Why Your Air Conditioning Unit Needs a Tune-Up

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Years ago, the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service at Louisiana State University teamed up with Gulf States Power to research and identify what benefits – if any – were provided by an air conditioning tune-up. A series of homes were heavily instrumented, data was collected over time, tune-ups were performed, and data was collected again. The results were staggering. Researchers found that tune-ups restored lost capacity and saved money and energy.

The research showed that the average monthly savings from a tune-up are around $32.76, with an average restored cooling capacity of 0.79 tons. Researchers concluded that air conditioning maintenance benefits the customer by lowering operating costs, increasing his comfort control capacity, and extending the equipment life.

But do homeowners need a tune-up every year? To answer that, researchers repeated the study a year later using the same homes. They found that only 78% of the savings were still present; in other words, one year of operation takes its toll on an air conditioner. It may still function adequately, but not near as efficiently as it should.

They found that the average savings from a tune-up after a year of operation were $25.60 per month. While these studies were performed years ago, their validity still stands. They continue to be referenced because no one has found it necessary to fund additional research in the residential market.

If anything, the studies only understate the savings potential from a single tune-up, as the savings have not been adjusted for inflation. If they were, the savings would be $60.59 a month and $45.39 a month in the first and second studies, respectively.

Also, today’s air conditioners have greater efficiency levels when operating correctly and are more in need of maintenance to keep those levels high. For homeowners, the bottom line is that, given the low cost of a tune-up and the energy savings and restored capacity, tune-ups truly pay for themselves!