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PHOENIX -- Winter isn't even officially wrapped up and for the next several days temperatures will be at or above 90 degrees.

This mini heatwave is going to put Valley air conditioning units to test for the first time this year. Kevin Howard with Howard Air in Phoenix said his employees typically take about 10 to 15 daily calls at this time of year. That number could explode into more than 100 for the next several days.

"What we're seeing in this down economy is simply a lack of maintenance," he said. "People just don't want to spend the money and that can lead to major repairs."

Put another way, changing out that inexpensive filter regularly could spare you a huge bill down the road.

Howard said there's only so much a typical homeowner can do to prepare the air conditioner beyond changing out the filter and making sure there's no debris on the outside of the system. He said we're not into the real heat yet, so the air conditioning might pump out enough cool air in the next few days, but when the temps soar beyond 100 is when it's too late.

"If the system isn't properly tuned it won't perform and that will cost you a lot of money."

Howard said your system should only be checked out by a certified, licensed professional. There are many other guys running around whose main objective is taking your money and not how well the unit is working.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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