Everything You Need to Know About Air Conditioning in Arizona

The first air conditioned building in Phoenix was the Hotel Westward Ho, which opened in 1929. Evaporative coolers, or swamp coolers, were widespread in the years following World War II. Fast forward to today and just about every home in the Valley has a modern air conditioning system. Here’s everything you need to know about the unique aspects of air conditioning in Arizona.

The Arizona summer’s impact on your air conditioner

It’s no secret that summers in the Phoenix area are intense and unforgiving, and your air conditioner bears the brunt of the high temperatures. 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. In particular, 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.

The importance of air conditioner maintenance

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.

How to find a reputable Arizona A/C contractor

Just a simple google search will show you the hundreds and hundreds of A/C contractors and companies in Arizona. With so many options, it can be daunting to try and find a qualified professional for repairs and maintenance.

Arizona HVAC licensing

A contractor’s license is required by Arizona law for any contract that exceeds $1,000, including labor and materials, or if the work involved requires a permit. Many states mandate that HVAC contractors meet a minimum level of education and experience requirements, and pass a written exam before they’re officially licensed to work in the industry. In Arizona, aspiring contractors must have at least four years of relevant experience before they take the licensing exam. Licenses need to be renewed every two years.

There are three HVAC license options available in Arizona:

  • R-39: For the installation, repair, and alteration of residential HVAC systems
  • C-39: For the installation, repair, and alteration of commercial HVAC systems
  • CR-39: A duel license for the installation, repair, and alteration of both residential and commercial HVAC systems

Always ask for your contractors six digit Register of Contractor’s (ROC) license number before beginning any sort of work. You can search the license number online on the Arizona Register of Contractor’s website to make sure it’s current.

Bond requirements

To maintain their license, HVAC companies and contractors are usually required to hold a minimum level of bonding and insurance. This includes liability insurance, to protect you and your home in the case of accidental damage or injury. The dollar amount of bonding and insurance depends on several factors, such as an estimate of their annual volume of work. You can find the individual bond amount by searching for your contractor using their ROC license.


With the growing complexity of HVAC systems, contractors need comprehensive education on common problems and repair methods. While some certifications are mandatory, others are an opportunity for a contractor to deepen their understanding of the industry and open themselves up to a wider range of opportunities. The following certifications are required in Arizona.

EPA certification

EPA certification is required for an HVAC contractor to handle refrigerants, according to EPA regulations under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act. Since refrigerant is the life blood of an air conditioner, this is one of the most important certifications an HVAC contractor must hold before you consider hiring them to work in your home.

There are four types of EPA certification:

  • Type I: Small appliances such as window/room air conditioners, dehumidifiers, refrigerators, and freezers
  • Type II: High-pressure air conditioning and/or heating units
  • Type III: Low-pressure air conditioning and/or heating units
  • Universal: Includes Type I, II, and III certification

Registrar of Contractors certification

Another important certification to look for in a reputable contractor is certification with the state Registrar of Contractors. Never hire a contractor that is not recognized by the state in this way. A reputable air conditioning and/or heating contractor working in Arizona will be licensed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors—no exceptions.

Chas Roberts knows Arizona air conditioning

Since 1942, we’ve helped countless households throughout the Valley with their air conditioning needs. After so many decades, there’s no problem we haven’t seen, and no issue we can’t help with. Contact us for repairs, installations, maintenance, and everything in between.