Air Conditioner Prices: Do You Get What You Pay For?
When you’re exploring your options to upgrade or install a new air conditioning system, it’s natural to wonder whether paying more will really give you the quality and comfort you expect. By learning how to evaluate equipment size, brand and the contractor, you’ll have a better chance of getting what you really need for a price you can afford.
Size matters…but don’t go overboard
When it comes to choosing the compressor for your new air conditioner, bigger doesn’t always mean better. While paying more for higher SEER ratings on compressors can help you get a more energy-efficient model, paying more for the biggest unit you can afford doesn’t always make sense. What you actually need is to find the goldilocks compressor for your home: not too big and not too small.
Buying a smaller compressor than you need, regardless of SEER rating, will mean that your air conditioner won’t be able to effectively cool your home. On the other hand, buying a unit that’s much larger than your square footage requires could have trouble adequately removing humidity from the air – which is a major part of what your air conditioner does. In addition, a unit that’s too large for your home may run more frequently than it needs to, increasing your monthly energy costs considerably.
Brand matters…but so does availability
It’s time to put on your research hat and really dig into the different brands of compressor available to you. If you already have an air conditioning professional that you work with, they may have a preferred brand or two. While their equipment recommendations could be spot on for your needs, it still pays to research the brand so that you’ll understand what kind of issues you could be signing up for.
Of course, choosing the brand with the absolute best reviews – or the one that will cost the least – can have significant drawbacks you may not anticipate. For instance, it’s critical to know how readily available parts for your brand and model are. Even the most reliable pieces of equipment will need work at some point. Paying more for top-of-the-line equipment doesn’t make any sense when you could be left without air conditioning for weeks in the middle of the summer while your AC professional tries to get parts.
Experience matters…but so does dependability
When it’s time to pick the company that will install and service your air conditioner, word of mouth and referrals are critical. Paying more to work with the AC contractor with the most experience is only worthwhile if they consistently do what they say they’ll do.
That said, you really do get what you pay for during the installation process. Inexpensive and inexperienced air conditioning contractors could improperly install the expensive equipment you just purchased. When this happens, your system won’t be as energy efficient or effective as you expect it to be.