Keep cool! Tips to make sure your A/C is in good shape

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- It's going to be 108 this weekend! And that means it's time to make sure your air conditioning unit is in top shape. But what do you need to look for? And when is it time to replace rather than repair?

A/C expert Mike Donley of Donley Air Conditioning say the first thing on your to-do list should be to simply turn it on. "I'd turn it on today and let it run," he advises. "Let's find out if it's working or not."

Listening closely can help you determine whether the unit is running properly.  "Your ears are probably your best source for figuring out if there's something wrong," says Donley.

The next tip is to change your filter. "Wash it, clean it, change it, let your unit run," instructs Donley. "if it's making a racket, that's a warning sign."

If something doesn't sound right, you should  call a repair company. You can find reputable ones on the Better Business Bureau website.

And when someone arrives to make repairs, pay attention. "First of all, get involved in the repair. Go out to the unit with him," Donley says.

If you're wondering whether to repair or replace, get estimates for both. A good guideline to replace is age. "Especially if the unit is ten years old or older, then you can make a decision on your budget, lifestyle and comfort."

But act fast. If you find out today that your unit needs some work, you may be in for a few hot days.
"Most of the good companies are already busy," Donley warns. "So if you call today to get someone out before the end of the week, it's going to be very difficult."

So here are some guidelines. Donley says repair the unit if the problem is small and easy to fix, or if the unit isn't old and you can get several more years out of it.  It's time to replace it if the unit is older than ten years, has a major part failure, or isn't cooling your home the way it should.