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Buying a New A/C Unit? How to Know You are Getting a Good Deal

getting a good deal

According to Natural Resources Canada, every appliance comes with two price tags, one for the cost of the appliance itself, and one that represents what it costs to maintain it.

As a consumer, you can have control over both amounts. But you have a great deal more control over the second price tag when you do your research up front to ensure you are getting an air conditioning unit with a reputation for reliability and efficiency.

In this post, learn what to look for to be sure you are getting a good deal on BOTH costs!

The First Price Tag: Don't Pay More Than You Should on an A/C Unit

The first price tag is the total price of the air conditioning unit, whether you choose to finance the purchase or pay for it all up front.

What to look for to get the very best appliance price:

  • Do comparison research to see what other sellers are charging.

  • Don't be afraid to ask your preferred retailer to match a lower price!

  • Choose a retailer with longevity in the local community and a reputation for high-quality customer service.

  • Review the warranty terms thoroughly to find out how long the unit will be covered and what is covered.

  • Be sure any needed maintenance and/or repairs can be done locally and promptly.

  • Choose a unit with a programmable thermostat and "smart" home control options.

  • Do your research on the brand and model to find out what other consumers say (especially important if you are buying used!).

  • Make sure the appliance is the right match for the size of your space.

  • Consider both ducted and ductless models to find the right fit for your space.

  • Check the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio)—the higher the number, the more energy efficient the unit will be.

  • Find out what the cost (if any) will be for the installation of your new A/C unit.

  • Research the refrigerant the appliance uses (very important if you are buying used!) to make sure it is not R-22, which is now known to deplete the Earth's ozone layer. It should be R-410A or some variation thereof.

  • Have an energy audit done to verify you need a new air conditioner (this could help you qualify for a rebate or energy efficiency tax credit in your province).

  • Try to buy your A/C unit in the off-season or at year-end (just before the new models come out) for better pricing.

  • Look for an Energy Star-rated A/C unit to be sure you get the most energy efficient operation over the long term.

The Second Price Tag: Keep Your Energy Costs Low

The second price tag is the cost to maintain your new A/C unit over time. The ideal scenario is to buy a low-priced unit that is also inexpensive to run and maintain, given that the average air conditioning unit lifespan can be a decade or more.

What to look for to select a unit with low operation and maintenance costs:

  • Price out maintenance contracts to find the best deal for an annual or semi-annual unit inspection and maintenance service call, and schedule your unit's first inspection.

  • Find out the cost of the A/C unit's filters (since this will be a monthly expense for you) and shop around for the best price.

  • Find out what the costs will be for the parts that most commonly need repair or replacement.

  • Consider adding a heat recovery ventilator when you have your A/C unit installed—this will net you additional monthly energy savings.

Additional Ways to Save on Air Conditioning Long Term

While you may not be able to control the price of energy in your local area, you do have control over several other critical elements of your air conditioning costs.

Just understanding how much your energy bill currently fluctuates between high- and low-use months gives you a perfect benchmark for beginning to work towards a reduction in the high-cost months.

These tips will help you keep reducing what you pay for cooling:

Use your programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat can ensure you pay only for air conditioning you actually benefit from. Key programming tips that can help reduce energy costs include increasing the temperature by even 1 or 2 degrees during cooler times of day and programming your unit to not run the A/C while no one is home.

Add fans for ventilation and circulation

Ventilation keeps the air in your home from becoming stale and uncomfortable. Circulation helps you feel cooler even on the hottest days. When you pair the operation of your air conditioning with running ceiling fans or floor fans, this can help keep your indoor air moving, making you feel cooler and more comfortable.

Sign up for an energy-saving maintenance plan

An energy-savings plan can ensure your A/C unit stays well lubricated and maintained so small issues never turn into major, expensive repairs. You can choose annual or semi-annual plans based on your A/C unit's needs.

Contact Shipton's Today

Shipton's Heating & Cooling has been serving the Hamilton and surrounding areas for nearly a century. Our passion is for energy efficient heating and cooling that fits your lifestyle and your budget.

Whether you need assistance selecting the right type and size of air conditioning unit for your home or workplace or you need repairs on an existing unit, we are just a phone call away.

Our giveaway contest runs through the end of this month—if you replace your air conditioner with us this month, you will be entered to win a FREE air conditioner! Learn more about the contest here, or give us a call at 905-549-4616.

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