Are you planning on replacing or upgrading your air conditioner soon? If so, you need to be sure that you’re factoring in both upfront and lifetime costs on any system you’re considering. Many homeowners concentrate on the purchase price of the unit and don’t pay attention to the lifetime costs of an air conditioner. This can end up costing hundreds or thousands of dollars more over the lifetime of the unit.
Lifetime Costs of an Air Conditioner
Upfront, or first costs are anything to do with the initial purchase and installation of a new air conditioning system. This includes the purchase price, installation costs and any other work involved, like adding ductwork, prepping the site or installing a new thermostat.
Once you purchase and install a new air conditioner, you’ll have ongoing costs for running the system, including maintenance and repairs. Those are the lifetime costs — costs that occur throughout the system’s lifetime, which can range from 10 to 20 years.
Certain factors play a role in what the lifetime costs of an air conditioner are going to be.
- Quality – Manufacturers of high-quality A/Cs use parts and manufacturing techniques that meet higher standards. These systems often include advanced features that can keep operating costs down, like a two-stage compressor. These advanced components use less electricity and extend the life of the unit.
- Durability – Higher quality parts usually last longer than lower quality ones, requiring fewer repairs and lower repair costs over the cooling system’s life. It usually means the air conditioner will last several more years than a lower quality option, which means a delay in future replacement costs as well.
- Lower maintenance costs – Higher efficiency air conditioners use less energy and run at lower speeds. That translates into less maintenance over time. In most cases, an annual maintenance call is more than enough to keep the unit running efficiently throughout the hot season.
- Quality of installation – Even the most efficient A/C will cost more to run if it’s not installed properly. It pays to have a high-quality air conditioning company do the work, even if it costs a bit more.
- Energy efficiency – Most higher quality A/C systems are made to be highly efficient. They use advanced technologies to run at the absolute minimum to maintain the home’s comfort level. This lowers energy costs significantly. Look for a unit that has a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The minimum on the market today is 13, and the highest efficiency options are over 20. The higher the SEER, the more energy savings you’ll likely see.
Most A/C manufacturers provide information on the estimated lifetime costs of the units they make. This gives you the ability to compare different air conditioners along with their upfront costs. Your A/C contractor can help you figure out the total cost for any unit you want.
Comparing First Costs and Lifetime Costs
There’s a correlation between the two. In general, if an A/C costs more upfront, it’s likely going to cost less to operate, maintain and repair over its lifetime. If a new air conditioner costs less upfront, it’s likely going to cost more to operate, maintain and repair over the years.
The lifetime costs of an air conditioner are as important to consider as first costs when it comes to replacing or upgrading your current system. Learn more about Sun Kool Air Conditioning’s A/C options, or contact us at 352-282-4763 to schedule an appointment.