PALM DESERT, Calif. -

As Coachella Valley temperatures consistently rise above 110 degrees, it is important for consumers to be aware of home air conditioning systems and potential problems that could arise. "I know my mom has experienced when hers went out during that really truly heat of summer," said Jodie Woodall, a Palm Desert resident. Woodall said it's dangerous for seniors when air conditioning units fail during peak summer temperatures, which is why she and her mother take part in an A/C maintenance program.

Overall repairs can vary in cost, but if a customer has to replace an entire unit, that price starts around $7,000. Reputable HVAC companies offer seasonal maintenance programs before it gets to the point of total replacement. Patrick Somers is the general manager of General Air Conditioning and Heating and compares A/C maintenance like getting an oil change in a vehicle before a long road trip. "Just like anything else, there's a certain portion of the population that's proactive, and most of us are reactive. So just like a vehicle, or your health, a lot of people wait until the signs of trouble show up." Some signs include a unit behaving louder than normal or a unit having more difficulty to cool an area.

Brutal temperatures can make A/C units work harder than they should, but another reason for early component failure is the sand that surrounds the desert. Sand is the main cause of component failure, but with proper maintenance, sand, dirt, and debris can be cleaned out seasonally from an air conditioning system. Woodall has been on the Service Plus program at General Air Conditioning and Heating and said it's certainly a must, regardless of which company provides the service. "The dust and the dirt really is very thick here and we get some massive wind. You know, as being a nurse and realizing what it is living here in the desert and all the different allergens, it's a must."

Maintenance program costs can vary, but start around $70-$100 for a yearly unit checkup. Different HVAC companies offer packages for seasonal maintenance, as well as discounts in their specific service plans.