SOURCE: American Home Shield

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June 08, 2016 09:35 ET

American Home Shield Shares #AHSStayCool Tips From the Pros

Beat the Heat This Summer With Smart Advice From HVAC Experts

MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - June 08, 2016) - A memorable summer should be about fun in the sun not the inconvenience of a broken air conditioning unit. Costly or unexpected breakdowns can really put a damper on this time of year -- and your budget.

According to a consumer survey conducted by American Home Shield, the nation's largest provider of home warranties, central air conditioning is one of the top comforts that homeowners can least live without, yet, seven-out-of-10 (70 percent) admitted that they did not have their systems serviced on a regular basis.

"An air conditioning system is like a car. Unless it's properly maintained on a regular schedule, it's just a matter of time before something breaks down," says Mike Clear, vice president of operations at American Home Shield, a business unit of ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV). "You don't want to be left with an expensive, heated situation that potentially could have been avoided."

The company and its network of professional service contractors has responded to more than 3 million air conditioning requests in the past five years. In 2015 alone, American Home Shield conducted over 600,000 service requests for air condition-related issues, and Clear believes many of these breakdowns could have possibly been prevented with some simple maintenance before the machines begin running all day.

American Home Shield wants homeowners to stay cool this season by paying attention to air conditioning maintenance tips directly from trained and experienced professionals. Prepare for whatever Mother Nature has in store and avoid a sticky -- or steamy -- situation by ensuring your air conditioning unit is serviced before the season heats up.

Filter It Out
The air filter is at the heart of the central air conditioning unit and most must be changed at least once a month in the summer when air conditioners are working overtime. Not changing the filter can restrict air flow, decrease efficiency or worse, cause the system to freeze up in the middle of a hot day. Experts say the best way to remember to change your filters regularly is to do it when you receive your monthly electric bill.

No Sudden Changes
Most of us are guilty of turning the air conditioner off when leaving the house and turning it on full blast when we get home. According to HVAC contractors, this is a bad idea all around -- it overworks the unit, isn't environment friendly and sucks up electricity. Don't adjust the thermostat temperatures more than 2 or 3 degrees at a time. Better yet, invest in a digital programmable thermostat and if you are gone for longer periods of time, set the timer to turn on the system a half hour before you get home.

Keep it Clean
Ahead of air conditioning season, inspect the area around the condenser for any debris that could prevent air from flowing into the system. Bushes, shrubs and vegetation around the unit can cause the system to overwork. When mowing, be sure that grass is blown away from the unit. Make sure there are no rodents, ants or other pests nesting on the cooling component before summer and completely power off the unit and lightly rinse with a garden hose.

Seal It in and Top It Off
Before turning on the air conditioning this summer, look for leaky seams that may have developed around windows and doors. Use a candle to detect drafts by moving any upholstery away and looking for a wavering flame. Install new weather stripping wherever needed. Additionally, make sure the unit is not low on refrigerant or coolant. To test, insert a meat thermometer into both the vents that blow and suck in air. There shouldn't be more than about 10 or 15 degree difference in temperature. Reading too high or too low? Call a professional.

Cover Your Bases
A well maintained central air conditioning unit can last for 15 years or more. Protect your investment by scheduling regular maintenance checks. Ahead of summer, call a HVAC contractor to inspect as well as thoroughly clean inside the unit -- a task best left to professionals.

For more information and helpful HVAC maintenance tips and videos from American Home Shield, visit www.ahs.com or the Home Matters blog and YouTube channel, which have hundreds of tips, videos and content for homeowners to help protect homes from the inside out.

About American Home Shield
American Home Shield founded the home warranty industry in 1971 and remains the industry leader. American Home Shield, together with its wholly-owned subsidiaries, services 1.6 million customers in all 50 states. The companies operate four customer service centers, employ approximately 1,800 employees and have a national contractor network made up of over 11,000 independent home service contractors and more than 45,000 service technicians. American Home Shield is a business unit of ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV), one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. Go to www.ahs.com for more information about American Home Shield or follow the company online at www.facebook.com/team.ahs or www.twitter.com/AHS_Warranty.

About ServiceMaster
ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV) solves the homeowner's dilemma. Every day, we visit more than 75,000 homes and businesses through our extensive service network of expert professionals. Technology powers our trusted experts to engage with customers so they can order, buy and receive services when, where and how they want them. Our well-recognized brands includes American Home Shield (home warranties), AmeriSpec (home inspections), Furniture Medic (furniture repair), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial and residential floor cleaning), ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration) and Terminix (termite and pest control). Like, follow or visit us at facebook.com/ServiceMaster, linkedin.com/ServiceMaster, twitter.com/ServiceMaster, or servicemaster.com.

Survey Methodology

The 2015 American Home Shield Consumer Survey presents the findings of an online survey conducted by Toluna from December 7-8, 2015 among a sample of 1,100 American homeowners and prospective (next 12 months) homeowners 18 years of age and older. The margin of error for a sample of this size is ± 3% at a 95% level of confidence.

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