Is your air conditioning unit working correctly?

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We have been experiencing extreme and dangerous heat across Alabama. It is very important to make sure your air conditioning unit is fully functional. If it’s not, it could be costing you extra money as well as making you suffer a bit more during this heat.

Kerry Adkins with OnTime Service says one of the biggest culprits keeping your unit from running correctly is dirty filters.

“If you haven’t checked your air filter in a while, now is a good time to check it," said Adkins. “If it is dirty at all, go ahead and put another one in there.”

You should be changing your filters out at least every three months. Now, if you have pets in your home, you may need to change them more often.

It’s also important to make sure the area around the unit is nice and clean. Weeds can grow up around your unit and this can cause some major problems for you.

“The outdoor unit really needs good air flow around it to breathe and operate efficiently,” explained Adkins. "The other thing that happens a lot this time of year is thunderstorms roll through here."

If lightning strikes your unit, that can flip the breaker. If this happens, you should be able to get it back running by flipping the breaker off and then back on.

Adkins said another thing they see a lot this time of year is drains getting clogged up. He said algae can get down in the drain and clog it up. This will also make the unit shut off.

Adkins says it is important to have a professional service come out to your home twice a year to inspect everything as well as service the unit.

“We recommend twice a year by a reputable company that comes in and does all the maintenance the way it should be done so it is functioning as close as possible to factory specifications,” said Adkins. “On average, a unit will lose about 5% of efficiency for every year it is not serviced. So, if you haven’t had it serviced in four years, it’s only operating at about 80%, probably.”

He said most systems in Alabama are designed to give you at least a 20 degree difference in air temperature outside and inside your home.

“If it’s 90 outside and your air conditioner is just running, running, running, running, and it’s still 77 degrees inside, you have an issue that you need to check,” said Adkins. “So, if you are not getting at least 20%, and newer houses can do even better than that because of insulation, then you have an issue somewhere.”

As soon as you notice any problems with your unit, it is important to call the professionals right away. Adkins said some problems start off small and if you get it fixed, the problem will stay small. But, if you keep pushing it off, the problem will only grow bigger and in turn cost you more money down the road.

Read the original version of this article at wbrc.com.