Heating and cooling are something that most of us take for granted. We rely on heating systems to keep us warm in the winter and air conditioning to keep us cool in the summer.
When the house is cold in the winter or scorching in the summer, the natural impulse is to contact a professional. Fortunately, there is another option. You may dramatically reduce service expenses and keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently by performing certain maintenance and minor fixes yourself. But first, it’s critical to understand the fundamentals of heating and cooling systems.
All climate-control devices or systems consist of three basic components: a source of warmed or cooled air, a method of distributing the air to the rooms being heated or cooled, and a control tool to govern the system (e.g., thermostat). Warm air sources, such as a furnace, and cool air sources, such as an air conditioner, in a house frequently use the same distribution and control systems. If your home has central air conditioning, cool air most likely circulates via the same ducts as heat and is controlled by the same thermostat. When a heating or cooling system fails, any of these three basic components could be at blame.
Both heating and air conditioning work on the principle that heat always moves from a warm object to a cooler one, just as water flows from a higher to a lower level. Furnaces and heaters put heat into the air to make your home warmer; air conditioners remove heat to make your home cooler.
All heating and cooling units burn fuel. Air conditioners use electricity. Most home heating systems use gas or fuel oil; other systems use electricity. The heat pump — an electrically powered climate control unit — both heats and cools air. In summer it extracts heat from the air inside your home. In winter it pulls heat from the air outside and uses this heat to warm the air inside.
When the furnace is turned on, it consumes the fuel that powers it, whether it be gas, oil, or electricity. As fuel is burned, heat is produced and channeled to the living areas of your home through ducts, pipes, or wires and then is blown out of registers, radiators, or heating panels. Older systems use the heat they produce to heat water, which in turn heats the air in your home. These systems use a boiler to store and heat the water supply, which is then circulated as hot water through pipes embedded in the wall, floor, or ceiling.
When an air conditioner is turned on, electrical power is used to cool a gas in a coil to its liquid state. Warm air in your home is cooled by contact with the cooling coil, and this cooled air is channeled to the rooms of your home through ducts and out registers or — in the case of room air conditioners — directly from the unit itself.
What are Your Best Payment Options?
The truth is that whether you have a large enough budget or not, an air conditioner is a significant investment. As a result, whether you’re replacing or supplementing your air conditioner, you’ll discover that getting a new unit is costly. Consider this: a good, high-efficiency HVAC unit can cost several thousand dollars. The most expensive systems are currently priced as high as $5,000. Remember that installation fees and the necessity for a few accessories are other factors to consider. All of these factors could add up to $10,000 or more to your bills.
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As a result, it’s not surprising that an increasing number of people are looking for better alternatives to obtain a system without being burdened by the hefty purchase price. Remember that no matter what sort of payment you select for an HVAC system, being wise will go a long way. We narrowed down and studied the three most prevalent HVAC payment alternatives to assist you in making the best decision for your situation and budget.
Cash is cool, alright, but only if you can afford it. Okay, let’s say you have this cold, hard, cash on hand. That’s actually pretty neat. You can pay upfront—no questions asked. By paying directly in cash, you can save so much time and effort from doing a huge paperwork. The best part is, that you can simply walk into an HVAC store, sign whatever’s required, and go home and wait for your brand-new AC unit. Once delivered, it gets installed and presto it’s good to go. And lest we forget—you can forget any type of finance charges. No monthly payments to worry about.
But paying cash, however comforting money-wise, only becomes the most practical choice if you have the money to back it up. And it shouldn’t be just any money. It must be that which can’t put a dent on your overall monthly budget, wouldn’t clean out your money savings, and would never impact your family’s financial capability—ever. If the case is otherwise, raise the red flag. You might be better off with other options. A credit card purchase, perhaps?
Credit Card Payment
This is what most people think is one of the easiest, most convenient methods. Which, in some ways, is true. But is it the best way? Unfortunately, not all the time. Yes, it’s a great way to build up your credit score, but only if you have enough wiggle room in your current monthly budget to cover the payments. Besides, how many times have you heard stories of people mired in credit card debt? So, be wary. But for the sake of argument, let’s say you have a good credit standing, have a good record as a credit card holder, and have stable financial sources to back up your credit card purchases.
That, obviously, puts you in a good position to use your credit for payment. But when you opt to choose this option, it pays to remember that credit cards have higher interest rates than the other types of loans, depending of course on your credit status. The smarter thing to do before jumping into this option is to consider your financial capability. If you deem it will be more burdensome to you financially in the long run, then you might have to look for other ways. And one of the better ways is to finance your HVAC purchase.
Essentially, financing is a type of loan. It means you are borrowing money to cover the price of the system in exchange for an agreed interest rate that you will have to pay on top of your monthly charges. The financing method is a great way to quickly make your purchase without any hassle on your part, except maybe working on a few paperwork which is not even taxing in any way. Among the options available to pay your HVAC purchase, this could be the most convenient, easiest, and affordable. And this explains why this is what most people choose.
The biggest advantage of financing is getting the right system that you need without paying money upfront. It is quick and easy. And the best part is you will be in complete control because the payment methods are usually flexible. Companies like these are known to be simple financing options for HVAC so ask your dealer if they offer it.
Most HVAC vendors now provide financing programs for an HVAC purchase, so it’s just a matter of finding the one with the lowest interest rate, more flexible monthly payment options, and even better penalty conditions. Your financing could be sourced from third parties, such as banks and credit unions, but direct financing from an HVAC dealer is still the best option for several reasons. With that said, let’s examine why.
Going to your local bank as an alternative to finance your HVAC purchase may be an option, but it is not always the best place to go. Aside from the fact that they don’t offer the best interest rates, you might be tied to bigger monthly charges especially if you have an outstanding loan on the same bank. But then again, if you think that bank financing is your best vet, then you might have to be prepared for a stricter application process.
Normally, you must have a good credit standing to be pre-qualified. And then you will have to wait, which in many cases takes weeks and even months. But if that wouldn’t be an issue at all, make sure that you can negotiate for the best deal. As long as you can afford the monthly charge, choose a shorter loan period because it provides a lower interest rate.
Credit Union Financing
Compared with banks, credit unions provide a much lower interest rate because they are not really profit-driven. But while this could be another alternative to finance your HVAC purchase, this is not for everyone. To avail of credit union financing, you must be a member. And there are certain requirements to become a member which you might have to take into consideration if you’re planning to join one. If you are not a member yet and really want to make use of this option, you can start by looking for a credit union in your area.
Remember that credit unions are normally geographic-based, so it’s best if you visit the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) website and find a list of credit unions in the place where you live. For a simple purchase like an HVAC unit, this might take a lot of work, which in itself is a downside. And even if you are already a member of a credit union, you will also have to wait until your application for financing is approved. Truth be told, your best option is direct financing from an HVAC distributor.
Nothing beats a direct transaction, and the same could be said for financing your HVAC purchase. When you deal directly with an HVAC dealer to finance your HVAC purchase, you’re not only purchasing a unit from the same business, but also obtaining a loan from the same source to cover the cost of the system, installation, and even the necessary accessories. In exchange for the arrangement, you will pay the HVAC dealer a monthly fee that includes an interest rate.
While banks and credit unions have their fair share of advantages when it comes to financing alternatives, dealing directly with an HVAC dealer is just the easier, more convenient, and definitely more cost-effective option. With direct financing, you would normally enjoy these excellent advantages:
- Zero to minimal upfront cost. With financing, you don’t need to shell out a huge amount of money. In fact, you don’t need to pay any amount at all especially if there’s no upfront payment required. All of your charges will be paid when you start paying on a monthly basis.
- Easy application and quick approval – Most HVAC financings from a distributor have a simple application and approval process. Normally, it only takes less than an hour (or even seconds) after submitting your application. Nowadays, many HVAC dealers also allow online application which is an added convenience.
- Flexible monthly payments – HVAC stores that offer financing provide an array of flexible payment options. All you need to do is choose the right one that suits your budget and situation.
- Low-interest rate – Interest rates vary per dealer, but generally, these rates are affordable. To get the best deal, make sure that you understand the terms and conditions so you would know every aspect of the deal.
- Freebies on top of the system purchase – While other HVAC dealers only provide systems financing, you can find some that also offer free shipping, free installation of the unit, and free maintenance.
- Excellent support and warranties – Because you’re dealing directly with a manufacturer or distributor, you might also get excellent warranties and support for the system that you purchased.
How you pay for your HVAC purchase might have a net effect on your family’s finances. And so at the very onset, it is important to consider your different options, take into account your buying power, and carefully evaluate your decision based on which of these options can give you the greater benefits.