Your air conditioner may not be broken, it may only need maintenance

Lawton_Monday was the hottest day of the year in Lawton, reaching a temperature of 108 degrees - and, the forecasts predict more of the same.  It's also a banner season for the air conditioning business.  Pippin Brothers in Lawton says it's working overtime lately since more and more people have been calling to complain that their air conditioners are broken.  However, when a maintenance tech arrives, they find that the air conditioner isn't broken at all. Instead, it hasn't been properly maintained.

Chief Executive Officer of Pippin Brothers Heat and Air, Mark Pippin, says that the number one complaint is that a unit seems to be improperly cooling a home.  However, he says the problem is not always with the air conditioner itself.  The first step in troubleshooting a problem with your air conditioner:  "Make sure your filter is clean," says Pippin.

Pippin says it's easy to check your filter yourself.  He recommends that air filters be changed monthly - sometimes more.  "If you've got cats and dogs, more than that," he says.  "That air circulating like that collects more dander."  He says you could run up some hefty bills if you don't change them regularly.  "It can increase your utility bills by 50-70% in one month - sometimes double."

Pippin says that it also helps to keep your air ducts and vents clean.  The dirtier they are, the harder your unit has to work - and, if it breaks, it may be a while before you cool off, because his technicians have been handling so many calls, they're about a day and a half behind on their response time.

Pippin also warns of the dangers of not having proper air conditioning.  Without central air or a window unit, extreme heat can be dangerous for the elderly and young children.  "When we get in the attics, they're about 150 degrees," he says.  "You can imagine how that heat can come down, without air circulation.  There's hardly any wind blowing today.  It can get to 120 degrees easily."

He says the average life span of an air unit once was 17 years, but the newer models now only last about 13.  Just as with any large appliance, air conditioning units come in different sizes and prices.  They can range in cost anywhere from $5,000-$12,000.