Is your AC ready for another Houston summer?

May 5, 2010 4:00:41 PM PDT
It's getting hot, but the dog days of summer are still a few weeks away. To make it through another heat wave, you need to keep that air conditioner running. That's a very good reason for an AC system spring cleaning. It can keep your power bill down and save you money over the long run.

Your air conditioner is about to start running like crazy. Houston's hot weather sends everyone's system into overdrive.

"A lot of people don't know that the average air conditioner in Houston, Texas, because of the humidity and the hot weather, runs somewhere around 2,500 to 2,700 hours a year," said indoor comfort specialist Frank Whitehurst.

That's more than 100 days of continuous use, reason enough to make sure the system is running well before you really need it.

You may know you should change the inside filters every 30 days, but homeowners can also use a water hose to keep the coils clean on their outside AC unit.

"You would want to kill the power to it first and then just wash the coil out and if you have grass in the coil or dirt around there, it's kind of a problem," said Tom Johnson with Fondren AC.

AC repairmen say once a year, you should gently spray water into the coils to keep the system free of debris. Beyond that, a technician can make sure your system has enough Freon to keep it running smoothly. Having someone look at your AC system now can save you money in a couple of ways.

"When you have a dirty coil, it brings up the amp draw as far as the compressor when it comes on and your bill will also go up," said indoor comfort specialist Richard Luna.

AC repairmen say an annual cleaning keeps systems from developing bigger problems when it gets really hot.

"If you go ahead and take care of things now, you are a step ahead of the game and you are not going to wear out your unit because if you are low on Freon, that is really not a the best thing for an air conditioner," said Johnson.

The thing everyone wants to know is how much does this cost? A spring cleaning call should cost between $85 and $100.


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