San Diegans concerned about A/C at home and schools during heat wave – ABC 10 News San Diego KGTV

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Local air-conditioning companies are seeing an increase in the number of calls for repairs and installations.

Francisco Alvarez has been working in the A/C business for 20 years. This week, his phone has been off the hook.

“It’s great for business but even sometimes for myself it gets overwhelming,” he shares. “But I enjoy it, it’s what I do.”

The owner of Rockstar Plumbing says that most calls are from people who believe their units are broken.

“When they call, the first thing I ask is ‘Have you changed your filter?’” Alvarez shares.

He says a dirty filter is the number one reason why your A/C might not be working at full capacity. It should normally be changed twice a year, at the beginning of the summer and winter.

“If you have a clogged filter you can’t pull air to push air,” Alvarez explains. “What it does is ices up.”

He says that 50% of his calls are to switch those filters out or repair them. The other half are to install new systems or upgrades.

Alvarez says that in San Diego, a system should last roughly 15 to 20 years, assuming the filters are changed consistently.

But he emphasizes that the kind of A/C unit you should get depends on your home.

“The things we have been putting in a lot lately is called mini splits, so each individual room each has their own A/C unit. It’s kind of like a window unit but it’s not as intrusive or as loud,” Alvarez says.

With temperatures in some areas expected to reach triple digits, Alvarez says homeowners should run the system for a day before it gets too hot, to make sure it works well.

“If it starts going bad, do not keep running it, turn it off and call someone immediately,” Alvarez says.

As San Diego’s heatwave takes full effect, school districts are trying to stay cool.

Depending on the district, not all of the classrooms have air conditioning. Parents that 10News spoke to say they think it is unfair that their children and their teachers are not focused on learning, but are instead uncomfortable in school.

So now the districts are doing what they can to change that.

As temperature reach triple digits, educators and parents are concerned for students.

“There have been some really miserable conditions inside of our classrooms,” shares Christine Paik from the Poway Unified School District.

She shared with ABC 10News that the HVAC systems in schools like Rancho Bernardo and Bernardo Heights Middle are more than 30 years old and keep failing.

“This has not been convenient or fun for anybody and we understand that,” she says.

The district has tried to repair broken systems and buy portable A/C units to keep the students cool. PUSD even rented a backup chiller that is currently being installed. They do warn parents that in order to make sure that it is operating correctly, the A/C will need to be turned off.

That is why PUSD has extended early dismissals throughout the rest of this week.

“‘I’m not saying that this is going to be easy to deal with for our families, our working families, but when it came to health and safety conditions, we heard back from a lot of students and teachers that the situation in the classroom late in the afternoon when the A/C wasn’t working was not ideal. So, the call was made to go to minimal days,” Paik explains.

Oceanside Unified School District says that they are remaining on a regular schedule but have enacted its “heat protocols.” That includes teaching P.E. classes indoors and moving as many classes as possible to cooler areas.

The district shares that classrooms by the beach do not have A/C, but have been provided fans if needed.

While school districts are trying to make the necessary changes, they say this is only the beginning.

“We have multiple sites where the HVAC system is an issue,” shares Paik. “So we are going to need some funding and the community support.”

10News did reach out to San Diego Unified School District as some parents expressed concerns with the A/C there. 10News has not heard back.

Parents 10News spoke to expressed they were frustrated that money the school was funded with was not being used towards new HVAC systems. Poway Unified said in the past, its main priority was attending to mold in classrooms or drainage issues. Now they are focusing on the air conditioning.

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