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Summer peak time for air conditioning breakdowns

HSB claim data shows home and business losses by month in your region

The hotter the weather, the harder air conditioning equipment must work, increasing the risk of equipment breakdowns. HSB claims records show the highest number of commercial and residential air conditioning failures are reported in July.

It's costly to lose your cool

The average cost of repairs and related expenses is $3,309 for homeowners and $21,515 for business, industry and public institutions, according to HSB's data.

Chart showing that Total AC failures peak in July

"Don't wait for a heat wave"

"Don't wait for a heat wave and an unexpected breakdown to focus on your equipment," said Michael Bove, HSB vice president for engineering. "Keep up with air conditioning maintenance and contract with a repair company that will respond to your call."

It happens every spring

Air conditioning claims increase in the spring when air conditioning equipment is started up and spike in the hottest months. Most failures occur when equipment is started after a long layoff or cycles rapidly on and off in hot weather.

You might be surprised...

There are regional variations, however, in the pattern of breakdowns — and it might not be what you would expect.

Can they carry the load?

In the South, where air conditioning runs longer during the year, systems are designed for heavy loads and have fewer stops and starts to stress equipment. In the upper Midwest or Northeast, equipment may sit idle for months, begin to deteriorate, and then be started up several times over a season, such as an early spring or a hot spell in late autumn.

Too much stop and go

"Think of an automobile on cruise control, traveling long distances on a smooth, flat highway," Bove said. "Now, compare that with the stop and go of a rush-hour commute. Hotter days are like driving uphill in heavy traffic. It really takes a toll on equipment."

Home systems work hard

The chart below is based on several years of HSB claims and shows residential air conditioning breakdowns by month and region. Home equipment is constantly cycling on and off, which strains the system.

Chart showing that home AC failures peak in July, with most failures occuring in the Midwest and Northeast

Businesses are cooled year-round

The next chart shows commercial air conditioning and refrigeration claims follow a similar pattern. There are fewer regional differences since commercial cooling equipment may be operated year-round and systems are usually better maintained.

Chart showing that business AC failures peak in July, with most failures occuring in the Midwest and Northeast

AC increases energy demand

In the future, cooling equipment and the energy to operate it will become more important. Air conditioning and refrigeration claims can result in higher equipment repair and replacement costs, business interruption, spoilage claims and lost customers.

HSB helps clients save money

HSB will continue to provide innovative equipment breakdown insurance, with energy saving services built into our coverage. We're always looking ahead to protect our clients from emerging exposures and help them spend less to operate their equipment.

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Summer peak time for air conditioning breakdowns