Air conditioner repair companies swamped with calls

Posted at 6:53 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 21:53:17-04

It's peak heat season in the air conditioning business. Companies are swamped with calls from customers with no A/C. 

Both technicians and units are working overtime in the sizzling triple digit temperatures.

At George Brazil Services, president Jim Probst said they were putting maintenance calls on the back burner, and making those with no way to cool their homes a priority.

"We're averaging these last couple weeks 600-700 appointments a day," said Probst.

At this busy time, A/C technicians warned people to watch out for those offering freebies. 

Victor Lopez with Parker and Sons, Inc. said they were too busy answering service calls, so anyone offering a freebie should be checked out before inviting them into your home.

"There's so much to do right now, we're not going to be calling people and saying, 'Hey can we come out and look at your stuff for free,'" said Lopez.

Another big scam they're warning about is about technicians telling you that you need to replace your refrigerant.

Lopez said most with well-maintained units should never have to replace refrigerant.

"There was a company going around saying every two years you should pull all your refrigerant out and replace it, I don't know any benefit to doing that," said Lopez.

However, that could be possible if there was a leak in your system, but watch out for a technician who gives your system a cursory look and tells you there's a leak.

"There is a rare occasion where you an see oil all over the ground," Probst said. "That's generally not the case.  Generally the leak is in a coil or some place that is not easily seen or detected."

It could take a technician hours or sometimes days to find a leak.

Replacing parts came with it's own red flag. Some technicians may tell you they're replacing a part, but consumer bureaus have received many complaints from customers saying the part was never replaced.

Probst said a credible company would not mind you watching the technicians as they work. Always ask them to show you the old part, even if they cannot give it to you since they may have to take it back for warranty purposes.

You can also Google common problems like "low refrigerant" or "leaking AC" and find out what the common symptoms of those issues are.

Probst encouraged customers to do their homework, get involved in the process, and ask questions.

Another scam relating to size when it comes to an A/C, bigger is not always better. Watch out for high pressure sales tactics with companies urging you to buy larger units. The size of a unit depends on the size of your home. Larger units could start and stop more costing you more money in the long run.

If your unit breaks down, the best rule of thumb is to stay cool, don't get burned by a scam.

Don't let the sweltering heat force you to make snap decisions. For any big ticket items, make sure to get several quotes, and resist the pressure to do major work right away. Always look into whether you should repair or replace. Prost said a properly maintained unit in Arizona should last you anywhere from 14-15 years.