FAQ

How much does a new Air Conditioner cost?

The price varies based on the type of system you need based on your current system setup, the efficiency and energy savings you are looking for, the size of the system you need ( based on a load calculation which we perform) and if any modifications need to be made for the system to work in a way that provides maximum comfort and efficiency. Preferred Air offers systems as low as $4000 and some offerings can exceed $15,000, the average price someone spends on a new system is $7500.

How long do systems typically last?

10-15 years is typically what we see, we have seen some systems with over 20-years and still going strong, but we have also seen units with major repairs that did not make sense repairing, replaced sooner. Some companies always push new units, others will try to just fix everything, the best companies offer you options and allow you to choose what is best for you. Never be afraid to get a second opinion if unsure which direction to go.

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Should I get my system checked out every year?

The manufacturer recommends maintenance yearly and can deny warranty claims if it has not been done. The benefit is you may be able to find a problem and address it before it causes a major breakdown later. Waiting until problems arise will leave you in a hurry and with limited options. Not all companies perform the same maintenance, watch out for free or low-cost maintenance offers, “tune-ups”, nothing is free, those visits often turn into sales calls where the technicians are not paid unless you buy something. If your system is older than 5-years old or it’s been a couple of years, we would recommend it at least once a year, twice if you have a natural gas furnace, natural gas systems can release harmful amounts of CO gas which is odorless and very harmful even can cause death.

Which Filter should I use?

Most AC Systems are not designed for the expensive filters that are heavily marketed and claim to be better for indoor air quality, imagine drinking a shake with a coffee straw, most high grade filters choke the air down and force the system to work harder and can affect the reliability of your system. We recommend using the basic fiberglass filters and replace them every 30-days. If you have asthma or concerns about your indoor air quality have us visit for a free estimate of products available to help you breathe cleaner fresher air without forcing your system to work harder than it should.

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When is the best time to buy a New system?

When you aren’t using it! Manufacturer’s incentivize systems in the fall and spring with cashback and financing promotions, installers are also able to perform their job without high summer temperatures which allows a longer installation window without safety concerns. Milder weather allows for time to collect a few different bids and shop for the best value and make an informed decision. Be sure to do your research on the installing contractor, if you would like a free contractor checklist, contact our office for a no obligation checklist.

Which System is the best, which is the worst?

We provide a popular Consumer Reporting magazines rating to our customers during our estimate appointment, we sell top rated equipment based on those reports and based on our experience. If you look online you will see good and bad reviews for every piece of equipment out there, installation is a large part of how the system will perform and satisfaction, studies show that only 1 in 10 get installed properly, a bad installation can make a good unit bad. Call or email us and we can provide a free copy of the report we provide on our estimates, no obligation, no charge.

Why do they have units on the roof?

There are two thoughts as to why they did this originally, real estate, takes less space and the second is it was cheaper. After working on hundreds of new homes we found that cost is usually the big factor with new home construction so believe it was associated with cost, it must have been significantly cheaper at that time. New homes no longer put the AC Systems on the roof but not are also not producing new shingle roof’s either, so construction has changed, and split systems are the norm now.

 

Should I get my ductwork cleaned?

If you have hard metal duct in your home and have recently had your ductwork sealed, you could choose to. Dust often comes from leaky ductwork, dust in the home being trapped in the duct system, so cleaning the ductwork may seem like a good idea but if you have leaks this can just compound the problem. Many homes in Arizona have flexible duct that after years of excessive heat are prone to ripping or tearing, we recommend replacing flexible ducts along with sealing if looking to improve your indoor air quality or eliminate dust. IF you do choose to clean your ductwork, we recommend getting it done by licensed HVAC contractors so that if a problem does arise, they will be able to properly identify and repair the issue. Preferred Air Performs duct sealing and inspections, if you are concerned with dust coming from your AC System, allow us to inspect it to find the source and fix it once and for all.

How much do you charge to install a system I purchased online?

Online sales are not approved by manufacturer’s, and many have clauses in the warranty document voiding the warranty if purchased online, so be careful. We have avoided doing so simply because of warranty issues, if something does arise who is responsible for fixing the problem if the warranty is rejected by the manufacturer? We offer a value brand if someone is looking for a lower priced option but still high value.

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How do I know who to trust, there are so many bad companies out there?

We recommend doing your research, check the BBB, the registrar of contractors, look at reviews on google and get multiple bids, at least 3. There are some companies that are hoping you do not shop their prices or look them up. Check for APS/SRP certified contractors as they are required to maintain training and can be spot checked on any installation. Unfortunately we must also be careful, there are people that are looking to take advantage of contractors too, we believe honesty is the best policy, if we can’t fix it we won’t charge you and if you think we didn’t do our job we will give you your money back. We have created a contractor checklist to help you identify better contractors, call or message us for a free copy of the checklist we have created for homeowners.

Do I have to clean my coils?

Air Conditioners have two coils, an evaporator coil and a condenser coil, they look like a radiator and operate similarly, they are removing heat. Both coils have air passing through them, one is outside air (condenser coil) one is inside air (Evaporator coil) The Condenser coil is usually visible from outside your home and can be cleaned quite easily, get a hose and clean it. The Evaporator, indoor coil, is after your filter and all the air in your home passes through it, after years of service even with disciplined filter changing the coil can get dirty and should be cleaned, the problem is that its not easily accessible and can be very time consuming or expensive. The outdoor should be cleaned every maintenance visit, the indoor coil should be at least inspected and you offered the choice, which should be made only after viewing pictures and or performance reporting, a dirty coil can make your system run longer than it should costing you money and affecting your comfort and health.

Will a Nest or Wi-Fi Thermostat save me money?

It may in the fact that you will have more control over your system and be able to change it when not being used or being able to program it to run only when you need it saving you money but it will not make your system more efficient. Many of today’s smart thermostats require a Common “C” wire, if you purchase your Smart Thermostat through Preferred Air you get a 5-year pro warranty vs 2-years from the big box stores or Amazon and we can ensure it is hooked up correctly, we can also assist you with setup and using the app.

What Temperature do you recommend when not home?

This depends on the time of year, typically during the summer more than 4-5 degrees is only going to make your system work harder when you do put the system back to your normal desired temperature. If going out of town we would still recommend something similar, heat can damage cabinets, wood and other home furnishings, we definitely do not recommend shutting it off during the summer as “catching up” to a comfortable temperature can make your system work harder than “Maintaining” a closer temperature.

What is supercooling and do you recommend it?

Supercooling is when cool your home 8+ degrees colder than you normally would, shutting it off at the hottest part of the day allowing your system to stay off not using any power during the hottest part of the day when rates are higher. If you have time of use from your utility provider it can definitely save you money, and if your home can maintain a temperature that doesn’t harm you or your home, we support it. Insulation, sealing, shading, home construction play a part in how long your home stays cool. If you have a newer home that is well insulated it may work for you, some older homes may not stay cool as long and could cost you more to do in the long run, if you’re interested, give us a call and we can help you determine if you home will be able to supercool properly or what adjustments could be made to support it.

What can I do to help my AC last longer?

Replace your filters often, have it maintained by a professional yearly, do home upgrades that can help your system run less, windows, insulation, duct sealing. If the unit is on the side of the house, make sure it is not obstructed with plants or bushes and kept away from pets, rinsing the system off when not being used is helpful in cleaning the outdoor coils, especially after a dust storm or desert monsoon.

What does ice on my system mean?

Ice typically shows up on the system when its low on refrigerant, there can be other reasons but if you are seeing ice on the pipes and inside the system, it’s probably low on refrigerant and you should have it checked out by a professional. Another reason could be bad airflow, make sure your filter is clean and turn your system off for an hour after changing if it was dirty.

What causes leaks in the system?

The refrigeration piping in the system is a closed system, sealed, it should not require “top offs” yearly and you should not need to add a little every year unless there is a leak. Refrigeration systems can get up to 600 PSI in the summer, that is a lot of pressure and there are hundreds of welds, solder joints, points where a weak connection can suddenly split or burst cause refrigerant to leak. Some manufacturers have settled lawsuits due to the high number of leaks that has affected our industry. Talk to your contractor about what is covered and what is not with every leak.

Are home warranty companies worth it?

Home warranty companies pay a very small amount to contractors that choose to do warranty work and often challenge approvals for homeowners. We decided not to represent any home warranty companies since they are not looking out for the homeowner’s best interest but ways for they can save money. If you purchased a new home and have a home warranty, they may still require you to get yearly maintenance, be sure to see what is required for any claims and familiarize yourself with the process, it can take days for someone to respond during the peak summer season, become familiar with the process before you need it and find out what and what isn’t covered.

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How long does it take to replace an AC System?

Typically one day, rooftop units 3-5 hours, Split Systems (Multiple Pieces) 5-8 hours, if performing a quality installation, if many parts are being re-used it can take less, be sure to get an itemized list of everything being changed out and compare, for a good list call or message us for a no obligation premium installation checklist.

Why do I have more than one filter in my home but only one unit?

The filters in your home are located inside your return air grilles, this is where the air goes back to the AC system, gets cooled and returns as cool conditioned air into every room in your home (opposite in the winter). Most homes have 1 Return Grille, some have multiple, typically this is done for rooms that are hotter than the rest of the house as they will help remove some of the heat from those rooms. Additional Return air grilles are an upgraded feature and can help keep warmer rooms more comfortable, be sure to change those filters monthly as well. If you have questions about your ductwork, please give us a call and we can provide some insight.

Why are some rooms hotter or colder than others?

Most of the time it is the way the ductwork was designed, rooms on the south or west side of the house will get warmer than the rest of the house due to the location of the sun and time of day. Many new homes are built with a standard ductwork design not taking factors that affect comfort, insulation levels, windows, location of the room in regard to the sun path and time of day. Fortunately, we have solved many of these issues with hundreds of very satisfied customers, every home and family are a little different, for our recommendations, call or book online for a duct modification estimate today. If it is a system problem or something else, we will also be able to identify those issues as well.

Why is my unit blowing warm air in the summer?

There can be several factors, from a bad component to a bad compressor. If your unit is ever not running properly shut it off completely for an hour then turn it back on, you may get temporary cooling until a technician can arrive.