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Air Conditioner Buying Considerations

Are you thinking about purchasing a new air conditioner? If so, you know that there are seemingly endless options out there. As you approach this decision, you want to make sure that you are considering several different factors. The knowledgeable technicians at Cates Heating and Cooling know what you should look for in a new AC system, and we have some advice for what you should consider before you make a big purchase.

TYPE OF AIR CONDITIONER

Since there are so many different types of air conditioners, the first thing you need to do is make a decision about the type of AC unit that you would like to have in your home. Knowing the type of air conditioner that you would like in your home will make it that much easier to consider the following things.

DEALER NETWORK AVAILABILITY

When you are trying to decide on the air conditioning unit that you want in your home, it is a good idea to consider the dealer network availability in your area. The more dealers that sell the brand and model, the more likely you are to get a good deal on your AC. Additionally, a large dealer network will allow you more options in the future for repairs.

It is important to keep in mind that manufacturers only sell their products to certain distributors. These distributors are often determined by which companies are willing to get the proper training needed to install and work on the air conditioner brand. While you are likely to find a few different companies in your area that offer the brand that you are interested in, these will be the HVAC professionals you get to choose from to make your purchase.

REFRIGERANT TYPE

Refrigerant has been a hot-button issue in the world of HVAC for a couple of decades now. Many old air conditioners used a type of refrigerant that was determined to be harmful to the ozone layer. This type of refrigerant—called R-22—hasn’t been used in new equipment since the mid-1990s, but you may still have a system that uses it. By 2020, R-22 will no longer be made at all. This means that you will need to upgrade your system to ensure that you can keep your home cool.

When looking for a new air conditioner, you might want to find one that uses a refrigerant that hasn’t been under scrutiny due to environmental damage to make sure that the same issue doesn’t pop up again soon.

WARRANTIES

We all dream of having an air conditioner that runs perfectly all of the time without our interference. But the reality is that there will come a time that you need to have some part repaired. Generally, parts warranties will be the same across all air conditioner brands, but labor warranties can vary substantially.

Labor warranties are determined by the company who installs your AC unit. While you are shopping around for a company that offers your desired air conditioner, you may want to start discussing labor warranties to protect you and the new air conditioning unit that you are about to purchase. For this reason, you will want to find a reputable HVAC company.

Before you complete your purchase, make sure that you have read the entire labor warranty and fully understand what is and isn’t going to be covered. Most labor warranties will require that you have routine maintenance done to keep the warranty valid. In fact, if you don’t keep up with the required maintenance, your labor warranty will be rendered invalid, and the HVAC company can refuse to cover labor costs for any needed repairs.

LOCATION OF MANUFACTURE

Many consumers are concerned with where their HVAC equipment was made. Many HVAC manufacturers outsource labor to foreign countries, which can put-off some American consumers. But does the country of manufacture affect the air conditioner’s quality?

Some air conditioner manufacturers have their less expensive air conditioners made in foreign countries to reduce labor costs but keep the manufacturing of higher-tier products are built in the United States. However, some companies make all of their products here in the U.S. However, it is important to remember that the country of manufacture doesn’t generally determine the quality of the air conditioner or its parts. Labor warranties do tend to be better for products made in the U.S., however.

EFFICIENCY

One of the main benefits of a new air conditioner is that you should save money on your monthly energy bills. However, there are a variety of different efficiency levels for these pieces of equipment. High-efficiency air conditioners are going to save you the most money in the long-term, but they are the most costly option up-front. You will need to weigh your options to best decide what you can afford both now and later.

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