It's often referred to as “buyer's remorse” or “buyer's regret.” For many people, it's a car. For others, it's a recreational “toy” such as a boat or a sleek speed bike. In the worst cases, it's a vacation property or even a house. Most of us have made one major purchase in our lives that, if we could rewind the past, we would almost certainly not make again.
A central air conditioning system is a major expense – and one that most people don't plan for, even if the telltale signs of a faltering system are all there. Delay and postponement are easy tactics to understand, but at some point, it becomes clear that it makes little sense to continue spending hard-earned money to repair, say, a 22-year-old system that has already outlasted its projected lifespan by at least two years.
The benefits add up to savings, comfort
If you need just a little more reassurance that you're making a wise investment, take it from the U.S. Department of Energy - the benefits of purchasing a new, Energy Star system are numerous, varied and, frankly, downright impressive:
- Just as those rusty, old cars you sometimes see on the road are gas guzzlers, old air conditioners are energy guzzlers. Air conditioning systems are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), or the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Many older systems have SEER ratings of six or less; the minimum SEER allowed today is 13. Given this disparity, the department of energy says that “even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20 percent to 40 percent of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.”
It's also important to consider how long it will take to recoup your investment in a new system. For some customers, it takes only a few years, especially if they take steps to ensure that their home is properly insulated and their ductwork is sound and secure.
- Just as those rusty, old cars leave their mark on the environment, so do old air conditioning systems. A new system is a “greener” system because it uses a safer form of refrigerant.
- While you cannot put a price on reliability, you can easily tally the amount of money you've spent to repair your air conditioner to keep it running over, say, the last two years. A new system frees you of the worry of breakdowns and repairs – and the stress both can create on your monthly budget. And if a fluke does occur with a new system, it's almost certainly covered under the system warranty.
- Today's high efficiency systems feature variable speed motors, which work to ensure consistent air flow and remove impurities from the air. This means you're likely to feel more regulated temperatures and better air quality after the installation of a new system.
- Even if your present system isn't a big noise-maker, you'll probably be surprised by how quiet a new air conditioning system is by comparison.
- You might not be planning to leave your home this year or even next year. But what about five years from now? If a life change or job change occurs, you can rest assured: a new system will enhance the marketability of your home.
Proper sizing and installation of a central air conditioning system are paramount to achieving efficiency, as is regular maintenance. Contact an expert in Chico at The Hignell Companies for a consultation so that we can answer your questions and put your mind at ease about this major investment. While we can't rewind the past on the other major purchases in your life, we can definitely help you refrain from sweating this one.