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      How to avoid high A/C repair bills

      When the Tri-States are under an excessive heat warning, the last thing a homeowner wants is a broken air conditioner.

      Unfortunately, many people neglect maintenance to their home comfort system even in the hottest months.

      When pop-up thunderstorms blew across the area Monday, July 2nd, service calls at Pro Comfort Heating and Air Solutions sky rocketed. Of those calls, 8 Quincy area homes sustained damage to their cooling system from electrical surges due to the storm.

      "We put in almost 18 difference surge protector packages and things of that nature over the course of the last week. It's something we try to get people involved with ahead of time. We can protect the actual air conditioner or heat pump, the power source to it, the control board in your furnace, the furnace itself and also the thermostats," Scott Smith, a technician with the company, explained.

      The average repair bill for customers who had experienced electrical surges was between $500-$800. That is not the only danger to air conditioners. Neglecting annual maintenance can have serious consequences including the loss of the unit's warranty.

      "Next to your home and your vehicle, your home comfort system is probably one of the most expensive things that you neglect to protect," Smith said, "The first thing I always check is the filter. The filter is probably one of the most neglected things that gets changed on a regular basis, which causes airflow reduction and can cause some unhappy customers this time of year with the heat."

      An air conditioner can kick on up to 6,000 times throughout the summer, and without proper care, the system could fail.

      "When it's hot like this and you don't have it, everyone starts realizing how important it is," Smith said.

      Once an air conditioning unit is out of commission for an extended amount of time, it can take 12 to 24 hours to rid the house of humidity and get it cooled down again.