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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Cost Factors of an Air Conditioning or Heating System

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Wed, May 11, 2011 @ 01:42 PM

If you’re in the market for new heating and cooling equipment, be sure to consider more than first-cost price quotes. The first cost, meaning the initial cost, is not the same as the true cost of running the equipment. Four different factors actually create the total cost of an A/C or heating system, and you should consider each when choosing equipment:

air conditioners

  • First cost
  • Operating cost
  • Repair and maintenance cost
  • Future replacement cost

Initial/First Cost

Initial cost, or first cost, is just what it looks like. But don’t get too excited by equipment that has the lowest sticker price.

Operating Cost

This is what you’ll pay in utilities for as long as you have the system.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and measures air conditioner efficiency. If you purchase an efficient 16 SEER A/C unit, don’t make the mistake of assuming it will automatically perform at a 16 SEER level. It’s all too easy for highly rated equipment to perform less efficiently than it was designed to.

Unlike first cost, operating cost is affected by many factors, including:

  • Installation materials and procedures
  • The expertise of installation technicians
  • Ductwork condition
  • Equipment ratings
  • The equipment itself

Repair/Maintenance Cost

This is affected by many of the things that affect operating costs, especially the expertise of installation technicians. For example, if a technician allows moisture to get into refrigerant piping, it could result in a failed compressor down the line.

Along with first cost and operating cost, consider the costs of repairs for the system’s lifespan. A scheduled maintenance plan can keep repairs affordable with timely attention.  Additionally, regular maintenance can reduce your annual utility bills by up to 30%, too. 

Future Replacement Cost

The system's lifespan is just as important as first cost. If it’s properly designed, installed and cared for, it could last 15 years or more. A system falling short on one or more fronts may last only eight years. Of course, the less often your system needs replaced, the more money you save.

Sticker-price is only one factor influencing how much HVAC equipment actually costs. Call P.K. Wadsworth if you’re interested in new heating or cooling equipment. We’re happy to keep you comfortable while saving you money!

Photo credit:  Skeddy in NYC

Topics: air conditioning, hvac professionals, HVAC system

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Welcome! Read our latest posts or explore the archives. You’ll find tips for how to maintain your HVAC equipment to discussions about indoor air quality, conserving energy and saving money, and information about emerging technologies in heating and air conditioning. Bookmark our blog.

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