BEATING the heat with A/C repairs

Thursday, July 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

This is the busiest time of the year for air conditioner repairmen, but most say its worth your time and money to have your unit serviced.

KOTV's Sean Mossman has some tips on how you can keep your air conditioner on the job. Most air conditioner units get quite a workout. The key is standard upkeep and maintenance. If everything fails and your unit crashes, there are some quick checks you can make yourself before calling a serviceman. "What I'm running into now is equipment that is undersized, because we're reaching extreme temperatures." Hot summer days are the busiest time of year for air conditioner repairman Phil Bell. He'll make eight to ten service calls every day. Most are complaints that the unit runs all the time and won't get the house cool enough. If that's the problem, Bell says the first check should be the air filter. "When it's running for a long time and it doesn't really appear to be working very good, that's the first thing you go for is the filter."

Bell says your air conditioner filter should be changed every two months. Another quick check is the unit’s coils. Run water through and over the coils to make sure they're free from dirt buildup and cottonwood seeds. If the unit shuts off completely, check the fuses and breaker box for potential electrical problems. If none of those tips work, call a professional repairman. There could be a slow freon gas leak. Only a licensed professional can replace freon, it cost about $10 per pound. A standard service call runs about $60. The total bill on Phil Bell's job in Catoosa is just less than a hundred. "It's gonna save you four or five times that." Those savings show up on your energy bill. A clean running unit will typically save about $300 through the spring, summer and fall.

Here are some other tips to save on summer cooling costs. Check your insulation. A home should have at least 11 inches of insulation in the attic. Run the thermostat at higher temperatures when no one is home. And check weather stripping, losing cool air in the house will cause your unit to run longer.