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Sun, Sept. 15

Beat the heat this summer with a few tips from some local experts

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Staying cool at home this summer comes down to keeping the air conditioner in working order and following a few tips.

Daniel Andrews, service manager for Chino Heating and Cooling Inc., said folks should change their air conditioning filters frequently.

"People out here live in rural areas and condensing units need to be cleaned," he said.

Andrews said folks can use a garden hose or cleaning agent to remove dirt and other particles.

He recommends changing filters twice a year unless you have a washable filter.

"That will also depend on how much you use your system," he said.

And if you think your air conditioning unit needs more attention than that, Andrews said turn to an expert.

"So that nothing is damaged and nobody gets hurt," he said.

Richard LaForge, owner of Richard's Heating & Cooling Services Co. in Prescott, started working on air conditioning units in the community in 1980.

LaForge said evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, need servicing twice a year to check and clean the grills and water pump and other components.

"Get an annual checkup for your air conditioning unit no matter what kind it is," he said.

Paul Williams, owner of Arizona Heating and Cooling Inc. in Prescott, has more than 35 years of experience working with air conditioners. He said owners should listen to their cooling units and check the temperature of the air from the top of the unit if they can.

Homeowners can clean the coils behind the filter with a solution like Simple Green.

"Cleaning that coil off will make it work better," he said. "Airflow is the key to good heating and air conditioning."

If you're plan to upgrade and install new air conditioning, LaForge said buyers should make sure it's a high-efficiency unit.

The size of the home, its insulation, insulation of windows and even the amount of shade that covers the house all factor into the costs, according to LaForge.

"The savings offsets that quickly," he said. "Your energy use is dramatically reduced and you're still getting the benefit of the air conditioning."

Mark Modrak, with Aardvark Heating and Cooling in Prescott, said folks looking to buy a wall unit should look for the energy efficiency ratio.

Modrak said the ratio tells the buyer how efficient the unit it.

"The higher the number the less the utility costs," he said. "You want to buy the highest rated one you can afford."

Contact the reporter at jsoifer@prescottaz.com

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