High temps mean high electric bills, AC problems


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With temperatures reaching near 100 degrees, the last thing residents want is a high electric bill or a broken air conditioning unit.

While the sun is shining, AC technicians are working over time.

"It's not surprising in winter time to get off around lunch time. That doesn't happen during the summer time," said Jason Griffin, Weather Engineers service technician.

During the summer, AC parts fail more often from being overworked.

"It's insanity when it's 99 degrees like it is today. We're very busy," said Danny Towers, vice president of operations for Weather Engineers. "Our technicians work very hard. We have a lot of service calls, and then we have a lot of customers we have to replace their air conditioners on short notice."

There are several things residents can do but may not think of to prevent having a call to a company like Weather Engineers. Technicians say the golden rule is maintenance.

"It's no different than your car," Towers said. "You have to change the oil in your car, and an air conditioning system needs to be maintained. You need to make sure you're cleaning the coils, the outside coils and the indoor coils."

Choosing the right filter for an air conditioning unit can dramatically affect a monthly electric bill.

"Everybody's worried about their allergies and their health, and they buy these filters that are really thick and they restrict the air flow," Towers said. "Although they're a great filter for picking up the fine particulate, they block up relatively quickly."

Towers recommends cleaning and servicing the AC unit twice a year. Also, keep the shrubs and growth around the outside unit cut down.

"Some other things you can do is programmable thermostats," he said. "When you're not home, raise the temperature so you're not cooling the house."

JEA and Florida Power and Light Company also both have rebate programs for commercial and residential customers looking to replace their AC units. To find that information, go to JEA.com or FPL.com.