6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a New Air Conditioner
Buying a new air conditioner doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. With a little preparation and some basic knowledge, the most common A/C purchase mistakes can be easily avoided. Taking the time to review these trouble spots can save years of headaches and lots of wasted money. And, of course, always start by choosing a trusted, reputable HVAC company to explain your options and guide you through the purchasing process.
These are six mistakes that people generally make when buying a new air conditioner.
1. Buying the wrong-sized air conditioner.
Two common misconceptions are that a bigger air conditioner will be more effective and a smaller air conditioner will be less expensive. The truth is that the best air conditioner for performance, efficiency and price is the one that is the correct size for your home and your needs.
An air conditioner that is too large uses more power than a correctly sized unit, so it is more expensive to operate without cooling your home any better or faster. Similarly, an air conditioner that is too small has to work harder to cool the space, making it more susceptible to breakdowns while also being less efficient and effective than a properly sized system. Your HVAC professional should survey your home to determine the correct size before providing an estimate.
2. Not focusing on energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency is an important consideration when choosing an air conditioner because it greatly affects the cost of the system over its lifetime. Greater efficiency means lower monthly bills and should be factored into the decision. The lower operating costs can offset the initial cost of the system so that a more expensive yet more efficient air conditioner may save you money in the long run. Look for Energy Star rated products with the highest SEER rating (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). A SEER of 13 is the minimum, while 16 or above is considered energy efficient. A general rule is to buy the most efficient system you can afford.
3. Not hiring a licensed company with qualified air conditioning technicians.
The best air conditioner will not perform well without proper installation. A licensed, reputable HVAC company will ensure the system you choose is not only the right one for your home, but that it is installed correctly for maximum efficiency and performance as well. This will also increase the life of the air conditioner.
4. Focusing on price.
The purchase price is only one part of the equation that determines the total cost of the air conditioner. Operating costs are as important to consider. Features that maximize efficiency can save a lot of money over time and their long-term benefits and savings can far outweigh their initial cost.
5. Not checking for rebates.
Money-back rebates for high efficiency models are often offered by HVAC manufacturers, utility companies and government entities, potentially enabling you to afford a higher-quality system.
6. Getting only one estimate
As with any major purchase, getting at least three estimates is wise. Air conditioner prices can vary among HVAC companies. Be sure to consider the whole package when evaluating estimates, however. The lowest price may not be your best bet.