Are You An HVAC Boy Scout (or Girl Scout)?

HVAC, air conditioning, indoor comfortIt’s a hot summer day and suddenly, your air conditioner conks out. What do you do?

Indoor Comfort Can Be a Lifesaver

First, if you have any senior citizens, infants or invalids in your household, consider taking them immediately to a cooler location while the air conditioner gets fixed. Heat exhaustion or worse is prevalent when the temperatures climb, and someone who claims to be “okay” may be stressed to dangerous limits. An indoor mall, a movie theater, or even a city cooling center, if available, are all sensible choices when the heat inside your home threatens to match the weather outside.

Know the Costs of HVAC

A new air conditioning system can cost upwards of several thousand dollars. Repairs can range from “no big deal” to significant expenses. Understanding what costs how much and why goes a long way towards preventing “sticker shock” after a worst-case scenario.  A capacitor replacement may be $300, while a fan motor ranges from approximately $600 to above $1,000. Always rely upon a licensed, reputable air conditioning company for installation, repairs and maintenance to avoid expensive problems later.

Understand the Freon Factor

Does your system use Freon, or its generic term, R-22, to keep things cool? Know that the state of California is trying to phase out this substance entirely, as it has been linked to environmental pollution and damage. The end result? R-22 is increasingly expensive as its manufacture is being eliminated. While many existing systems still run on this popular fuel, it is nevertheless soon to be irreplaceable. For that reason, get ready to buy a system that runs on something different in the next few years.

Life Expectancy of Your Air Conditioner

Most HVAC systems last for an average of 12-15 years. That’s comforting for some homeowners and commercial building owners, and a source of alarm for others. How old is your HVAC? Depending on its age and the severity of the problem, it may make more financial sense to buy a new air conditioning system altogether. While the latest in HVAC technology may cost you upwards of $15,000, your air conditioning consultant will have plenty of options from which to choose. In the world of HVAC, bigger isn’t always better and the most expensive choice isn’t always the best. Ask your consultant for advice.

Prevent Problems Before They Happen

If you’re interested in saving the most money possible, it’s important to practice good maintenance habits before your air conditioner breaks down. Stay alert for unusual noises coming from your system. Fans that are about to go out frequently get loud. Is the air from your system increasingly warm? You could simply need more refrigerant. As with so many tools, appliances, and cars, taking time to recognize problems and address them promptly is essential, before they spiral into catastrophic and expensive issues. Regular, annual inspections and filter changes are extremely important to ensure your system runs with maximum efficiency year round.


In the dog days of summer, it’s important to have a game plan ahead of time for HVAC mishaps. Don’t take a chance. Be an HVAC Boy Scout (or Girl Scout) and be prepared. Save Air-Tro’s number: (626)357-3535.