Lifetime cost refers to the costs entailed in running and maintaining heating and air conditioning equipment on top of the initial first cost of purchase. The first cost of the equipment is usually only 20 to 25 percent of the total lifetime cost. The biggest contributors to lifetime cost are day-to-day operation, utility bills and any repairs that crop up. Additionally, a lower quality system will fail sooner and you will have spend money to replace it sooner.
When choosing new HVAC equipment, a little basic math can help you estimate lifetime cost. You can arrive at an estimation of your annual heating and cooling charges by adding up all the utility bills affected by your HVAC system. On average, roughly 50 percent actually goes to heat and cool your house. So if you heat with gas, add your electric bills and your gas bills together and divide by 2 to get a rough estimate of the cost of your HVAC system for the year. Factor in something for the increasing cost of energy from year to year.
Let’s say one new system offers about 30 percent energy savings, and another, higher efficiency system offers about 50 percent savings. The higher efficiency equipment will be cost more to buy for several reasons, including:
- System components which may be larger or more intricate than in standard systems
- Sophisticated controls
- Efficient motors requiring specialized parts and training to service
Lifetime cost also incorporates regular maintenance and repairs for this specialized equipment. Maintenance is the most important element to keeping equipment functioning at peak efficiency, and keeping lifetime cost down. A scheduled maintenance plan can be an affordable way to keep your system performing at peak efficiency. Lifetime cost takes into account the yearly costs of that plan and any warranties.
Although higher-efficiency equipment may cost more initially, its lifetime cost may be far less than the less expensive, but less efficient equipment. (Calculate the system’s projected payback period to judge if it is a satisfactory investment for you.)
Call P.K. Wadsworth if you’re interested in new HVAC equipment with a lifetime cost that could save you a bundle. We'll help you figure out the real cost of your new equipment.
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