SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - An air-conditioning and heating crew assessed the unit that's supposed to cool Sharon and Thomas Achord's Slidell home. "You would be sitting here sweating," Sharon Achord said.
For months, while their electric bills soared, their 1,200-square-foot home never could cool. "Run a lot of fans and took a lot of showers," Thomas Achord explained. The Navy veteran with several health issues said it was tough to get a good night's sleep.
"An electrician came out, I said, 'Well, do you see anything wrong? He said, 'Well, your air conditioner runs all the time, you need an A/C man.' So we called that other company, they came out twice and didn't find anything," Sharon Achord said.
In the meantime, a couple of local churches stepped up and assisted the Achords with their electric bills. Still, it wasn't enough. The family was falling behind on payments.
"I didn't want to be sitting here in the dark. You can't cook. You can't keep your food fresh. You can't keep cool," Sharon Achord said.
They called a second A/C and heating company to get a second opinion. Dominic Calloway and his team first checked the refrigerant levels, which looked good. Then, in the attic, they checked the system's heating element.
"When I went to the heating element I could also kind of smell it, but I also put my clamp meter on it and it showed me amperage. It was running about 40 amps, so that let me know that the heat was coming on," Calloway said. The thermostat showed the A/C was on, but the unit was actually putting out warm air.
Calloway disconnected the heat, and immediately noticed a temperature difference. "Oh my God, it was so awesome," Sharon Achord said.
"Over time it's just a malfunction within the heating element, and it gets stuck open, and once it gets stuck open, it's not gonna close back," Calloway explained.
While the A/C finally cooled, the Achords - behind on paying their Cleco bills - feared they'd lose power. "They were about to cut us off," Sharon Achord said. That's when they turned to the FOX 8 Defenders.
"They jumped on it with both feet evidently, because the lady that Sharon talked to, she got Cleco to stretch that $1,300 over 12 months so it's a lot easier to pay that back," Thomas Achord said. He said, "FOX 8 News has treated us very well, very well, and I am so happy with FOX 8 News."
Experts recommend that homeowners invest in twice-a-year maintenance on their A/C and heating units, just before the summer and winter. "It'll save you a whole lot of money in the long run," Calloway said.
The Achords are cool and comfortable again and thankful for the relief they've gotten.
Cleco PR Manager Jennifer Cahill sent us the following statement:
"From our customer service team to our crews in the field, Cleco employees are dedicated to providing safe, reliable power to our customers.
We go the extra mile for our customers. Working with the Achord family is an example of our employees' commitment to our customers."
The FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women also field consumer complaints at 1-877-670-6397 or you can fill out an online complaint form.