Considering A/C Replacement? How Initial and Lifetime Costs Compare

A/C replacementWhen you need to make a buying decision about an A/C replacement, think twice. Consider the price you see now and the price you’ll pay later. The initial cost of an A/C replacement is upfront and definite, while lifetime costs are deferred and speculative. The average central air conditioner today lasts between 12 and 15 years, as do whatever ongoing expenses come along with the purchase you make today.

A cut-rate upfront price may not be a good deal several years from now. On the other hand, a budget-busting sticker price may take too long to pay back. With any significant purchase like a new central air conditioner, you have to weigh both initial costs and lifetime costs to get the best deal in the short run and the long-term.

Initial Costs

The good news is, you pay these only once. The sticker price for an A/C replacement may depend upon variables like the time of year you’re shopping and any local, state or federal rebates or incentives that may be available to you. The most important determining factor in first cost is usually the efficiency of the unit, expressed by its seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). High SEER ratings generally mean advanced technology that comes with a steeper sticker price.

Another factor in the upfront cost of an A/C replacement is installation. Getting a competent, professional installation isn’t something to skimp on. An unskilled job can cause efficiency and performance shortfalls that persist as long as the unit is in place.

Generally, if you’re upgrading to a unit of similar capacity, replacement is an uncomplicated process for professional installers. However, deteriorating, leaky ducts can negate performance and efficiency gains you expect from any A/C replacement. Many local codes require testing ducts for leakage and sealing to restore efficient air distribution any time a new air conditioner or furnace is installed.

Lifetime Costs

The main price you pay over the lifetime of an A/C replacement usually comes in small, regular installments known as your monthly utility bill. However, other costs come and go over the expected service life of a unit and are influenced by the following factors.

  • Quality – You get what you pay for, and in most cases, you will pay more in lifetime costs for a cheaper, off-brand air conditioner than a unit produced by a respected manufacturer. Reputable, recognized names in the industry stand behind their products with extended warranty terms, particularly on expensive components like the compressor. No-name bargain units? Not so much.
  • Durability – Lifetime costs of an A/C replacement are figured on the basis of a system’s expected service life. You may get more than the average 15-year life expectancy out of a quality, well-maintained A/C. But what if a sub-standard unit fails after only eight years? Poor quality and low durability in a low-end cooling system typically incurs excess wear and tear. The extra service calls, repairs and replacement parts are no bargain.
  • Maintenance – All air conditioners require annual service to sustain the manufacturer’s specifications for cooling capacity and energy consumption, as well as ensure maximum service life. It’s also required by most warranty terms. Regular maintenance will be a recurrent expense for any unit. Name-brand manufacturers generally have a network of endorsed HVAC contractors certified to provide skilled maintenance and service.
  • Efficiency – The energy consumption of an A/C replacement is a major determinant of initial and lifetime costs. A high-efficiency unit with a SEER rating of 20 will cost substantially more at purchase than a standard-efficiency SEER 14 A/C. However, savings from lower energy use begin with the first day of operation and continue for the life of the unit, eventually compensating for that higher upfront cost. Will the payback occur in a time frame acceptable to you? That depends on variables like your local climate and the overall efficiency of your home. A qualified HVAC contractor can discuss these factors and help you make an informed decision.

For more information on A/C replacement, check out Bruce Thornton A/C’s air conditioning solutions or call 806-598-1014.

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We are proud to offer service to all of Lubbock, TX and surrounding areas, including:

  • Abernathy
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24-Hour Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Heating Repair

With more than 45 years’ experience providing heating, ventilation and air conditioning services for residential and commercial customers, we at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning are proud to be the South Plains TX area’s comfort specialists. We specialize in system replacement, preventive maintenance and repair, all with the goal of keeping your heating, cooling, refrigeration and plumbing systems functioning at maximum efficiency.

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What Customers Love About Us

Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning
4.8
Based on 371 reviews
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Nsncy Alvarado
Nsncy Alvarado
00:11 01 Jan 21
Shower faucets working good. Had some faucet tubing replaced and faucet accessories also. I am pleased with Raul and... Sisco. Thanks BTACread more
John W
John W
14:52 31 Dec 20
Very efficient and capable. They are very pro customer service. All projects were performed when scheduled and cleanup... was excellent. I will use BTAC again.read more
Christy Jordan
Christy Jordan
22:05 22 Dec 20
Raul M. and his associate Cisco were called to address a drain line clog. They were very attentive and addressed all of... mine and my grandmother's concerns. Additionally, we made the call and they were on their way out here within the hour. Between the customer service and ability to make repairs, we are highly satisfied. Kudos to BTAC on your company as a whole!read more
Cathy Morton
Cathy Morton
01:07 07 Nov 20
We cannot thank Frank and his crew enough for taking care of us today. We had been without gas for 6 days waiting to... have a new line installed. We talked to Frank yesterday and they were here at 8:30 this morning. They were available all day until the line was installed, City code officer was here and Atmos turned the gas back on. Then Frank made sure all was working well. We certainly will recommend BTAC to all we know! Thank you!read more
Douglas Mires
Douglas Mires
21:29 14 Oct 20
Prompt, clean, efficient, friendly and kept me informed on what he was doing.
S. Wayne Osborne
S. Wayne Osborne
19:32 08 Oct 20
BTAC installed a mini split heat/ac system in my workshop. I am initially very pleased with their sales and... installation, and the system they installed. The Daitec system is built in Houston so it is a made in USA product. It was expensive but should prove to be worth the price.read more
Angela Dixon
Angela Dixon
15:59 09 Sep 20
Confused how this company has so many stars and yet, we have had nothing issues. Salesman came out and told us how to... fix our issues. Suggested some changes in duct work would improve the flow of air to far bedroom and the whole house. His words were "it will feel like a meat locker". That never happened. (But come on, we live in Texas, "meat locker" was a little extreme and our exceptions weren't that high!! We at lest wanted the house to stay at 70 unlike 75-80+.) We also knew the unit was old and we expected to replace the whole unit. He said we didn't need one and doing the duct work would be enough to improve the cold air.After the work was done, we realized NO air was flowing in one of our sons room. The room was RIGHT by the ac unit. Had to call them and wait 3 plus days, for them to attach the air duct to his room. (because they didn't do it the first time, even AFTER walking through the house to double check everything). They had to come adjust/fix things three times. They put the wrong size return, realized they needed to add another vent, and so on...Needless to say NOTHING has changed expect the $3,000ish dollars missing from our account. House was still as hot as it was before they came. To be clear, money wasn't an issue. We wanted it cool in the house.Called another a/c place to see what they would say. Wanted to know if we were expecting something impossible...or what other suggestions they had because we were getting nowhere with BTAC. The other company gave us several suggestions and change a few things and that improved the air instantly.Contacted Bruce Thornton after speaking with the other company, to let them know what was said to us, to give them the opportunity to fix mistakes, give suggestions, or anything. We expected more pride in their work. Not for them to view us complaining because we wanted a discount on the bill. Which was not the case.It makes me sad that we wasted money that changed nothing. We should have got a second opinion, or maybe done more research before we gave them the go ahead. We were disappointed they weren't willing to fix mistakes and or even give more options to fix the a/c. It felt like they got their money and they were done with us. We were willing to pay for a new a/c unit, but were told we didn't need one, we needed to get the duct work changed. That is why it is even more upsetting, because we were going to give them more business, but because of this, we moved to another company.It is always good to get a second opinion. That is the lesson we learned through all this.read more
adam castro
adam castro
14:47 05 Aug 20
Great Customer Service from start to finish. From getting pre approved by Brian which he was great and helpful in... making the process smooth he took care of me throughout. Then on the day of installation showed up 20 minutes early which was a plus. The gentleman that did the installation were fantastic and knowledgeable and helpful and very friendly. Ivan, Michael, Esai, and Gabriel were great. Ivan was awesome he worked very hard and got the job done. They were all great thanks for everything! I highly recommend them!read more
Jen S
Jen S
16:39 24 Jun 20
6/24/2020I had a sales person come out and he was friendly professional and knew what he was talking about.This... company is great they were one of the only companies to come and help with a new ac.read more
Lana Lane
Lana Lane
14:49 26 May 20
BTAC has been professional, informative and has taken care of all our chiller issues. Joe and Louis are the Best!!
Erin W
Erin W
16:52 18 May 20
Louis was so helpful and got our air back up and running in no time. When I asked about a special system tune up for... nurses they did that and didn’t charge me anything!!!! We will certainly call you again!!!! Thank you so much!read more
Leah Beikmann
Leah Beikmann
23:42 04 May 20
Just wow!!! I work at the hospital and they came out and did a free evaluation of my AC unit, inside and out. We had... been told before by other companies that the whole unit needed replacing but a great technician from Bruce Thornton AC told us we just needed to replace the capacitor! $130 instead of 5k! So worth having them out here to take a look. The technician also rewired something in my AC unit inside (sorry I don’t know technical words for AC units lol) that makes it turn on faster (a couple seconds versus a few minutes). I was very grateful for the very professional service I received, both on the phone with the lady who I made my appointment with, and the technician who really saved me a buck! They didn’t try to up sell me on something I didn’t need, they just let me know what I needed to keep my AC running. I highly recommend using them for your AC needs especially with summer coming up!read more
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