How to Compare First Time A/C Replacement Costs With Lifetime Costs

Replacing your home’s central air conditioning system shouldn’t be a “slam-bam, thank-you ma’am” process, if you want it done right. When buying a new A/C, you should consider both the first-time costs and lifetime costs. In most cases, if the first costs are low, you’ll be faced with higher lifetime costs.

First-Time Costs

These A/C replacement costs include the purchase price plus installation, basically, the amount of money it requires to get a new A/C cooling your home. As stated in the old rule, “you get what you pay for,” if you’re buying a low-quality, mid-efficiency A/C, with slapdash installation, you’ll end up spending more later.

Lifetime Costs

Over the lifetime of your new central A/C, you’ll pay operating costs every month on your electric bill, plus regular maintenance along with whatever repairs are needed. Factors that affect these lifetime costs include:

  • Energy efficiency: At purchase, you’ll have to decide the energy-efficiency level of your new A/C. While mid-efficiency models are available with Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios (SEER) of 13 or 14 (the minimum allowed), you’ll reap greater energy savings over the lifetime of your central air conditioner with a SEER 16-18 model. These energy savings, at some point relatively early in your ownership of the cooling system, will exceed the extra cost you paid for the model.
  • Quality parts and workmanship. Just like anything, an A/C that’s made by a company with a reputation for quality likely will last longer with fewer repairs than a knock-off brand. It also will operate more efficiently and deliver more consistent and comfortable cooling.
  • Professional installation. You’ll pay higher lifetime costs for your A/C if the installation process cuts corners on sizing and other important aspects of installation. A quality installation should include a cooling load calculation as a requisite to determining the proper size A/C for your particular home. The installation also should include careful charging of refrigerant and adjustment of airflow, both essential factors in efficiency and performance.

For more help assessing A/C replacement costs for your San Antonio home, contact us at Beyer Boys.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Maxx-Studio/Shutterstock”

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