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Air Conditioning Replacement Tips

Updated on December 2, 2012

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Air conditioning makes hot summers bearable, and can be an absolute necessity if you or a family member have health problems that make heat exposure dangerous. Since even simple window units can cost hundreds of dollars to buy and install, planning ahead for air conditioner replacement is important. Here are some tips for getting the quality air conditioning system, and installation service, that you need at a reasonable price :

Research Air Conditioner Suppliers and Contractors

If you need to replace your air conditioner, it's important to research options for both buying a new system and hiring someone to perform the installation. Replacing a simple window unit may not require hiring an installer, so your primary concern will be the retailer's reputation. If you plan to have your system or unit professionally installed, take some time investigating the HVAC contractor's reputation.

It's generally a good idea to begin this research several months before summer begins: During hot months, there can be a high demand for HVAC services and inexpensive window units, so get your replacement project done ahead of time to avoid long waits and higher prices.

Ask About Subcontracting

Some retailers, including many department stores, subcontract the installation of HVAC systems to third-party companies. This can be problematic if there is a miscommunication between the HVAC contractor and the retailer. It can also lead to a situation where the contractor and the retailer blame each other for poor service, leaving you frustrated. When possible, buy your air conditioning service from the same company that installs it. If you really like a particular retailer, be sure to research online reviews on how well the retailer's subcontractors perform when installing HVAC systems.

Check HVAC Licensing Status

If your state licenses HVAC technicians or contracting firms, be sure that the HVAC company or technician holds a valid license and a clean disciplinary record. Your state's department of professional licensing can put you in touch with the HVAC licensing commission.

Compare Units

Manufacturer and retail websites alike contain a lot of information about air conditioning systems and individual units. While getting a good deal upfront is important, don't forget that you'll have to pay for the electricity to run your air conditioning, so pay attention to energy efficiency. If you are confused about your needs, it may pay to talk to a salesperson or HVAC technician before making a purchase.

Ask About Service Contracts and Warranties

Some contractors or retailers may try to sell you a service contract or extended warranty. In some cases, purchasing a service contract or extended warranty may make sense, but be cautious. Both warranties and service contracts are only as good as the business offering them and there is the real risk of the company offering the contract or warranty going out of business. Air conditioning units usually come with a warranty, so read it over. If the warranty offers decent protection and the unit itself has a reputation for quality, you may not need to spend the extra money for a service contract or warranty extension.


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