With so many other items now available on the internet, it’s not surprising that some folks consider buying an HVAC system online, too. However, if you take into account the initial investment you’re making, the monthly costs of operating the unit in the future and the overall indoor comfort level you’ll be living with for as long as it’s installed, certain X-factors involved in buying an HVAC system online deserve a closer look.
Are you getting the correct size?
In HVAC terminology, “sizing” is a term that refers to matching the capacity of an A/C or furnace to your home’s exact cooling and heating requirements. The size of a given unit you purchase must be based on a professional load calculation—a survey of the specific thermal characteristics of your house using industry-standard software to determine the correct capacity of an air conditioner or furnace. A load calculation can’t be performed on a website, and rough guesstimates aren’t good enough. Without a professional load calculation, purchasing an over-sized or under-sized unit on a website may leave you locked into higher operating costs and poor cooling/heating performance for as long as the system is installed.
What about installation?
Installing HVAC systems isn’t a job for a do-it-yourselfer nor a neighborhood jack-of-all-trades. Household safety could be compromised by a unit installed improperly—furnaces, for example, utilize an open flame and produce combustion byproducts including deadly carbon monoxide gas. System performance and efficiency are also impacted by a sub-standard installation. Due to possible liability if a unit purchased from an unknown online source is faulty, professional HVAC contractors certified to perform installations usually limit services to systems purchased from a name-brand manufacturer or local supplier.
Is the warranty valid?
Many name-brand HVAC manufacturers state clearly that the warranty is not valid if the unit was purchased online. In other cases, the warranty is valid only if a professional load calculation is performed, and the installed unit is inspected and tested by a qualified local HVAC contractor.
Before buying an HVAC system online, ask the pros at CCAC for more information about possible drawbacks