What is the APS AC Tune-up Program?
I recently heard about an APS (Arizona Public Service) program call Advanced Diagnostic Tune-up. Do we have this in our area and how does it work?
Arizona Public Service has a program called APS Advanced AC Tune-up, which is a test program limited to 6,000 units for 2012. The residential Advanced Tune-up rebate pays customers $100 if they have their operational AC unit tuned up by a participating contractor using approved advanced diagnostic equipment.
This diagnostic goes beyond just a set of gauges. The program was designed to assist customers to have an AC unit run as efficiently as possible. This diagnostic test is geared at AC units that are 3 plus years and older and between 2-5 tons. The process allows for an approved APS contractor to come out and hook up special diagnostic devices that record the operating performance of the unit. The information is then processed through a computer and informs the AC company if the unit “passed” or “failed” the test. This is somewhat similar to emissions testing on cars. Once the test is complete and if the unit “failed” it will be the homeowner’s decision to have these modifications performed by the AC company on the spot, such as the addition of Freon or air-flow adjustments for a reasonable fee. A re-test will then be performed so there are results for pre performance and post tune-up performance. There are two local YCCA members that are approved APS contractors; Advanced Insulation and TDK Comfort Systems that can offer the Advanced Tune-up in the Prescott area. This is a test program so there are no guarantees that the program will continue next year. All contractors involved must go through APS training and are required to purchase the requirement equipment, which costs around $4,000.
There is a 3rd party verification source that is involved so you know that you unit is working properly and at peak performance. The test should be performed with outdoor temperatures that are in the high 70+ range. Advanced Insulation has discovered that the optimal temperatures should be in the 80+ range. There are temperature ranges built into the equipment software. If the air temperature is below this range it can create issues. When the technician runs the AC unit for the required 15 minutes it lowers the humidity in the house down below the range where you can reliably set the refrigeration charge. Basically, you want it hot when you tune-up the unit because those are the conditions that you want the unit to run efficiently in. Regarding the rebate of $100, the customer can elect to have the contractor deduct it from the cost of the tune-up and then APS would send the rebate to the contractor or the customer can elect to have the $100 rebate sent directly to them. The rebate form has a box and a signature line where the customer can specify what option they would prefer. The testing including the tune-up phase will be approximately one-two hours. It is my understanding the rebate is only applicable if the unit receives a “pass” on the tune-up. I have decided to be a paid experiment and after checking the weather forecast to make sure conditions are optimal, I am having a tune-up performed on my AC unit, May 17th. I will let you know the outcome in my column on May 25th. Gosh, this is like taking statistics all over again in college – “pass or fail” – just waiting for the grades.