Thanks to Covid-19, it looks like we’ll be spending another summer close to home, with many of us still working remotely.
With vacation getaways unlikely – and potentially some extra savings in the bank – this may be the year to finally get that home air conditioning unit you’ve always wanted.
But where is the best place for Calgarians to buy a central air conditioner this summer? And what do you need to know before making a decision? Here’s what you need to know.
Hardware Chains and Warehouse Stores
Because the stores want to ensure the installation is done to their high standards, they are careful to choose reputable installers. The store you bought the unit from will be your primary contact and will manage appointments, scheduling, and warranty issues.
Brand-Certified Air Conditioning Installers
Would you prefer to support a hard-working local business? There are hundreds of independent, locally-owned installers in Calgary. They handle all aspects of the job, including quoting, scheduling and installation. Installers can be generally found through a quick Google search.
Full-Service Providers: Companies like Advanpro offer air conditioner installation as part of a comprehensive service offering…that includes air conditioner maintenance, duct, and furnace cleaning, furnace, and plumbing services. These companies will typically employ multiple installation teams, allowing them to provide timely service even during the peak season.
The advantage of choosing a full-service company is that you can also take the opportunity to have your ducts cleaned so that your new unit isn’t blowing dust particles into your home. Many will give you the option of signing up for an annual maintenance program, to keep your unit running in tip-top shape for years to come.
Smaller Owner/Operators: These small businesses consist of an owner/operator who may employ a small staff. As these companies get busy, the limited staff can impact scheduling.
How to choose the right Calgary company for your installation?
Now that you know the options, how do you determine the best place to buy your air conditioner? Here are five tips to help you choose.
1. Get multiple quotes: We suggest getting quotes from 3-5 companies. It’s always a good idea to have the installer visit your home before providing a quote, as this can identify any potential issues that may impact the price (eg. venting concerns, etc.).
2. Research the brands: Make sure you are getting a quote from a reputable brand. Lennox and Trane are the market leaders. Be leery of lower-priced ‘bargain’ models, as you may be sacrificing quality and durability.
3. Ask how soon it can be installed: Find out the company’s installation schedule so you are not stuck waiting as the temperature starts to climb. This year, expect AC units to be in high demand.
4. Ask about financing options: Home air conditioners will typically cost between $3,200 and $6,500. If you don’t have money in the bank and want to avoid inflated credit card rates, many companies offer low monthly payments at competitive rates.
Long-term financing is a great option for those who want to minimize monthly payments. Many independent installers (including Advanpro) provide the option of no payments and no interest for 6 months. After that, the payments revert to an amortized loan over 10-15 years. Your financing application can usually be approved within a few minutes.
If you’d prefer to pay off your air conditioner sooner, ask your installer about their short-term financing offers. Advanpro offers the option of 0% financing on terms of 12, 24, or 36 months. The longer the term, the lower the monthly payment.
An advantage of financing is that it allows you to purchase a higher quality unit (or one with more options and features) without dramatically increasing the monthly payments.
5. Check the reviews: When choosing an installer (including the big box stores) do your homework. Customer rating services such as Google Reviews or HomeStars are a smart place to start.