If you own your home for an extended period of time, you will almost certainly need to replace your air conditioner or furnace sooner or later. These heating and cooling systems cost much more than the typical household appliance, and if you buy a unit that’s not well-suited to residence, you may regret your purchasing decision for as much as a decade or longer. Fortunately, you can increase your chances of buying a suitable AC or furnace by avoiding a few common pitfalls.
Buying an Inappropriately Sized Unit
Furnace and air conditioner manufacturers design their products to work under a certain set of conditions. Key factors here include the size of your home, as well as your home’s layout. If you buy a heating or cooling unit that’s too powerful or too weak for your needs, you can easily experience a number of serious problems, including spikes in your monthly heating or cooling costs, an inability to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout your home and premature failure of one or more components in your AC or furnace.
Not Verifying Your Contractor’s Reputation
Most HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractors are reputable businesspeople who will do their best to provide you with quality work. However, quite frankly, some contractors are incompetent or dishonest. If you don’t verify your contractor’s reputation with other homeowners in your area or (better yet) a trusted service like the Better Business Bureau, you have no way of knowing if he or she will do good work and maintain a safe working environment on your property.
Basing Your Choice Solely on Price
Some HVAC contractors will work for what seems like a very low price. However — as the cliché goes — you get what you pay for, and a cheap contractor may try to cut corners in important ways or simply deliver inferior work. Even if you have a limited budget, it makes sense to balance pricing considerations with the short- and long-term quality of the work you will receive.
Not Locking Down Your Contract
All trustworthy HVAC contractors should be happy to supply you with a contract that details the work they will perform and the price they will charge for this work. This type of detailed contract is critical to your ability to take legal action if something goes wrong or the contractor fails to complete the agreed-upon work at a reasonable price or within a reasonable timeframe.
Leaving Energy Efficiency Out of the Equation
A highly energy-efficient furnace or AC will likely cost you a good deal more money up front than a unit with a much lower efficiency rating. However, the energy-efficient option may actually cost you less money over time if you factor in the long-term impact on your monthly utility bills.
Consulting a Single Contractor
Prices among trustworthy HVAC specialists can vary considerably. If you only talk to a single contractor, you could easily miss out on significant savings in the cost of your unit or your installation fees.
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