Heat wave puts strain on air conditioners

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With temperatures reaching 101 degrees, air conditioners are being strained to the breaking point- and it's keeping repair companies busy. In fact, many are struggling to keep up.

In this heat, a broken air conditioner can be heartbreaking. Just ask angel Greene- her system went down for ten days earlier this month.

"You can't sleep, you don't want to cook because that makes it hotter," said Greene, who was picnicking with her family at Byrd Park. "You're sticky, you're sweaty- it's gross."

Those are the conditions that keep companies like Williams and Fogg in business- and right now, business is booming.

"Week before last, I worked about 21 days straight, and it just about killed me, really," said David Fogg, a service technician with the company.

To meet the increased demand, the Richmond-based company has hired extra help- a rarity in this economy.

Fogg says there are things customers can do to help keep their air running smoothly. One of the most basic things you can do on your own to troubleshoot is to check your return filters often. You can usually tell just by looking at them whether they need to be changed.

"Just a small thing like that- you can go to Lowe's and get a pack of filters pretty cheap," said Fogg.

You should also know what type of system you have, and a few basic things about it. With a heat pump, you should see condensation on your outdoor refrigerant lines while the unit is running.

"You can stand over the top of the unit and see if you got a good amount of air gushing out of the top," Fogg explained. "It should be good hot air coming out- that's pulling the heat out of your air."

The more you know about your system, the easier it will be for a repairman to narrow down the problem.

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