Heat to continue all week

ELIZABETHTOWN — Air conditioners and locations offering cool water have been getting plenty of use of the past 10 days as Mother Nature has sent dog-days of summer-like heat throughout the region.

Although summer didn’t officially begin until Sunday, Bladen County has been getting baked for the better part of a week before spring came to a close.

Some folks have sought out the waters of White Lake or the White Lake Water Park while others have chosen to remain indoors underneath the cooling breeze of the air-conditioning unit.

Bladen County is in the midst of 12 straight days of 90 degrees or more, with a high of 98 on Monday, June 15, and 99 on Tuesday, June 16. A heat advisory has been put into affect each day since the heatwave began.

And the heat isn’t going away anytime soon.

The National Weather Service Office in Wilmington is forecasting a high of 100 for Tuesday, 99 for the high on Wednesday with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms, 98 on Thursday with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms, and 95 on Friday with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms.

The heatwave is expected to continue at least into the coming weekend.

With the balmy temperatures come fears of an air-conditioning melt down or even power outages. So what can you do to prevent a summer break down of your air conditioning unit?

Daine Smith, owner of Cape Fear Heating and Cooling, said, “The biggest thing is to have it maintained properly.”

He said if the coils of the unit are dirty, the unit is low on refrigerant, or the filters are dirty can all lead to inefficient cooling and a possible break down of the unit.

He said the best thing consumers can do to prevent a break down is to have their units serviced by a professional annually, preferably in the Spring.

Smith said that when you mow the grass, make sure that you don’t blow the grass clippings towards the unit. Also, keep shrubbery trimmed away from the unit. Smith said that there should be at least 18 inches of clear space around the air conditioning unit.

“Replace your filter every 30 days, whether it needs it or not,” said Smith.

He added that sealing around windows and doors and making sure doors are closed completely, also help with cooling costs.

Smith said he has seen an increase in calls since the summer heat has arrived due to units that have been poorly maintained.

Smith said that some ways to tell a unit may be on the way to a break down is to check your thermostat. If you notice that the actual temperature is higher than the where the thermostat is set, it may need to be checked. Smith said that you utility may also provide a crucial clue. Smith said that your heating and air system makes up about 30 to 40 percent of your utility bill. Smith said if the utility bill starts to steadily increase, it may be time to have your heating and air unit checked.