Years ago, the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service at Louisiana State University teamed up with Gulf States Power to 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 of this landmark study were staggering. The researchers found that tune-ups saved energy and restored lost capacity.
Average monthly savings from a tune-up $32.76
Average cooling capacity restored 0.79 tons
The researchers concluded that:
Air conditioning maintenance benefits the consumer by lowering his operating costs, increasing his comfort control capacity, and is believed to extend equipment life.
But do homeowners need a tune-up every year? To answer that question, researchers repeated the study a year later, using the same homes from the prior year. They found that 78% of the savings were present. In other words, one year of operation takes a toll on an air conditioner. It may still function adequately, but not nearly as efficiently as it should.
Average monthly savings from a tune-up
after one year of operation......................................... $25.60
Thats a 22% decrease in performance in one year
Granted, these studies were performed years ago. That does not lessen their validity. They continue to be referenced because no one has funded additional research into the residential market. If anything, the studies understate the savings potential from a tune-up. Adjusting for inflation, the monthly savings from the first study would be $60.59 today. The savings from a tune-up after one year of operation would be $45.39. In addition, today’s air conditioners with greater efficiency levels, are more likely to need maintenance, due to changes in coil design (thinner fins, more surface area, thinner tubing, rifled tubing, etc), changes in refrigerants, and so on. For Homeowners, the bottom line is that given the low cost of a tune-up and the energy savings and restored capacity…
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