Media contact: Janet C. Hart, APR, CFEE (704) 927-8617 office
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Southern Piedmont area has baked in record high seat this summer.
This heat wave will cause problems with air conditioning units and may result in higher than normal utility bills.
The BBB has advice for how you can keep cool during the hot summer.
"Air conditioning units can be the most expensive equipment in your home," said BBB President Tom Bartholomy.
"Given the large number of contractors and companies that provide air conditioning service, it is important to distinguish between the good and the bad."
“In the past 12 months, consumers have checked out heating and air conditioning services with the BBB more than 80,000 times,” Bartholomy said.
“However, consumers have only filed 207 complaints during the same time period because they are doing their research to find a company they can trust.”
Emergency service - If your air conditioning breaks and you need emergency service, the BBB has these tips:
- Check out air conditioning contractors with the BBB. It only takes a few minutes to find a company with a good track record for service.
- Make sure that the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured.
- Be wary of unsolicited offers and high pressure sales pitches for air conditioning systems, windows and roofing.
- Don't fall for devices and products that promise drastic reductions in home cooling costs.
High utility bills - High temperatures also mean high utility bills. "Many people go without air conditioning because they can't afford it," said Bartholomy.
"Unfortunately, extreme heat can be deadly."
If you cannot afford to pay your air conditioning bills, the BBB has this advice:
Get help. Nonprofit organizations like Crisis Assistance Ministry help low-income individuals pay their utility bills.
- Ask your utility company about an annualized billing plan to avoid spikes in your bills during extremely hot or cold months.
- If you are on a fixed income and have trouble paying your utility bills, contact your utility company to find out about emergency assistance plans.
Home maintenance - The BBB has these tips for making your home more energy-efficient year round:
- Have your central air conditioning system inspected and serviced each year.
- Check your attic, garage and basement to make sure your home is well-insulated.
- Clean or replace air conditioning and furnace filters on a regular basis.
- Install a programmable thermostat and keep your home at a set temperature.
- Close curtains, shades or blinds during the day to block the sun and the heat.
- Install ceiling fans.
- Prune back shrubs that may block the air flow to your air conditioning units.
- Shade room air conditioners from direct sun to reduce their workload.
- Apply a reflective coating to your roof or windows to reflect heat away from your home.
For more information, please visit BBB or call the BBB toll-free in N.C. and S.C. at 1-877-317-7236.