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The Consequences Of Buying A Cheaper Air Conditioning System

Alex Chiba, Service HVAC Technician

Alex has over 10 years of experience as an HVAC technician. He is skilled and passionate about on-going maintenance of air conditioning. Over his career, Alex has resolved many different types of faults in air conditioning. Alex enjoys an active lifestyle if he’s not playing soccer you can find him and his friends trekking all across NSW.

If you want to beat the freezing winter or sweltering summer temperatures, you need to invest in a good air conditioner. But with so many models out there, buying the perfect unit can be bewildering.

Air conditioning systems vary in terms of size, cooling capacity, energy efficiency, and price. No matter what anyone tells you, there is never a good time to buy a cheap air conditioner. Truth be told, as consumers, we are all after a great deal, but there are consequences for compromising on quality. According to a British Philosopher (John Ruskin), buying a cheap product is not always a smarter or more economical choice. So why invest in a cheaper unit that is not going to meet your needs and cost you more in the long run?

“It is unwise to pay too much, but it is also unwise to pay too little… when you pay too little you compromise on product quality. This can make the small amount which you save insignificant, as the thing you bought is incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do.”

This holds true today, and here are some of the consequences of paying too little:

  • High heating and cooling bills
  • Shortened equipment life
  • Frequent breakdowns
  • Comfort problems
  • Unsafe operation
  • General frustration, and overall, poor return on your investment

A cheap air conditioning system does not work the same as the high-end models. Modern Aircon units have advanced features which make the tedious task of cooling or heating your home a breeze. Obviously, you need to consider the financial implications of getting a cheaper unit. If you are not careful, the device you buy could end up taking a large portion out of your utility bill. Let’s look at the consequences of buying a cheaper air conditioning system.

High cost and cooling bills

Cost is usually a concern for homeowners. Sometimes, it’s quite hard to deal with these unpredictable spikes in the budget. If you’re looking for a way of taming your electricity bill, make sure you invest in a good air conditioning system. Cheaper units will require more power to do the bare minimum in your home. Not to mention, cheap Air Conditioning systems don’t have a programmable thermostat which could lower your cooling bills by 10%. This feature comes in handy when you forget to turn your unit off.

Be sure to invest in a unit with a great energy rating (the more stars the more energy efficient). Modern Air Conditioning systems have a higher energy rating which means they use less energy.

While most air conditioning systems have a lifespan of 10-20 years, some cheap air conditioners are inferior in terms of quality and their lifespan is much shorter. As the system ages, it will become less efficient while increasing your utility costs. When you buy a decent system, you should expect it to run for 15-30 years. Just like any other home appliance, an expensive air conditioning system will last longer than the cheap counterparts.

Frequent breakdowns

If your air conditioning unit keeps breaking, it may not be able to handle the summer heat or the cold winter. This normally starts with something as simple as a dirty filter and before you know it, you’re forced to repair the whole system. Sometimes the cost of repairs is higher than buying an entirely new unit.

Most cheaper Air Conditioning systems tend to clog the filter, and the worst part is that the unit is forced to work extra hard. The harder your air con works the more likely it is to overheat and break down. While staying up to date with maintenance is crucial for any unit, you may want to invest in a modern machine that does not break down more often. Believe it or not, a cheap system will break when you need it most.

Comfort problems

During the hot summer days, we want a cool and comfortable environment. With the right AC unit, you should expect a blast of cool air in your house when you need it most. The best air conditioners use variable-speed so that you can enjoy the comfort and outstanding efficiency. Other than that, they are equipped with a thermostat which helps to control the temperature. You can set different modes like auto, cool, dry, or heat to suit your needs.

Most high-end models have remarkable cooling speed. While the technology used may vary from one model to another, the top brands have cool ratings. A cheap model can take between 4-6 hours to cool the room completely while a more reputable brand can take less than one hour.

Unsafe operation

The safety of your kids and pets should come first when investing in a new AC unit. While a cheap air conditioner can serve you for a couple of months, it can also catch fire when it’s not well maintained and cause other hazards. The filters tend to wear out resulting in the malfunctioning of the system. When dirt accumulates on the filters it obstructs the airflow, making the unit overheat. When heat accumulates on the air conditioning, the temperatures go higher and possibly igniting combustibles near the pipes. Every year thousands of fires are reported in Australia, most of them are associated with electrical and mechanical failure of AC units. To prevent the risk of fire you should not invest in a unit that does not meet the safety standards.

Poor return on investment (ROI)

While ROI is often overlooked when buying an air condition system, it can help the consumer in calculating the basic costs. A good system will help you recoup more than 50% of the cost when you sell your home. To calculate the return on investment you need to pay close attention to the energy rating (the more stars the more energy efficient). The best models have an energy efficiency rating between 6-10. Of course, you will pay more for the initial purchase, but you will also be saving on your utility bill from the first use.

Secondly, get transportation and installation costs. Thirdly, calculate the number of days/years you’re going to use the system. Finally, get the average cost of electricity per hour. Most cheap air conditioning units give a poor return on investment. This is also due to frequent maintenance costs.

Minimal warranty protection

A new air conditioner is a large investment in your home. In addition to the features, you should pay close attention to the warranty. If something goes wrong the first few months or years, the manufacturer should minimize your frustration by covering the repairs free of charge. Most expensive units come with a warranty term of 5 or more years.

It’s prudent that you look for an AC system backed by a longer warranty term. This is not the case with most of the cheap models out there. Most of them will give 1-2 years warranty, which can be disastrous in the long-term. These cutbacks are offered by the manufacturer because they know the units will break down more often. If anything happens to your machine after the warranty period, you’re on your own. Why take that risk?

Final thoughts

One of the toughest decisions you can ever make as a homeowner is to buy an air conditioning unit. Whether you need to upgrade or replace your existing system or get a brand new one, you should not invest in a cheap product that compromises on quality. From the above information, you may want to steer clear of cheaper air conditioning systems.

Call us on (02) 8061 5028 to make a booking with our insured friendly air conditioning technicians today.