Problems With Buying Air Conditioners From Third-Parties Online
These days you can buy and ship almost everything to your house, including an air conditioner (AC). You can buy both used and new systems online. However, the best way to install or replace an air conditioner (AC) is to work with a professional contractor to choose and install the AC. Below are reasons to be wary of online AC purchases from third parties.
Buying an AC from a contractor does not just involve paying money and getting the system delivered, at least not with systems other than portable air conditioners. For ACs that require installation, the contractor should know your cooling needs so that they can suggest an AC that can meet those needs. Your cooling needs depend on factors such as:
- Home size
- Number of rooms
- Building materials
- Ceiling height
- Number of windows
- Local climate
- Number of home occupants
For example, the construction material determines your house's heat gain or loss, which depends on the material's heat conductivity.
You might not get the sizing service if you buy your system online. For example, correct sizing usually requires a home visit, which online HVAC sellers might not do. Thus, you might end up with an undersized or oversized AC. Improper sizing might lead to cooling inefficiency, energy inefficiency, and frequent breakdowns, among other problems.
An AC warranty can save you a lot of money if your AC unexpectedly breaks down or if you realize an AC defect shortly after installation. AC manufacturers offer warranties for product defects, while contractors offer warranties for installation issues. The warranties typically last for several years.
Buying an AC online might exclude you from the warranties if:
- You do not know how to register your unit (many HVAC companies require warranty registration)
- You do not get professional AC installation as manufacturers require
- You buy a used unit whose warranty is not transferable
When you buy an air conditioning unit from a contractor, they will explain the warranty terms and help you register for the manufacturer's warranty.
For a typical AC installation, the contractor will give you a quote that includes labor and installation charges. You will likely deal with multiple charges from different service providers if you buy a unit online. For example:
- The seller might charge individual prices for different parts of the AC
- You might pay for handling and delivery charges
- You might pay for installation separately or contend with DIY installation
Negotiating for multiple services is harder than negotiating for a single service. Thus, a package quote from a contractor may give you a better price than the multiple quotes you might contend with if you deal with online sellers.