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Why You Shouldn’t Go Cheap On An Air Conditioning Investment

3rd November 2017

Modern air conditioning systems are very complex; a combination of electrical and mechanical components, all with separate units serving separate locations with varying amounts of cabling and refrigeration pipe work and system controls. Any of these parts could fail if they are poorly designed, or are incorrectly installed. Replacing compressors, fan motors or electrical controls can be costly, but if you don’t monitor these or don’t maintain them you will most likely face problems; your system won’t run to its full potential, or it will be running inefficiently and will cost you more money, or it may not run at all. Learning the hard way is never fun, and there are ways to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
Buying and installing an air conditioning system is an ‘investment’ because that is what it is; you are paying money now for something that will save you money in the long term. The usual lifespan of an air conditioning unit is 15-20 years, if maintained correctly, so that is a long time to be stuck with an inefficient system that costs you a lot of money in repairs, down time and expensive heating bills, just so that you can save a few hundred pounds on the initial costs. So, you should avoid simply going for the lowest price and look at the long term benefits of a system and a quality installation.

What can go wrong with a cheap air conditioning installation?
A cheap installation can result in expensive repairs if the system fails, this could be down to poor quality parts or a poor quality installation. A new compressor and PC board for an outdoor condensing unit can be very expensive to source and then install, and in some cases it may be cheaper to replace the whole outdoor unit. With replacement parts, cheaper brands are less likely to have spare parts readily available, whereas the bigger brands have recognised stockists all over the country and also have more engineers who are familiar with handling and fitting those parts, and hence, you are more likely to be back up and running quicker and cheaper.
Of course, like any equipment installation, it is important to make sure the warranty you receive is watertight, and these are often only available from the bigger, more established names such as Mitsubishi Electric, Daikin, Toshiba or Fujitsu to name a few. In addition to that, most good dealers are local experts who will offer you a quality installation package if you buy the equipment from them. They should also offer an after-sales service and maintenance agreement, which you should seriously consider, but this should also offer you some confidence that this company is not simply going to install your system cheaply and then disappear. If there are problems in the future – and sometimes there are for legitimate reasons – then they are available to rectify them.

Why you should avoid a cheap air conditioning installation
It is natural for a cheap installation price to hold some appeal. New installations are a significant investment and sometimes if you are paying a little extra for the unit itself, you want to save on the installation. However, in addition to considering price, you need to check a company’s credentials. How experienced are their engineers? Are they qualified? What customer testimonials can they show you? This can all tell you a very interesting story and can help to pre-empt potential issues.
If an installation engineer is not fully qualified, then he may not be covered by insurance. This will allow them less overhead on a job, and hence if they are charging a low price for an installation it is because they want to get the job done quickly and will cut corners in order to do that. A rush job could result in many problems such as refrigerant leaks. Other ways to undercut a better-quality installation is to lay the interconnecting refrigeration pipe works in the suspended ceiling void with cable ties, as opposed to fixing it to galvanised cable tray or by using purpose made hangers. It is important to remember that these systems operate at around 400 psi (pounds per square inch) pressure and also to use flexible ducting rather than galvanised rectangular or spiral duct, when installing any void mounted ducted systems. or not fitting isolators on outdoor units. We regularly come across installations where the installer has supplied a mains electrical supply straight to the units without suppling an isolator, which does not comply with the current NIC EIC regulations.
There are many ways to install a unit cheaply that may not be immediately apparent, but will lead to much faster wear and tear, leaks or malfunctions. Sometimes a poor installation is only visible when the system fails, but you may also be able to spot it in your bills, ie. not seeing the full savings you expected and high running costs. Either way, it is recommended to invest wisely in good equipment and a quality installation and the return on that investment will undoubtedly arrive quicker.

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