Keeping your air conditioning going during a heatwave, pandemic

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COLUMBUS (WCMH)–The temperature soared into the 90’s again Monday, and the rest of the week’s weather forecast looks similar. That means for a lot of homes in central Ohio, air conditioning units are pumping cool air to try and make things comfortable for residents inside.​

The parts in the machines eventually break or fail, especially if proper care and maintenance have been ignored. Most modern AC units last between 10-15 years, according to technicians who bake under the noon sun, sweating it out hunched over these complex machines.​

There are a multitude of issues that can pop-up with an AC unit, some of them are linked to added stress from a dirty filter that does not allow enough air through, or dirty condenser coils. Other issues stem from parts that simply fail, like capacitors and circuit boards. ​

No matter what the issue is, once the unit stops pushing cold air into the house, most people call to have the problem fixed. Technicians who are now dealing with the pandemic are forced to take additional steps to protect themselves and the customers from the spread of disease.​

Each company has their own policies and procedures, most are based off of CDC guidelines. Some companies go further than others, but the baseline is technicians using PPE, gloves, shoe coverings, and maintaining social distancing standards.​

Carl Sliwinski with Logan AC and Heat Services was helping a few clients in Hilliard, Monday.​

“For someone like me, with a newborn baby, you know, you’ve got to be cautious but at the end of the day we still have a job to do and people need heating and cooling, so we’re not going to forsake that, you know, we’re definitely going to be there,” said Sliwinski.​

He’s seen a lot of issues in his time as a technician.​

“Air flow is everything in Heating and Cooling, talking about heating and refrigeration. So if we have a dirty filter it actually slows down the air flow, and when we have air flow that has been reduced drastically, we don’t have proper air flow, what happens is the coil inside, call the evaporator coil, will freeze over,” said Sliwinski. “It becomes like a block of ice.”​

As that block of ice thaws, other problems can occur if the water gets on things it shouldn’t. It just emphasizes why it’s so important not to let things get that far.​

“We run into a lot of dirty filters, believe it or not. One inch filters, at the width, need to be changed at least every 90 days or before,” said Sliwinski.​

One of the customers he visited on Monday had a rupture in the condenser coil. There was no refrigerant in the system so all. It would only blow warm air into the house. Unfortunately, you can’t fix the problem with a patch, so the entire coil needed replaced. ​

He showed the homeowner what the problem was, explained their options, and left them the materials they would need to make an informed decision. Then it was on to the next call, a newer unit that was shutting off after being on for a few moments.​

In this case, Sliwinski removed the unit’s metal skin to take a look at the complex and high tech innards. Technical information posted on the back of the cover acted like a map for Sliwinski to follow in determining what may be wrong.​

This unit was 3-years-old, which is considered too soon to be having some issues that older units are more likely to have. It turns out, the circuit board needed to be replaced, a part of it had gone bad. With the part ordered, they just needed to wait for it to arrive and a technician like himself would come and install it to fix the problem.​

The homeowner, Christina Adams chose Logan for a number of reasons. One of those reasons was how they were handling things during the pandemic.​

“That was part of why we went with who we went with, because there was all of that information up front,” said Adams.​

It’s been a long, hot weekend for the Adams family. Their unit stopped working on Friday, right before the holiday. This was the earliest they could find someone to come out and fix it. It will be a couple of days before it’s back in working order.​

In the meantime, more calls wait to be answered, and technicians like Sliwinski keep moving and trying to get to as many people as possible as the heat bears down on central Ohio.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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