Keeping your AC running cool

June 27, 2012 3:55:03 PM PDT
The heat wave is not a welcome sight for your air conditioner, which has been working overtime trying to keep your home cool. It's no surprise, then, that many AC units are failing right now, and if you are not careful, it could happen to you.

You can do a few things now to keep the AC unit running at peak performance. But if something should happen, it does not necessarily mean an expensive repair.

Your air conditioner is working hard to keep you cool, so experts suggest putting in a little work yourself to keep that cold air flowing.

Tom Johnson with Fondren AC said, "It is just a matter of washing it off. You want to be gentle, but it is just wash it down and get the dirt off the coil."

Johnson says using a water hose to wash off the AC coils when the AC is turned off is a good way to keep your machine in good shape. Inside your home, Johnson also says it is very important to keep the return air vents clear. If they are even partially blocked it makes the AC unit work harder than it has to.

"Typically what it is, is a door that opens from a hallway that opens up right on the return air grill," Johnson explained.

Johnson says when it comes to repairs most AC problems right now do not require thousands of dollars to fix.

"Capacitors seem to blow out a lot when it is hot," he said. "Monday I probably changed out four or five of them."

A blown capacitor can be replaced for less than $400. Also, if you have an electronic thermostat and it is not working, Johnson says the solution may be a as simple as changing the batteries.

If your AC does go out and a repairman says you need to spend thousands to fix it, the best advice is to suffer through a day or two of heat and get a second opinion.

Monica Russo with the Houston Better Business Bureau advised, "I know that consumers want to get the problems fixed right away, but you may want to get several estimates so you do not get burned down the road."

Last year the BBB got 90,000 inquires in Houston regarding AC repair. You can search the agency's website for reviews before hiring someone.


Load Comments