With sweltering heat, local experts talk prevention and repair of most common A/C issues

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If your air conditioner stops working during these hot summer months, you’re in trouble.

While it might be tempting to go on YouTube and try to fix things yourself, experts say not so fast. Local HVAC technicians said almost half of their calls could be avoided with regular maintenance to the unit.

“If when you’re out here and you see it starting to get dirty, don’t be afraid to get it wet. If you're worried about getting electrocuted, just shut it off at the thermostat,” said Scott Simmons with Hotter Than Hell Heating, Cooling & Plumbing.

Simmons has been repairing and servicing HVAC units for more than 30 years. He said sometimes the issues with your A/C are written all over the unit itself.

“I’ve gone up to units and literally found bushes laying across it, and they can’t understand why it’s not working,” Simmons said.

But not all issues are quick fixes.

“The biggest [issue] this year has been capacitors. The capacitor is right inside the main box. It gets really hot in there. The capacitor is what powers that fan motor and the compressor. I bet I’ve done over 100 capacitors this year already,” Simmons said.

It’s a simple job that can cost about $150 and up if you call a repair company. The capacitor piece itself can cost as little as $10, prompting some to try and replace it themselves.

But professionals say that’s taking a big risk.

“It’s high voltage in there. It’s 220 volts, so if you’re messing around and don’t necessarily know what you’re doing, you can get yourself electrocuted,” Mike Brosseit with Top Notch Heating and Cooling said.

He said when it comes to repairs, it’s best to call a professional. But, with regular maintenance, you might not ever have to.

“Before you call us, check your breakers. If the A/C is out, check the breaker. Make sure the batteries in your thermostat are good, keeping the outdoor unit clean, the filter clean it,” Brosseit said.

Experts say as a rule of thumb, regular maintenance in cleaning could save you thousands of dollars down the line. If fixing the issue requires a screwdriver or some other tool to get inside, leave it alone and call an expert.