Heat wave keeps AC repair crews busy: ‘Each one of them is different’

RICHMOND, Va. -- On the hottest day so far this summer, crews with James River Air Conditioning were working around the clock.

Sunday hit 100 degrees in Richmond, which was the hottest temperature since July 22, 2017, and calls for broken air conditioners have been pouring in non-stop. Companies like James River Air Conditioning can receive hundreds of calls in one day and nearly 800 calls for service in a week.

"We try to strategically place our technicians in different locations and run them in that area," James River Air Conditioning Residential Service Operations Manager Tom Pugh said.

While servicing one home in Mechanicsville Sunday, crews quickly fixed a problem with the home's AC.

"The problem is the capacitor has broken down...He’s (technician) grabbing one now off the truck. It probably will tale 10-15 minutes," Pugh said. "We should have this thing up and running."

However, of course not every broken AC unit can be fixed as quickly.

"It’s like a box of chocolates. Each one of them is different," Pugh laughed.

Experts suggest the following tips to keep your air conditioner running smoothly. Some of the following tips are from the Carrier:

  • Change your air filters regularly.
  • Be sure to avoid blocking floor, wall or ceiling vents.
  • Make sure your outside condensing unit isn’t covered or clogged with leaves or debris.
  • Check to make sure the drainage system isn’t clogged.
  • Don’t run your system in cooling mode when outdoor temperatures are lower than 55°.
  • Consider sealing or insulating your ducts.
  • Make sure the vegetation is kept away from the outdoor unit.
  • Make sure your outdoor unit is clean.

Here are some Summer Energy Saving Tips from Dominion Energy:

  • Raise your thermostat to 78º. If you will be away from home for more than eight hours, raise the thermostat setting a bit more and you can save for each degree of setback, reducing the amount of energy used to cool your home while you're away. Learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
  • Keep shades closed when the air conditioner is on. Sunny windows add heat to your home and can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.
  • Check and clean filters. Cleaning and replacing air conditioning filters monthly allows the system to run more efficiently.
  • Clear attic vents. If the home has an attic fan, make sure it is functioning properly.
  • Install ceiling fans and make sure they are blowing down. Don't underestimate the importance of ceiling fans. Moving air over the body provides a cooling effect. Most fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing downward (in a counter-clockwise direction) to send air past your body.
  • Wash dishes and clothes in the early morning or late evening. By doing these chores during cooler times of the day, you will reduce the heat and humidity in the home. These appliances also produce additional heat, causing your air conditioner to work harder.
  • Unplug equipment not in use. Electric chargers, televisions and audio/video equipment use electricity and produce heat even when they are not in use. Unplug any appliance when it's not in use.
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