Maintaining A/Cs during extreme heat


You have to pity your A/C system; many of them are working so hard they just can not keep up, but chances are those air conditioners do not need a pricey repair.

Susan Givens has a common complaint about her A/C system.

"When I got home in the evening it was just very warm in the kitchen and my husband goes, 'Yeah, I think it is running overtime; it just runs 24/7,'" she said.

So Givens called in a repairman. Tom Johnson with Fondren Heating and A/C says a lot of homeowners are finding their air conditioners cannot get their homes cool enough. But it turns out those systems are not broken.

"If it is 100 degrees-plus outside, it might not be unusual to be able to get 77, 78 degrees in a house, but if you are getting 75, that's kind of a rare thing," he said.

The reason lies with your A/C's design.

"The design for an air conditioner system in Houston is 95 degrees outside with a 75 degrees on the inside, so once we get outside those designs the temperature will creep up in side the house," Johnson said.

Johnson says if your A/C seems to be struggling you can wash off the coils using a water hose.

"You are going to aim the hose up where it will go in these fins and you can wash this out," he said.

Before you clean, be sure the A/C is off. Clean coils can bump your inside temperature down a couple of degrees. You can also close vents in rooms you do not use, but do not close off more than two rooms because the system needs adequate air flow.

And do not turn off your A/C when you leave your home for the day; instead just increase the temperature a few degrees.

"You're probable going to be lucky to have 85 by 10 o'clock at night," Johnson said.

And be sure to change your A/C filter. You are supposed to do that every three months, not changing the filter causes your system to work even harder to keep you cool.

You should clean the outside coils once a year. And just as a reminder, if you clean the coils, turn off the power first. It should take about 20 minutes to really clean the system well.

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