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Thu, March 21

Time coming to make sure A/C's working properly

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>
Terry Sandberg of Chino Heating & Cooling Inc. installs a multi zone board for a heating and air conditioning unit in a Prescott home. This board, which can be either retrofitted to existing units or installed in a new system, allows the homeowner to separate their home into zones and save money on utility costs.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br> Terry Sandberg of Chino Heating & Cooling Inc. installs a multi zone board for a heating and air conditioning unit in a Prescott home. This board, which can be either retrofitted to existing units or installed in a new system, allows the homeowner to separate their home into zones and save money on utility costs.

Summer will arrive within two months, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning contractors advise homeowners to have their central air conditioners checked.

"Central air-conditioning systems definitely need to be cleaned up and ready to go once the temperature starts getting around 75 degrees (Fahrenheit)," said Jason Parkis, who owns Indian Air in Prescott Valley with his wife, Christine. "We are already scheduling some of our energy-savings programs, but the temperatures have come down a bit."

Parkis recommends hiring an HVAC contractors to do checkups, and possible maintenance, beginning in late April.

"What we do is go through the system, tighten all the electrical connections" on the roofs, Parkis said. "We check the refrigerant charge, check all the motors for property amp draw, clean the condensing coil, check temperature differentials and check the operation of the thermostat."

Air conditioners need to undergo maintenance to make sure their Freon levels are appropriate, said Mike Little, owner of Chino Heating & Cooling Inc. in Chino Valley.

"If you don't have the right Freon level, it can cost you more in the long run and it is hard on the equipment," Little explained.

Homeowners also need to make sure air filters are clean, Little said, adding that busy activity in a home can shorten the life of air filters because the activity whips up particles.

Little recommends annual maintenance "just to keep up. If we can fix a part before it breaks, it will cost less in the long run."

Parkis concurs with Little regarding annual maintenance work, saying a properly maintained air conditioner will reduce electricity use and extend its life. He said a maintenance inspection takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

A properly maintained system in a home can last at least 15 years before needing to be replaced, Little said.

Homeowners who need to replace aging air conditioners may be entitled to incentives from Arizona Public Service if a qualified technician installs a more energy-efficient unit, APS Community Relations Manager Mike Johnsen said. He said APS also offers incentives to homeowners for improving ductwork.

For more information about the incentives, log onto the utility company's website at www.aps.com.

Johnsen also advises homeowners to hire licensed contractors for any air-conditioning maintenance, repairs and installation.

For information about licensing, check on the status of local contractors at the website of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors at www.azroc.gov.

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