What’s a Good SEER Rating for an AC

March 19th, 2018

What is a Good SEER Rating for an Air Conditioner, I Don’t Know What to Choose!



When I started working in the air conditioning industry thirty years ago, SEER Ratings for air conditioners weren’t even a thing yet. It wasn’t until 1992 that minimum air conditioner efficiency ratings came into effect with legislation requiring all HVAC equipment manufacturers to produce new AC units that were at least 10 SEER. In 2006, the minimum was raised to 13 SEER, and again in 2015 to 14 SEER*

The 2015 changes were regional, and still allow 13 SEER in parts of the country – here in Arizona, the 14 SEER minimum applies to all new ac unit installations.

More than 25-years after minimum SEER ratings were first required, we frequently get questions like: Is 14 SEER AC good? What does up to 16 SEER mean? and, Is it better to have a high SEER or a low SEER?

Chances are you already know that SEER is the acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, but what is it and how is it calculated?

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How Does an AC Thermostat Work?

March 14th, 2018

Thermostat Temperature Setting Does Not Change Air Temperature


how an ac thermostat worksHaving owned Magic Touch Mechanical, an air conditioning company in Mesa, AZ for over twenty years, it’s easy to forget most people have no idea how central air conditioners work. Most of the time I get my blog article topics from listening to people outside of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Industry, and the questions they have about AC, heating, and home energy efficiency.


Which brings me to today’s topic: Turning the dial or turning your thermostat temperature setting up or down, does not change the temperature of the air coming out of your vents (air registers).


My sister-in-law is in town visiting and just by chance, it came out that she was under, what appears to be a common misconception, that there was a correlation between the thermostat temperature setting and the actual temperature of the air coming out. When I asked a few more people if they believed the same thing, I realized they all did. So, if you thought the same, you are not alone, and after reading this article you are now “in the know”.

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Is Variable Speed Worth it – Part 2

March 13th, 2018

Are Variable Speed Air Conditioners Worth the Money? How Much?

variable-speed-air-conditioner-costI continue to read Facebook comments from people shopping for a new AC unit, and those who have recently purchased new air conditioning & heating equipment, that the HVAC salespeople they met with advised them; “not to waste money on a variable speed air conditioner.”

In one particular Facebook Group for residents of Chandler, AZ., one of these comments still has me baffled.

To put the comment into perspective, the original post was; “Is variable speed air conditioning worth it – is it worth an extra $2,000”

The comment was “[Her] air conditioning guy told her a variable speed AC unit wouldn’t work for her because she lived in a two-story home with two AC’s.” There was no further explanation. Wait…he told you what?

To add to the free misinformation that made the internet famous, there were more than a few other experts posting even more madness to the string, and things were headed downhill fast in my humble opinion.

I’ve been working in the HVAC Industry thirty years, and the air conditioning company I own, Magic Touch Mechanical, has installed thousands upon thousands of air conditioning units over the last 20 years we’ve been in business. Many, many, of which were variable speed units…in 2-story homes…with multiple units…and our clients love them.

So, let’s dig in and understand the facts, pros, and cons of variable speed air conditioners. Then you can decide for yourself if it’s worth it, and if so, how much more?

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Magic Touch BBB Torch Award Finalist

March 9th, 2018

Magic Touch Mechanical Named 2018 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics Finalist

magic-touch-mechanical-bbbBack in 2008 Magic Touch Mechanical was named Winner of the BBB Business Ethics Award. Exactly 10-years later, we are excited to announce we were once again chosen as one of three in our category for this very prestigious award!

This news marks the third time the Magic Touch Team was a named a Finalist for what is arguably the most coveted award any business can have bestowed upon them. Previously MTM was a Finalist in 2007, 2008, (2008 WINNER), and now again in 2018.

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How Often Does a New AC Unit Need a Tuneup?

March 5th, 2018

My AC Unit is Brand New & Under Warranty – I Don’t Need a Tune Up Right?


ac coil cleaning mesa, ac coil cleaning chandler, ac tuneup mesa, required ac maintenanceYou’ve just spent thousands of dollars replacing an older air conditioner with a new AC unit, and now your air conditioning company is telling you that it needs maintenance every six-months. That can’t be right can it, can it? Your AC Company is just being greedy, aren’t they? After all your last cooling and heating system lasted for many years and you didn’t get two tune-ups a year!

I’ve owned Magic Touch Mechanical since 1997. My company is a Mesa, AZ based HVAC Contractor & Energy Efficiency Contractor (Energy Audits & Home Improvements) that serves one of the largest air conditioning markets in the country – Phoenix, Arizona.

I can’t tell you exactly how many times I’ve heard a client tell me they don’t need a tune up because their air conditioner is brand new – but it’s A LOT! Before, I go on let me just clear up the fact that an HVAC System that has been through several summers and winters is no longer “brand new”!

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Trane XV18 vs. Lennox XP20 Heat Pump

March 3rd, 2018

A Side by Side Comparison of Trane XV18 and Lennox XP20

trane_vs_lennox_phoenix_azDon’t let the numbers in the model name fool you. The Trane XV18 and Lennox XP20 Heat Pump Condensers are more of a fair fight than the manufacturers’ numbering system might suggest.

Both are their respective companies “one model down” variable speed heat pump. Trane manufactures the XV20i variable speed heat pump which is their premier unit and a level up in the hierarchy than the XV18. Lennox manufactures the XP25 which is their top-tier unit and a step above the XP20.

Now that we’ve established that this is going to be a clean match and no shots below the belt will be allowed…let’s get ready to rumble!

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APS AC Rebate Going Away In 2018

March 2nd, 2018

APS AC Rebate Program Placed on Hold Effective 3-7-18


APS AC Rebate 2018In a surprising twist of events APS Qualified Contractors and participants in APS’s AC Rebate Program received a message late Friday afternoon March 2nd, that effective March 7, 2018 no more rebates would be issued to APS customers who replaced their existing air conditioning and heating system with a new AC unit.

There was no warning to contractors or contracting associations that APS would take this action and it seems everyone, including all of us here at Magic Touch Mechanical, were surprised not only by the announcement, but the extremely short notice given.

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What’s the Best Air Conditioner for a Garage?

February 25th, 2018

Installing an Air Conditioner in Your Garage? Here are Your Options and Approximate Costs

garage_air_conditioner_azMy two-car garage has everything but a car in it. That’s because I spend a lot of time in my garage working on my motorcycles and various home improvement projects. I would say my garage looks like what would happen if a hardware store and the tool department at Home Depot had a baby.

I know I’m not alone because my company, Magic Touch Mechanical, gets several calls a week from people interested in the best way to cool their garage. We’ve installed hundreds of new AC units in garages that were being used for wood shops, sewing rooms, and even food pantries. We even had a client that converted a 3-car garage to a “dog room” for her very large, and very spoiled fur babies.

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What is the Best Brand Air Conditioner?

February 22nd, 2018

What is the Best New AC Unit Money Can Buy 2018?

air-conditioning-unitsI serve on a few Advisory Boards and am a regular contributor to a few HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning) Industry news publications. A few months ago, a writer for one of these publications contacted me about a story she was writing about designing the perfect home comfort system for my “dream home”.

I personally think “comfort” encompasses a lot more than just temperature. Comfort needs to account for temperature, humidity, noise level, airflow and air velocity, and air quality. Beyond that even, I think true comfort is also having peace of mind.

By peace of mind I mean; the confidence in knowing my cooling and heating equipment is efficient enough that I can set it to maintain whatever temperature I want without concern of a ridiculous power bill as a result. Also, knowing my new HVAC System is highly reliable and covered by a great warranty.

When I design a new air conditioning and heating system for a client, I like to start with an interview to find out which of these are the most important to them and in what order, so we can find the brand and model that best suits their desire and budget. The point of the article the writer called me about however was based on the notion that money was no object. That got me to thinking and inspired me to write this article – what is the best new AC unit money can buy in 2018.

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Why is SRP giving a rebate for getting an AC tune up?

February 21st, 2018

Utility Company Rebates for Air Conditioners – What’s the Rub?

srp-air-conditioner-rebatesI’ve met people that generally loathe the local their power company. After all, these are the same companies that charge us thousands of dollars per year to keep the lights on, run our air conditioners, and wash our clothes on a daily basis, and most of us don’t have a choice who to buy from. For the majority of us, we are stuck with whoever provides electrical service to our neighborhood.

Here in the Phoenix, AZ area, most of us either have SRP (Salt River Project) or APS (Arizona Public Service) with a few exceptions, like City of Mesa providing power to small pockets of Mesa, Arizona.

Owning an air conditioning and heating company that also conducts hundreds of home energy audits in Arizona for twenty plus years, I’ve seen a lot of homeowners’ power bills. They range from the lucky few with smaller bills (usually because they live in super-efficient homes) – to people whose summer bills are in the $700 to $800 range in the summer…sometimes more. On average, most of the bills I see are between $300 – $400 per month in the summer, and often because they live on the edge of discomfort and are afraid to set their AC thermostat much lower than 82 degrees.  Continue Reading