Making the right call when it’s time for A/C replacement means considering two kinds of costs. With some consumer purchases, the total expense ends once the upfront purchase price is paid. When comparison shopping cooling and heating systems, however, both the first cost and the long-term lifetime cost of a given unit have to be calculated to gain a realistic estimate of the total price.
Here are some guidelines to help you make the distinction when shopping for an A/C replacement.
• This is the cost you incur once the deal is struck with your HVAC dealer or contractor and any available rebates or discounts are applied. Generally, you can expect the sticker price of an A/C replacement to increase in direct proportion to the unit’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating. The higher the SEER, the more advanced the technology incorporated in the unit and the steeper the sticker price.
• A low first cost doesn’t guarantee lower costs down the road. Likewise, an air conditioner that’s more expensive upfront may deliver greater affordability over the span of its expected service life.
• The SEER rating of an air conditioner also relates to long-run costs. SEER is usually a reliable gauge of expected monthly utility costs due to energy consumption. An A/C replacement with a high SEER above 14 can be expected to generate lower recurrent monthly energy expenses than a standard SEER 13 unit. Whether these savings will repay the steeper initial investment in a reasonable time span depends upon variables like the average length of the cooling season in your locale and the overall efficiency of your house.
• Other factors influencing lifetime operating costs are build quality, durability and maintenance. A low-cost unit that requires frequent repairs and early replacement isn’t a long-term bargain. Similarly, the buyer must consider the expense of annual routine maintenance, typically required by the manufacturer’s warranty and performed by an HVAC professional, when calculating lifetime costs.
For more help comparing the first costs versus lifetime costs of an A/C replacement for your greater Cincinnati home, talk to the experts at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
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