Simple steps to keep your AC running this summer

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The current heat wave is over-working many air conditioning units and the people who repair them.

Allen Kelly & Company crews said Friday that this is a very busy time of year for them.

“I think we’re just starting to get into the rougher stuff now. We kind of had a mild June for North Carolina standards,” repairman Tim Galletta said. “It’s gonna get worse, absolutely.”

Before you burn up or get billed a bunch for a fix, there are some simple steps to take to maximize your air conditioner’s efficiency.

Galletta described many of the calls he’s responded to as “senseless” and due to people failing to change their air filters. He said it is important to check filters once a month and change them fairly frequently.

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“If your filter gets dirty and there’s no air getting back to the equipment, it turns that coil into a block of ice. While that’s a block of ice, you’re not going to feel any air blowing out because it can’t pull any air back in,” he said.

“Some people think that the system isn’t working, but it’s really working, but the air just can’t get past that big block of ice.”

The ice will need to melt before full function can resume, but it is important to defrost gradually rather than all at once. Galletta said drains sometimes can’t handle all of the water with too much melting at once, which can lead to flooded attics or other areas.

Knocking the ice off can damage coils or other components.

Overworking a unit can also require replacement instead of a repair.

“If you drop it too low in this hotter temperature, it may never get to that low temperature. This time of year, in this temperature, your system’s gonna run a long time. There’s no sense of overworking it by setting it to a temperature that it’s not gonna hit,” Galletta said.

Robbin Crabtree said Allen Kelly crews are getting to calls as quickly as they can, but some spots mandate immediate responses. Repair requests from childcare centers will receive a priority response.

“They can’t operate when the temperature gets… I think 85 is kind of their cut off limit, and once it gets above 85 in there, they start calling parents and sending children home,” Crabtree said.

“Nursing homes, daycare centers, some other healthcare facilities, because life and death. We have to take care of those folks.”

Another common cause of air conditioning failure is ants getting into the unit and interfering with the electrical panel. Galletta said keeping units clear of bugs, leaves, and other debris will help keep them keeping you cool.

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