KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — High temperatures have been sticking to above 90 degrees in East Tennessee, and some people are trying to beat the heat by blasting their air conditioning.
However, some HVAC experts said people shouldn't strain their systems too much right now. They are already struggling to stay ahead of an influx of repair calls — up to 30 service calls per day.
"We are by far getting more calls than we ever have," said Ralynn Gent, who owns an HVAC company in Knoxville with her husband. "We go out early and come back when it's dark out."
An attic in East Tennessee can reach temperatures of up to 140 degrees during such hot weather, they said. That sweltering heat can be dangerous for technicians and homeowners alike. However, experts did not recommend trying to beat the heat by maximizing their systems.
Gent said that units in the area can usually only bring own the temperature by around 20 degrees, compared to the temperature outside. So if it's 97 degrees outside, she said people should set their thermostats to 77 degrees to avoid damaging their systems.
"Pushing lower can could cause your system to freeze," she said.
She also said that simple maintenance can go a long to protecting a home's HVAC system. She said people usually need to change their air filters, helping ensure the air flows cleanly throughout their home.
"Just like you have to do preventative maintenance on your vehicle — change the oil, check the fluids — HVAC units need that twice a year," said Gent.
She said that the company usually tries to repair air conditioning systems within 24 hours. But recently, she said it has been harder to get ahold of some parts. So, some homes have had to go without air conditioning for up to two weeks.
"Everyone who thought they were going to make it through one more summer is struggling," said Danna Kimble, the owner of another HVAC company. "We've seen heat waves like this before and we've just got to get through them."