Air conditioners tested in Valley heat

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The Valley of the Sun is embarking on the longest triple-digit heat wave so far for 2014, and air conditioner repair companies are in high demand by homeowners with down systems.

"Refrigerant leaks, or motors that will want to fail that can't quite handle the first high temperatures," said Mike Hawks of Parker & Sons HVAC in Phoenix.

Friday morning, Hawks paid a visit to Tempe homeowner Margaret Chase.

"It's pretty hot in here, and the air conditioner is not working," said Chase.

She was one of dozens around the Valley who called for help after finding her lifeline in the desert heat wouldn't answer.

"Air conditioning really lets people get on with their lives, do business, stay happy," said Chase.

But many homeowners aren't so happy once they find out a repair bill costing upwards of $400 could have been avoided.

"The No. 1 thing a homeowner can do to make sure their air conditioner works well is change the filter on a regular basis. If the unit doesn't breathe very well, it just doesn't work very well," said Hawks.

Also, Hawks advises to clear any brush or debris from around the actual air conditioner unit so it doesn’t overheat.

Don’t turn off the air conditioner while you’re at work. Hawks says the optimal setting is 85 degrees. This would help with efficiency without overtaxing the system.

Finally, for around 70 bucks a visit, schedule a system tune-up twice a year to catch the little problems before they turn into big ones.

"All the electrical components of the unit, making sure the refrigerant levels are where they are supposed to be, also looking at things that are sometimes hard to catch, like airflow problems,” said Hawks.