5 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying a Used HVAC System

HVAC unit against a white background.

Summer without air conditioning can be downright miserable in the Fairfax area. If your air conditioner goes out and money is tight, you may be considering buying a used HVAC system to save on the cost of a new one. Today we're going to answer some common questions about buying used HVAC equipment.

1. What Do You Know About the Equipment?

When you buy a new HVAC system, you generally focus on buying a good brand. You don't have to worry too much about the individual unit you're buying. Since it's new, it's unlikely to have developed any problems. If you find that there's a manufacturer's defect, that's typically covered by warranty. You can be pretty confident you're getting a machine that will work well for the foreseeable future.

When you buy used, you don't have that assurance. You have to learn what you can about the equipment's history. If you're buying a barely used system from a reputable dealer, you may be getting a good deal. If you're buying it from a homeowner, you need to ask yourself why he's selling it in the first place. Does it even work? Did he maintain it? How often has it needed repairs before now? If you can't be confident that the equipment is in as good shape as the seller says, you're taking a huge chance by buying it.

2. Is There Any Kind of Warranty?

New equipment typically comes with a manufacturer's warranty. The coverage of the warranty varies based on the manufacturer, but major brands typically offer a 10-year limited warranty.

While you can transfer many warranties if you sell your home, you can't transfer them if you remove your HVAC system from the property where it was originally installed.

3. Are You Buying the Right Equipment For Your Home?

Correct air conditioner sizing is vital for good performance. When your A/C is the wrong size, you either waste energy with a system struggling to keep up, or you end up with moisture build-up from a system cycling off too frequently. If you don't know how to calculate the correct size of the HVAC system you need, you run the risk of buying equipment that causes more problems than solves.

4. Who Will Install Your Equipment?

Professional HVAC installers are often reluctant to install any system that they can't guarantee will work. If an installer puts in a used system and it doesn't work, there's no way of telling if the fault was with the equipment or the installation.

That leaves you with general contractors -- or your neighbor's cousin -- who may or may not know much about air conditioner installation. Since one of the biggest causes of A/C malfunction is improper installation, you're taking a big risk.

5. What If I Want New Equipment But I'm Not Made of Money?

There's no doubt new HVAC equipment is a big investment. However, the benefits of having a new system with a full life ahead of it can't be ignored. New systems tend to be more energy-efficient, so you save money on your energy bills. The security of professional installation and warranties are important factors to balance against the lower cost of used equipment.

If you can't afford the entire price of new HVAC equipment upfront, financing is a viable option. Sometimes you can get rebates or special coupons that help offset the cost, too. Ultimately, buying a new system is the more prudent choice. Call Air Treatment Company today at (703) 270-0881 and we'll help you figure out your options.

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