4 Myths About Air Conditioning in Arizona

Thanks to the desert climate of the Phoenix area, air conditioning is a necessity. For many months out of the year, we rely on it to cool our homes, schools, and businesses. Without it, Phoenix may never have emerged as a bustling city. But, for as much as we have air conditioning to thank for our modern lifestyle, there are still several persistent myths about it. We’re here to give you the facts behind four of the most common myths about air conditioning in Arizona.

Myth #1: The Arizona climate has no impact on the lifespan of your air conditioner.

The average air conditioner has a lifespan of 9–12 years in our harsh desert climate. This is due to common problems that include:

Refrigerant leaks

Refrigerant leaks are one of the most common problems that result in a significant amount of air conditioner repairs. Signs of a refrigerant leak include:

  • A hissing noise coming from the air conditioner
  • A home that fails to reach the temperature you set
  • Short cycling, or an air conditioner turning on and off constantly
  • Lukewarm air coming from vents

Dirty condenser coils

Condenser coils are prone to accumulating dirt, dust, and grime over time. Dirty condenser coils are especially common in desert climates such as Arizona, due to the amount of dirt and dust in the air. When condenser coils get dirty, your HVAC system has to work harder to do its job, leading to an increased amount of wear and tear on its parts that can ultimately result in system failure.

Motor issues

A fan’s motor can fail due to overheating, burnout, electrical problems, or issues with internal wiring. Overheating and burnout can occur due to the increased amount of strain your air conditioner endures when you rely heavily on it in the summer. Typically, replacing the motor is the best solution. To keep your new motor in good shape, we recommend that you have it tuned-up twice a year as part of an annual maintenance call.

Myth: Maintaining your air conditioner isn’t essential in Arizona.

With regular maintenance, you can get the most out of your system and maximize its lifespan, even in the face of sweltering 100-degree days. At Chas Roberts, our thorough 26-point maintenance plan ensures that your air conditioner will be inspected from top to bottom, with all parts tested and evaluated. Some of the services performed during one of our cooling season maintenance calls include:

  • Checking refrigerant levels
  • Cleaning condenser coils
  • Adjusting thermostat calibration
  • Checking air flow and filter size
  • Testing starting capabilities

During a maintenance call, the technician can also identify any parts or mechanisms in your system that need to be repaired or may require a replacement. It’s best to get any necessary repairs or replacements done in the spring, so you’re not left dealing with an unreliable system during the height of the summer.

Myth #2: There’s no way to avoid high energy bills during the summer in Arizona.

While you’ll probably always pay more in the summer compared to other seasons, it’s entirely possible to keep your energy bills at a reasonable level even when temperatures reach the triple digits. With the tips below, you can save money and energy all summer long.

  • Change your filters every month
  • Use a programmable thermostat to save energy when you’re not home
  • Fix drafty windows and doors to prevent energy leakage
  • Keep your blinds closed or consider installing blackout curtains to block solar heat gain
  • Keep up with regular system maintenance to keep your air conditioner running efficiently

If you find that implementing the changes above didn’t do much to lower your energy bills, it may be time to consider repairing or replacing your air conditioner. A newer, more efficient system can save you money in the long run by lowering your monthly energy bills. Contact a professional to see if your system is in need of a repair or a replacement.

Myth #3: Because of the high temperatures, homes in Arizona need bigger air conditioners.

It’s easy to see where this myth comes from, as it makes sense to assume that the average Arizona home would need a large air conditioner to handle the summer heat. But, many homes have air conditioners that are too large. An air conditioner that’s too large will cost more money to operate and have a shorter lifespan overall because it will work too hard to cool your home. This places a large amount of stress on the crucial components of the system, leading to premature breakdowns. Additionally, you’ll deal with inferior performance overall as systems that are too large tend to short cycle, or turn on and off frequently.

Air conditioning systems are sized according to their tonnage. One ton equals 12,000 BTUs (British thermal units). Residential systems usually range from one to five tons, or 12,000 to 60,000 BTUs. Any professional HVAC installer should know how to evaluate your home to obtain the correct size of equipment. The climate you live in is only one of the factors they’ll consider. A properly sized air conditioner will also account for:

  • The size of your home
  • How many people live in your home
  • Which direction your home faces
  • The insulation in your home
  • How much natural shade surrounds your home
  • How many windows your home has
  • How much sun your home gets

Myth #4: You can save money by only using your air conditioner in short bursts

Your air conditioner actually uses the most energy during the first 3-5 minutes after you switch it on. If you continuously turn your unit on and off, you’ll end up using a lot more energy than necessary, which will be reflected in higher energy bills.

To heat or cool your home more efficiently, try toggling the switch on your thermostat to “on” and then leave the system to run uninterrupted. This allows the fan to blow air constantly, helping to maintain the temperature in your home and reducing the amount of energy that’s used.

Fact: Chas Roberts knows air conditioners inside and out

With over 70 years of experience, it’s a fact that we know a thing or two about air conditioning. From routine repairs and maintenance to emergency service and system replacements, we can do it all. Contact us to keep your home cool, comfortable, and efficient no matter what the weather is.