As the Internet has matured over the last 20 years, more and more products have become available online. That the amount of online sales grows each year is not surprising given how easy and convenient it is—especially if you are busy—to search, comparison shop and order products of all kinds from your computer or phone. And, why not? Once, you’ve done your research and found the brand and model you want at the best price, the ‘buy now’ button can have that coffee maker on your doorstep day after tomorrow. However, there are some things for your home where clicking that ‘buy now’ button may cost you greatly in the future.
Unlike a coffee pot or other appliances that you just plug in and use, buying a product like a furnace or central AC direct off the Internet is a case where what you don’t know has a real potential to bite you in the end. Unlike a $40 coffee pot, where if you get a year or so out of it it’s not such a big deal—heating and cooling equipment is a significantly larger investment to put at risk.
Critical factors that will directly affect performance, equipment life-expectancy, and the actual cost of running your new system can make buying your furnace or air conditioning equipment without on-site input from professional, a very frustrating experience. There are serious reasons that heating and cooling equipment has traditionally not been sold direct to consumers not intimately familiar with the service and installation of the equipment—and these concerns have not changed.
Consumers considering buying online, or ‘direct’ as it is often called, need to be aware of what their perceived savings may actually cost them. Toward that end, following is a discussion of the concerns of buying HVAC equipment online yourself—before the contractor who will install it ever sets foot in your home.
Of course, the benefit of buying your heating and cooling direct is typically perceived—if not overtly presented—as a way to save time and money by cutting out the middleman. That’s highly appealing and an easy concept for consumers to want to believe. After all, new equipment requires a sizeable investment and