Financial help for repairing your AC unit

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It can be a life or death situation if your air conditioner goes out in this heat, but fixing it can be a huge expense.

However, some Valley residents might qualify for free repairs through a special program.

It’s called the Emergency Home Repair Program.

"It's a really, really good program for people who can't afford to fix problems when they come up,” said Don Bassett, who manages the Glendale program.

He said that on average the program helps 170 to 180 families.

The city uses federal funding to help residents with anything from air conditioner and heater repairs to plumbing.

"If the repairs do go over $1,000, the city of Glendale will put a lien on the property for five years. Every year, 20 percent of that is gifted back to them so at the end of five years, it's completely wiped away," Bassett explained.

He said that keeps people from selling the home for a profit after the repairs are done.

"It's pretty much a life-saving program for a lot of these people," Bassett added.

Glendale isn't the only city with this program.

"A lot of families are surprised. They're not aware of some of the programs the city offers, so they're very grateful when they found out,” said Chris Jacques with the city of Peoria.

The city of Peoria said the program helps about 40 families each year on average, and repairs are up to a lifetime maximum of $20,000 for each family.

"(It’s an) important program where we are able to address a whole host of emergency needs and we're able to address them quickly," Jacques said.

Low- to moderate-income residents qualify for the program.

Helen Gehring has qualified for Glendale's program after struggling with her air conditioning unit for more than three years.

"It doesn't cool the house down,” she said. "It doesn't even come on until it hits about 85."

Gehring uses a fan to try to keep cool but said it's not the same.

"It had gone up to 95 in there. I was dying,” she said.

Last year alone, she said she spent more than $1,000 in repairs.

She was surprised she qualified for the Emergency Home Repair Program, which will also help her fix her roof and water heater.

It’s a real Godsend,” she said.

There are several ways to qualify and requirements aren’t the same in each city.

For more information, visit the city of Glendale and city of Peoria websites.

Many other cities in Arizona offer the program. Phoenix currently has a wait list.