Purchasing a Unit Online vs. Through a Contractor

Purchasing a Unit Online vs. Through a Contractor

08 Oct 2014

In the age of buying everything online, some customers are now considering buying HVAC systems online as well in order to save money. While it’s certainly possible to get a good price on an HVAC system online — sometimes even with free two-day shipping — it isn’t necessarily the best deal. There are a number of factors that can quickly eliminate any savings from an online purchase.

It Takes an Expert to Right-Size an HVAC Unit

If you buy an HVAC system online, you might try to size it based solely on rules of thumb like 12,000 BTUs per 500 square feet. This might be a good starting point to get you in the right ballpark, but your home’s heating and cooling needs are determined by far more than its square footage. Do you have one floor or more? How good is the insulation? Where are the appliances? What is the sun exposure? To make sure you don’t end up with a system that’s inefficient because it’s too big or too small, you should have an experienced HVAC professional inspect your home for these factors and more.

An EPA License is Required to Handle Refrigerant

Are you getting a central air conditioner? Unless you have an EPA license, running the refrigerant lines and charging the system yourself could lead to a $10,000 fine. This is not an unenforced technicality like cutting the tag off of a sofa — refrigerant leaks are a big cause of ozone damage, so the EPA takes this very seriously.

Will a Contractor Install It?

You might be thinking that you can buy a HVAC system to get the online price and then hire a pro to install it. You’ll likely have a hard time finding someone who is willing to schedule an appointment. The reason is that good HVAC companies back their work and the systems they sell with warranties and other guarantees. If you’ve picked a system that isn’t quite right for your home or that might have been damaged during shipping, it’s the company’s reputation that’s at risk when something goes wrong. To make sure everything goes smoothly, most companies will insist on helping you through the process to make sure you make an informed decision.

Poor Installation May Void the Warranty

If something does go wrong with the system, you could find yourself making a warranty claim. When the manufacturer inspects your system, if they find that the damage was caused by a poorly installed part, bad electrical connection, improperly-sized ducts, or other installation errors, there’s a good chance they will deny the claim. If you go with a HVAC contractor, they should back their work and cover any damage due to their errors. Plus, their experience means they’ll be far less likely to make errors in the first place.

To get the peace of mind of a professional installation, contact Bodine-Scott Air Conditioning Co. today.

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