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Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a New AC or Furnace

February 10, 2016

If you own your home for an extended period of time, you will almost certainly need to replace your air conditioner or furnace sooner or later. These heating and cooling systems cost much more than the typical household appliance, and if you buy a unit that’s not well-suited to residence, you may regret your purchasing decision for as much as a decade or longer. Fortunately, you can increase your chances of buying a suitable AC or furnace by avoiding a few common pitfalls.

Buying an Inappropriately Sized Unit

Furnace and air conditioner manufacturers design their products to work under a certain set of conditions. Key factors here include the size of your home, as well as your home’s layout. If you buy a heating or cooling unit that’s too powerful or too weak for your needs, you can easily experience a number of serious problems, including spikes in your monthly heating or cooling costs, an inability to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout your home and premature failure of one or more components in your AC or furnace.

Not Verifying Your Contractor’s Reputation

Most HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractors are reputable businesspeople who will do their best to provide you with quality work. However, quite frankly, some contractors are incompetent or dishonest. If you don’t verify your contractor’s reputation with other homeowners in your area or (better yet) a trusted service like the Better Business Bureau, you have no way of knowing if he or she will do good work and maintain a safe working environment on your property.

Basing Your Choice Solely on Price

Some HVAC contractors will work for what seems like a very low price. However — as the cliché goes — you get what you pay for, and a cheap contractor may try to cut corners in important ways or simply deliver inferior work. Even if you have a limited budget, it makes sense to balance pricing considerations with the short- and long-term quality of the work you will receive.

Not Locking Down Your Contract

All trustworthy HVAC contractors should be happy to supply you with a contract that details the work they will perform and the price they will charge for this work. This type of detailed contract is critical to your ability to take legal action if something goes wrong or the contractor fails to complete the agreed-upon work at a reasonable price or within a reasonable timeframe.

Leaving Energy Efficiency Out of the Equation

A highly energy-efficient furnace or AC will likely cost you a good deal more money up front than a unit with a much lower efficiency rating. However, the energy-efficient option may actually cost you less money over time if you factor in the long-term impact on your monthly utility bills.

Consulting a Single Contractor

Prices among trustworthy HVAC specialists can vary considerably. If you only talk to a single contractor, you could easily miss out on significant savings in the cost of your unit or your installation fees.

Make sure to follow this blog for ongoing advice on best practices for household heating and cooling.


About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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Danny M.
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The company was able to book an appointment quickly (same day) to fix our AC. Richie arrived on time and was professional and thorough. He was able to repair the issue and provide recommendations on other options. Appreciate the quick turnaround and quality service.
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I had a wonderful experience! Ruben could not have been more helpful, professional, kind, experienced and communicative. My system is very old and he was extremely knowledgeable about the older system. He did a thorough check and answered all of my questions. Wonderful customer care as well. I can't recommend Ruben & Brody Pennell more!
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Giovanny Quintero was very helpful in making our decision to upgrade. He took very clear & comprehensive photos of the existing problems in our system & then provided an accurate assessment & description of what the problems meant & how they would develop & worsen with continued use. My wife & I were very impressed with Giovanny, he was very knowledgeable & personable.
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zubin H.
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Daniel Avila was my technician and he was great. Very informative and did a great job.
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Maurice & Alberto.m worked on our system and was very nice and hard working me and Patricia bell recommend them coming back!!
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Armando was very thorough and checked all the boxes during my bi-annual service call. He quickly changed my filters and was very cordiale and easy to work with as well.10/10!
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Ivan came and helped me fix my AC today and it was as pain free and quick as could be! He replaced a part for us the same day and was a professional, kind young man. Couldn’t be happier to have working AC in the summer sun :)
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Did a great job. I’m very pleased
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The technician provided excellent service. He was knowledgeable, professional, thorough, efficient, clean and courteous. Thank you.
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Angel O. and Alberta M. were just here to do the yearly maintenance on our A/C. They did a fabulous job! So thorough and extensive. They were thoughtful and respectful and answered all my questions. They adjusted vents that will make our summer more comfortable. Could not be happier with the work and workers!
Jay S.
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Maurice went the extra mile and did an excellent job with tune up of our A/C unit. He shared photos, explained everything he was doing, made proper recommendations! Thanks Maurice!
Curtis J.
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James provided diagnosis that was.consistent with.his estimateI am satisfied with his work
lisa V.
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Anthony Manzo was here today to service my HVAC unit! He was an absolute pleasure having him in my home. Anthony is a total pro. Very knowledgeable and informative. He is welcome back anytime future service calls. Same goes for Supervisor Ashton K who also inspected my AC unit and advised me on options to replace my very, VERY old AC. Thank you Ashton, Anthony and Brody Pennell.Diego and Jose just finished installing my new 3.5 Ton Carrier AC. What a job. They were both lovely and super hard workers. They answered my silly questions throughout the day. They did a great job. Thanks all!
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Mr. Juan Molina was prompt professional and easily explained the situation and offered practical solutions. ThankYou
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Daniel (service tech) was timely and efficient. He clearly explained all the items serviced in both units (including pictures) and made recommendations to keep them operational.
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Anthony Monzo and David Escamilla were fantastic. They were able to access systems in really challenging locations and provide explanations of what was happening complete with photos and videos they took. Highly recommend them.Follow-up... The next week, a team came to install the new system led by Christian. It was a very difficult project but they were very thorough. Steven came the following day to trouble shoot a few issues and the following day Jose Rivera and Alessandro wrapped up the project. All folks were very professional and made sure to leave the house clean.
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Rene did a great job - very knowledgeable and even gave me tips not related to the job that needed to be done. Oh and also very friendly!
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3/22 - clean, fast, courteous job with Troy and Phil. Very polite and thorough! Another fantastic job by the people at BrodyYet another pleasant service experience with Marcos!!! Also told me about an air scrubber install that Brody can do as well.10/9: another great job by Steven7/11/24: just another shoutout to Jose Castillo
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