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Sat, June 15

Ask the contractor: Servicing HVAC unit saves money in the long run

Q: My husband and I recently moved to Prescott from Phoenix. We had a swamp cooler on our home in Phoenix and we now have an HVAC unit. Since we are new to this type of heating and cooling, what should we do now that we are approaching summer?-Ed and Kathy, Prescott Valley

A: We all know the advice "pay a little now for routine service or pay a lot later for a major repair bill. " This same concept holds true for HVAC units. If you do not service your HVAC unit, you will more than likely find the unit not working properly, and you might be expending extra energy and dollars.

Our local HVAC companies say that now is the right time to have your HVAC units inspected, oiled, greased and cleaned. Without regular maintenance, an HVAC unit can lose about 5 percent of its efficiency for every year of operation. This means that the 12 SEER unit you have had for a few years might now be operating as a 9 SEER unit. Mike Moyer of Moyers Heating & Cooling and Troy Kloski of TDK Comfort Systems both agree that you can recover lost efficiency through regular maintenance, so the cost of an annual tune-up can be recovered rather quickly in savings on your monthly electric/gas bill. Many of our local companies offer annual service programs at a reduced savings, and this ensures that your system will be performing at the beginning of our cooling and heating seasons.

It is also important to make sure you are using a licensed, reputable company for your servicing. There are predatory companies that will charge you a very low amount for a service or maintenance check, and then they will tell you that there are major issues with your unit, and that may not be the case. Make sure that you do not become a victim. Use reliable companies.

Here are a few tips to help your unit that you can do yourself.

• Change your filters monthly during the summer. This will ensure that air is circulating properly through your home.

• When you are not at home, turn the AC unit up 4 degrees.

• Make sure your unit is clear of bushes and other materials.

• Do not close off AC registers/air supply outlets in your home. Doing this is harmful to the operation of the overall system.

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Sunday is Easter Sunday, a most cherished day. I love reading Harvey MacKay and here are some words from his column, "Lessons from The Easter Bunny." "What's not to love about a cheerful fellow who arrives with chocolate, heralding the arrival of spring after a long, cold winter? Let positive thoughts multiply like rabbits. Enjoy your Easter Sunday with family and friends."

Yavapai County Contractors Association is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers and distributors. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to ycca@cableone.net or through www.ycca.org.

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