OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With Oklahoma’s forecast in the triple digits this week, home foundation and air conditioning experts want you to side-step a repair bill while trying to keep cool.
Claude Drabek, of Drabek and Hill Air Conditioning and Heating, said he has seen dangerous DIY hacks on the internet of people putting tents, umbrellas, and even blankets over their AC units.
“That’s about the worst thing you can do,” said Drabek. “Most air conditioners discharge heat straight up.”
He said those coverings can keep the hot air in, sending it around and around.
“You want to let that hot air come out of the top and dissipate into the environment and get rid of the heat as quick as possible,” said Drabek.
Drabek said if you have a something like a tall tree hanging far overhead of the unit, that’s fine. Technicians want you to have at least a five foot clearance above the AC, but 10 feet is preferred.
Drabek said if you really want to keep the temperature down, make sure the condenser coil, which goes around the unit, is clean. That will give it the best circulation.
“No trash cans close by, no lawnmowers pushed up against it, grass clippings out of it, all that. Keep it as clean as possible,” he said.
While you’re cleaning your AC unit with a hose, Jeff Wedig, owner of Triton Foundation Repair, said residents can avoid foundation failure caused by the heat by watering your house.
“Just run a soaker hose alongside the bottom of the house, about a foot away from the foundation. And you want to add incremental amounts of water. So let that soaker hose run for ten or 15 minutes. And if you’ll do that two or three times a week, it keeps that soil moisture consistency and stops that soil from shrinking, which stops your house from dropping,” he said.
According to Wedig, Oklahoma’s clay soil is elastic. When it rains, it swells. When it’s hot, the dirt shrinks.
“As that soil condenses like that and it shrinks, your house is inclined to follow it. And it can go from being perfectly acceptable to considered failure in a very, very small amount of time,” said Wedig.
Wedig said if residents already have a sprinkler system, they’re likely already watering the home.
“If you noticed that you’re starting to have issues and you get it handled and you get it dealt with, it’s way less expensive than putting your blinders on and then dealing with it later,” said Wedig.
Wedig said you may have foundation failure if you see cracks or gaps in your bricks, sheetrock, baseboards, and even doorways. That’s a clue that something in your house has shifted.
Wedig added most residents’ home insurance don’t cover foundation failure and the damage can be costly out of pocket.
“I mean, we’re not a cheap date. We’re not the people that people really are super excited about spending time with,” said Wedig.