PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Temperatures continue to rise and so does the risk of heat-related emergencies.  

People are running their air conditioning units at lower temperatures, causing some to encounter maintenance issues. 

“The most common issue right now is routine maintenance problems, so clogged drain lines, weak capacitors are the top two, which is why maintenance on the equipment is so important,” said Bush Air Conditioning Service Manager Caleb Williams. “If you have maintenance done twice a year on your equipment, you can stay ahead of both those problems.”

According to Williams, air conditioning units should be serviced once in the fall and spring to ensure the unit is in good shape before temperatures go up, but most people don’t bother with AC maintenance until a problem occurs, resulting in a bigger issue and higher repair costs. There are steps you can take to prevent severe maintenance issues and lower the risk of being stuck in the heat. 

“Once a month when you change your filter, you can pour bleach or vinegar into the drain pipes to help keep that clear. You can also use a Shop Vac to pull whatever’s in the drain line out from either the outside or the inside. The other thing is to rinse the outdoor unit off.”

Boiling temperatures and broken AC units can create life-threatening situations for some. Medical professionals have seen an increase in heat-related illnesses, from mild dehydration to heat stroke as the heat index continues to climb. Doctors urge you to stay indoors when possible and stay cool when you’re outside.

“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you don’t have other medical co-morbidities that’ll keep you from doing so, but lots of hydration,” said HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital E.R. Director Dr. Will Carlson M.D. “Get out of the heat whenever you can. If you can get inside, get in the cool air, get some shade, use your UP clothing, those types of things to try to stay cool.”

If you are experiencing a heat-related emergency, call 9-1-1 and get out of the heat as quickly as possible.