your thermostat (if applicable).  If the thermostat screen has gone blank, it could just be batteries.  If you still have a problem, then give us a call and we'll be happy to set up an appointment.

If you still have a question about your furnace, please don't hesitate to ask!  We want you to stay warm and comfortable in your home.


Is HVAC a Do-It-Yourself Project?

There are many things around the home that can be done by a homeowner.  We've occasionally been asked about HVAC being a "do-it-yourself" project.  Some questions we've been asked include:

  1. If I provide the furnace/air conditioner/heat pump, will you install it?  If the equipment is used, then no, we will not install it.  Someone might get a furnace from their brother's house or take an air conditioner from their rental home to install on another home or purchase a piece of equipment from Craig's List.  While the used equipment may work just fine, there are some risks to consider.  Was the equipment properly removed?  Is the equipment sized correctly for your space?  Does the equipment work?  How old is it?  If an air conditioner is not removed correctly, parts can be damaged.  The new owner of the air conditioner wouldn't know this until the air conditioner is re-installed.  If it doesn't work, the homeowner will still be responsible to pay for the installation as used equipment does not have a warranty.  Typically, if the equipment provided is new, we will consider installing it.  However, since we (LCS Heating and Cooling) did not purchase the equipment, we will not warranty it. In addition, it would also be the homeowner's responsibility to talk to the manufacturer.  If a repair is needed three years later, the homeowner would again be responsible for the warranty.
  2. If I provide the part, will you make the repair?  We will consider making the repair, but again there is risk involved for the homeowner.  Are you absolutely sure you got the right part?  Did you diagnose the needed repair correctly?  Are you able to return the part if it's not correct ?  Is there a warranty on the part?  As in the example above, if for some reason the part doesn't work or is not the correct part, the homeowner would still be responsible for paying for the installation.  He would also be responsible for any warranty issues that arise.
  3. Should I make a repair or install a water heater/thermostat/humidifier myself?  This is completely up to the homeowner.  These are items that can be purchased at home improvement stores.  A couple of things to consider:  Home improvement stores carry base models of these items.  Contractors purchase these items at supply houses and have accessibility to higher end models and different brands.  Warranties vary as well.  Equipment provided by contractors often has a longer warranty period than what can be purchased at home improvement stores.  Also consider your comfort level and time needed to install one of these items.  The time it may take to install that whole house humidifier may be worth hiring an HVAC company.

When it comes to major repairs or improvements in the home, we are always going to recommend hiring a company to help with those.   Homeowners have peace of mind when equipment or even a part is provided and installed by a licensed and insured HVAC company.  Peace of mind comes from knowing that if something goes wrong, the HVAC company will take care of it.  The homeowner will not have to contact the manufacturer, try to process a warranty, wait to have a part shipped, etc.    HVAC is often an investment.  Our advice is to protect that investment by considering all the factors and risks before making a decision to do it yourself.