A/C unit checkups can save you cash in long run

July 2, 2013 8:21:07 PM PDT
With recent record breaking temperatures, air conditioners are working overtime. If your system isn't properly maintained, you could be throwing hundreds out the window this summer.

If that A/C system is not running 100 percent, it could lead to higher utility bills. But there's good news for some homeowners because one energy company is offering a free inspection to detect leaks to save you money.

Energy consultant Arcadio Padilla uses an inferred camera to detect temperature variations near A/C units. It's all a part of Reliant Energy's free home energy checkup.

Padilla tells us the camera can pinpoint leaks in the duct work.

"If it's leaking air, and influencing the temperature that's being delivered, that could potentially be raising your energy consumption," he said.

Padilla says addressing these leaks now could lead to big savings.

"Having any issues with duct work addressed, absolutely can save you 5 to 10 percent on your summertime usage," Padilla said.

Experts say if you don't have your system maintained regularly, it could lead to more costly problems down the road.

"To replace a whole air conditioning system, you can typically run anywhere from I'd say $7,000 to $15,000," said Matthew Duhon with Weeks Service Company.

Duhon says staying on top of the maintenance for these units will prolong the life of your system.

"So what we're doing here is actually using an electronic leak detector," Duhon said.

A freon leak was detected on this unit. If not addressed, Duhon says it could damage the compressor over time, leading to expensive repairs and replacements. Besides freon leaks, a professional can detect other issues, like electrical and bad bearings. Something the average homeowner cannot.

"You want to run without a breakdown, especially in the summertime," Duhon said. "Unfortunately, air conditioners don't break down in the winter time."

To get that free home energy checkup, you need to be a reliant customer. Also, expect to pay an average of $100 or so to get your A/C unit checked out and tuned up. It's a small investment to avoid paying thousands down the road.

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