Comparing air conditioning quotations can be confusing. Simply choosing the quotation with the cheapest “bottom line” is, more often than not, a recipe for disaster. We have created this independent guide in the hope that it will help you to quickly assess your alternative quotations so as to determine which company is offering you the best equipment at the most competitive price.
Are the quotations ‘Like-For-Like’?
The main reasons for the disparity in pricing are, more often than not, either the quality and/or the power of the equipment being recommended. It is vital to check the kW or BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating of the units being suggested. Also, note that the higher the rating, the more powerful the cooling and heating output. Unless the alternative quotations are all suggesting the same brand and power of equipment, it is important to understand that you are not comparing the quotations on a “like-for-like” basis.
Bear in mind that leading brands (e.g. Daikin or Mitsubishi) will make a quote 8-10% more expensive. However, the installation of a leading brand becomes very evident after a few years when you realise that they increase the longevity factor by often at least twice the left expectancy of budget brands. We very much suggest that you consider this small price premium worth it. May we also add that trying to find spare parts for budget brands often proves far harder than getting parts for major manufacturers.
It is also important to ensure that the companies you have requested alternative quotations from are also “like-for-like” companies. Comparing a quote from a “man and his van” operative against a specialist air conditioning company will not be helpful and can prove a false economy. The larger air conditioning companies are generally fully insured in the event of any mishaps or design faults, should something “go wrong” with the installation. One of the reasons that large air conditioning companies with full teams of engineers find it difficult to compete with an engineer working from his home is the very fact that the cost of these insurances is very expensive (they are expensive because insurers know full well that mistakes can and do happen). The most important of these insurances is Professional Indemnity. This covers you or your business if any major structural faults have happened as a result of a poorly designed installation. Do not confuse (Professional Indemnity) Insurance for the Public Liability Insurance that every trader is legally bound to carry. This will not protect you against design problems. Of course, should you be willing to take the chance that “all will be fine” that’s your prerogative!
It is also important to take into account that the after-sales services and warranties on offer from a one-man operation will be at a far lower level than when you are dealing with a large air conditioning company. For example, a one-man operative will offer you either a 1 or (if you are lucky) a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty. However, many of the larger air conditioning companies offer a minimum 3-year warranty and sometimes 5, 7 or even 10-year warranties. We strongly advise you to take into account the warranties on offer when making your decision.
Questions to Ask?
– Do the estimates you are comparing provide the same cooling/heating output?
– Are electrical works and mains power included in each of the quotations? Many quotations do appear to be “all-inclusive”; however, it often emerges that crucial services including the provision of mains power have been omitted.
– Are the alternative quotations offering units of the same type? For example, a wall-mounted unit is considerably cheaper than a ceiling cassette unit or a ducted system.
– Check whether the price of Lifting and Access equipment is included if necessary.
Other points to consider when making your decision
Do the companies offer showroom facilities? We believe it is very important that you see the units in operation, not just for aesthetic purposes but to check that the noise levels are acceptable especially in the case of residential installations. Should the company that you wish to choose not have its own showroom, we very much suggest that you at least take advantage of visiting another company’s showroom to see what you are getting.
We hope you have found this guide both informative and useful and should you wish for any other independent advice; please feel free to telephone us.