Time for an AC tune up

by Beth Jimmerson

Summer is officially here, which means temperatures are steadily rising. Sometimes it’s hard to balance comfort and cost, but staying relaxed and cool in your home on the hottest days of the year without worrying about energy bills going through the roof is possible. 

One of the easiest things you can do to stay cool this summer is have a professional tune up your air conditioning unit. Over the course of 12 months, a home’s heating and cooling will easily run thousands of hours. Left un-serviced, the average unit will lose 5 percent of its efficiency each year from dust and dirt accumulation as well as regular wear and tear. 

Conway Corp recommends customers have a preventative maintenance tune up on their central air conditioning unit every year to keep it working efficiently. Having your home’s cooling system serviced is one of the best things you can do – both from a comfort perspective as well as a financial one. Plus, small problems can be detected long before they turn into big, expensive problems when temperatures are likely at their worst. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a checkup of your home’s HVAC system can extend its life by several years as well as save you up to 10 percent a month on energy bills. On average, a tune up will cost $70 to $100 which easily pays for itself in monthly efficiency savings. Plus, a well-looked-after unit will last up to 15 years, compared to seven years for ones that are left ignored. Extending the life of your unit will save up to $5,000 in replacement costs. 

Conway Corp Energy Smart professionals recommend scheduling a local, certified HVAC contractor to perform a system tune up that includes four basic steps: 

Measure airflow of the system to test capacity and efficiency. Most air conditioners require 400 cubic feet per minute of air to operate to capacity. 

Clean the condenser. The outdoor unit should be sprayed with a foaming cleanser that soaks for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing.

Measure indoor and outdoor conditions including indoor wet bulb, indoor dry bulb and outdoor dry bulb. After all measurements are taken, they should be plotted on a sliding chart to determine super heat that will set the proper refrigerant charge. 

Adjust refrigerant charge. One of the most expensive repairs for units is a refrigerant leak.

Homeowners can also play their part in keeping the system in good working condition by changing the filters on their heating, ventilation and cooling system four times a year. This helps to keep the system running smoothly and improves the home’s airflow, providing better air quality and less temperature fluctuation. When you clean or replace the filter, you enhance your air conditioner’s efficiency by 5 to 15 percent. 

If your air conditioning unit is more than 10 years old or frequently needs repairs, consider replacing it. New units with a high-efficiency rating of at least 13 are 25 percent more energy efficient than their older counterparts and can save you up to 30 percent on your energy bill. 

Conway Corp customers replacing their air conditioning unit can apply for a zero percent interest loan. The loan program, funded by the City of Conway through the American Recovery Act of 2009, is available only to Conway Corp customers. Although there are no income limits, applicants must have a good credit history with Conway Corp. Loans are available between $500-2,500 and are repayable over a 36-month period.

To learn more about the loan program or Conway Corp’s Energy Smart program, call 501.450,6000 or visit ConwayCorp.com/EnergySmart.

Beth Jimmerson
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