These days, you’re only a discount outlet, fire sale or keyboard click away from furnishing your whole home. You don’t even need to step outside your door to compare prices, load up your virtual shopping cart and wheel it through to the checkout. It’s no different with air conditioners. A quick google and you’ll find some astonishingly cheap air conditioners up for grabs in Brisbane. But, is your cheap air conditioner really the bargain of the century or could you be getting an inefficient, clunky piece of scrap metal that might prove more costly than you could ever imagine?
Why are some air conditioners cheaper than others?
There are many reasons why an air conditioner might be cheaper than other models on the market. It might be a legitimate bargain. That particular model may have been superseded by a newer model, so the older models are being sold off to make way for the new. It might be a factory-reconditioned return; a unit that was faulty and was returned to the manufacturer under warranty for repair. It may be discounted because it’s a lesser-known brand struggling to compete with its better-known competitors. Its manufacturer might be flooding the market with cheap air conditioners in the hope of improving brand recognition. Or, perhaps most worrying, it could have been made from inferior materials or components in a dodgy factory overseas and might not comply with Australian Standards. Buying a cheap air conditioner can be a bit like internet dating. It might look attractive at first glance, but do you really know what you’re getting yourself into?
The risks associated with buying a cheap air conditioner
Potentially, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a cheap air conditioner:
The biggest risk associated with buying a cheap air conditioner is that you might be compromising your family’s safety. As with any electrical appliance, there’s always a risk of fire or electrocution if the air conditioner is not manufactured in accordance with the strict standards applicable in Australia. If your air conditioner doesn’t comply with Australian Standards or hasn’t been subjected to the barrage of safety testing good quality air conditioners undergo as a matter of course, it can potentially void your insurance if it causes a fire, not to mention placing your family’s lives at risk.
Purchasing a cheap air conditioner may also mean that you get left with an air conditioning unit that vibrates more and is much noisier than you would expect. This is because it might not be as well insulated or as well-made as it should be. Apart from being annoying to you, it can drive your neighbours to distraction. It might even result in a noise complaint. Your local council can issue an on-the-spot fine if your air conditioner is too noisy. And, as Brisbane becomes more densely populated, you need to be increasingly mindful about noise as an issue. Air conditioners are fast becoming one of the biggest culprits contributing to noise complaints in Brisbane.
You get what you pay for
A cheap air conditioner can mean inferior parts or poor manufacturing processes. This can lead to breakdowns, an air conditioner that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, and costly repairs. For example, in a ducted unit, the ducting might be of a poor quality and lack insulation, meaning that the cooled air may leak out into your roof space. Your air conditioner might therefore not be as efficient as it should be and could end up costing you a fortune in the long run.
No advice when buying
One of the other pitfalls associated with buying a cheap air conditioner is that you’re purchasing a big ticket item without the advice and expertise of a professional. It can be very difficult to know whether a particular air conditioner is powerful enough to cool your home or whether it’s the best option on the market. How else can you tell whether you’re dealing with a reputable manufacturer with a good track record of safety and after sales service, or a shonky fly-by-nighter?
No follow-up service and problems with repairs and replacement parts
Buying a cheap air conditioner might also mean that you won’t have any follow-up service. You might find it very difficult to find a tradesman familiar with that brand. Replacement parts may be difficult or even impossible to source, particularly if the company or brand suddenly disappears. Some cheaper air conditioners on the market have even been criticised for having no part numbers, making replacement parts impossible to obtain. In other cases, the initial air conditioning unit is very cheap but buyers pay a premium on shipping of any replacement parts to Australia. That can make it a very expensive exercise in the long run. What’s more, you might end up with a warranty that’s completely unenforceable and therefore worthless in the event that something goes wrong.
Things to look for when buying an air conditioner
There are many things that you should look for when buying an air conditioner to ensure that you get a superior product that’s ideal for your particular situation:
• Look for air conditioners manufactured by reputable, well-established companies. That gives you a better chance of finding an air conditioner made by a company with a proven track record of sales and service in Brisbane, such as Fujitsu, Mitsubishi Electric, Daikin, Actron Air or Temperzone to name a few.
• Look to buy from a local dealer who is also a warranty agent for the brand you are considering buying. If there’s any problem, they can sort it out for you immediately and you won’t find yourself colliding head-first with a language barrier or running up a massive phone bill making international calls to try and get the after-sales support you need.
• Look for evidence that your air conditioner meets Australian Standards and also has undergone rigorous safety testing. You should only select an air conditioner that has been approved for use in Australia. The Australian Standard for air conditioners is AS/NZS 3823.
• Your air conditioner should also meet Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). These standards safeguard against inefficient electrical products and appliances. Air conditioners are a regulated product, meaning that you will have greater certainty about shopping for an air conditioner that is energy efficient if you look carefully at the energy rating which is normally displayed on a label on the unit. For more information about energy ratings click here .
• Look for a safety approval mark issued in Australia to ensure that the air conditioner that you are buying has undergone rigorous safety testing and has been approved for use in Australia. For more information about safety approval marks and the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS) click here .
• Avoid potential disputes with you neighbours by buying an air conditioner that is also labelled with the Sound Power Label. This will indicated how noisy it will be outside your house when operational.
How to find a quality air conditioning unit at the right price
If you’re after a cheaper air conditioner, consider buying off-season, when there’s less of a demand. Do your research by actually talking to a professional who understands the market and the available products. They will be familiar with the brands on offer and can help you get good value for your money. From time-to-time, some manufacturers offer attractive cash-back offers. A reputable dealer can tell you what’s on offer. Get proper advice about the cost of installation from the outset so that you don’t run into hidden costs. A written quote is always a great safeguard against unforeseen costs. Finally, ensure that you get a well-trained and experienced professional to install your air conditioner so that you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a job well done. Lastly, make sure the company you choose, repairs your air conditioning unit if required, during and after the warranty period.
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Contact H &H Air Conditioning and let us safely guide you through the minefield that is buying cheap air conditioning in the Sunshine Coast & Brisbane