For people who live in Arizona year-round, having air conditioning in the midst of the AZ summer heat is an absolute necessity. This is why local air conditioning experts work flat out every winter, spring and even into summer, making sure Phoenix residents are ready with their air conditioning needs.
For many Arizona residents, it makes more sense from a logistical and practical point of view to get your system checked earlier in the year. There is less of an urgency to fix your air conditioner in January than there might be in June, when the need to cool down your home is much higher. But because many people are not using their air conditioners until April or May, it’s one of those things that tend to get pushed to the back burner. (Having an annual air-conditioner maintenance program helps in this area. More on that below.)
What is Super Cooling?
To give your A/C a break, here’s something everyone can do. It’s surprising how many people don’t. Super cooling a home involves turning up the air conditioning at specific times, such as during off-peak hours or while no one is home. Turning it off at other times cuts down electric bills. Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, and other providers offer plans supporting this. A time-of-use or time-of-day plan allows customers to use more electricity during certain times at cheaper rates.
The procedure is not hard. Set the thermostat to a practically cool temperature and run the system throughout off-peak hours. It doesn’t just cool the air. As the walls, floors, and furniture cool, the home should remain cooler even if the A/C is off and the thermostat is raised to, for example 80°F or 85°F. Arizona homeowners who used the super-cooling technique told the Arizona Republic that they saw a 25-33% reduction in power costs during summer 2014.
Comprehensive AIR CONDITIONING Service Plans
One important way Arizona homeowners can keep their A/C on a service schedule is to have a comprehensive air conditioning maintenance service plan. These types of maintenance plans are a peace-of-mind purchase for the homeowner. Once signed up for an annual plan, a homeowner knows that the maintenance plan includes free inspections, and repair and replacement discounts. Many plans also include priority 24-hour emergency repair from certified technicians.
In general, such a plan should include the following services:
- Clean the outdoor coils, to ensure there are no obstructions to impede efficiency
- Change/clean the air filters
- Check Amp draw from the compressor, motors and inspect the electrical components for proper operation
- Check coolant levels; low coolant can increase operating costs
- Look for leaks, blockages, or gaps in ductwork
- Check or add insulation to ducts or walls, ceilings, and attics
- If replacing equipment, installs energy efficient components that are ENERGY STAR rated
New Regulations for A/C Cooling
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy introduced two important regulations. One involves the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The department has increased the standard ratings (from 13 to 14), requiring many homeowners to completely replace their cooling systems. Actual energy savings depend on how long the unit runs, the condenser’s SEER rating, geography, and other factors.
These requirements may have various impacts to homeowners. Indoor coils may not fit the available space, and any renovations and structural modifications may have to be made to accommodate larger units and components.
Most air conditioners older than three years old don’t have SEER ratings up to today’s government standards. More information on 14 SEER ratings in relation to split system and single package A/C units is available from The Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association.
Another amendment to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act went into effect on April 16, 2015. This new NAECA standard requires higher energy factor ratings on residential water heaters. If water heaters aren’t efficient, they give off extra heat. Heater size and fuel source (gas or electric) are major considerations, as well.
The overall lesson that many people seem to miss is the need to prevent problems before they become emergencies. That’s the best time for Arizona air conditioner service. Once your system is down there are usually too many things to fix – or replace, and expenses skyrocket – like the temperature.