If your air conditioner is acting, you may be worrying that it will not get you through the rest of summer. But before you make an air conditioner purchase, remember this: an A/C replacement is about more than just the initial cost. You’ve got to compare the price tag with the unit’s lifetime cost to make a wise investment.
Consider Initial Cost
It’s easy to think the air conditioner with the lowest price tag is the way to go. The purchase price is just the beginning of what you’ll pay to own and operate/maintain a new A/C. Keep in mind that the initial cost is affected most profoundly by the unit’s energy efficiency, known as the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER).
Consider Lifetime Costs
Sit down with a heating and cooling contractor to figure out the payback period of purchasing a more expensive A/C replacement. Here are the lifetime costs to consider:
- Energy bills – As the single largest continuing cost of owning an air conditioner, energy consumption is the first lifetime cost to consider. By paying a few hundred dollars extra upfront for a unit with a SEER of up to 18 instead of the minimum rating of 13, you could save as much as 35 percent on energy bills.
- Repairs – You can’t predict when you’ll need repairs, but you can reduce their frequency by investing in a high-quality A/C replacement from the get-go. Higher-priced systems with durable components are built to last, saving you money in the long run by reducing the need for repairs. Often, better units come with extended warranties that defray the cost of repairs.
- Maintenance – All air conditioners should receive annual preventive maintenance to keep the equipment in good working order. This is true whether you’ve had your system for one year or a full decade. It’s a wise investment that decreases the lifetime costs of your air conditioner by reducing breakdowns and increasing energy efficiency.
For help determining the payback period of your A/C replacement, please