Technology has launched the shopping experience into a new level of convenience. Household internet shopping can include stocking up on toilet paper, baby food, light bulbs, cereal, clothes, kitchen sinks and even air conditioners or furnaces; these items can be delivered to your home with the touch of a button. Buying household basics online makes sense and frees up your around town errand time, which is valuable. However, purchasing HVAC equipment or parts online is not as cost effective as it seems. Air conditioning and heating system online shopping could cost 3x more money than purchasing the parts or equipment and labor directly through a contractor.
If you buy online and have a tradesman install it, the tradesman is not going to warranty a part he did not provide. After installation, if the part or equipment fails, there are more costs involved to diagnose and repair. Your choices are to pay the tradesman again to repair it or replace it with his or her stocked part at an additional fee. Or pay the tradesman to remove it so you can send it back to the supplier, wait for the new part to arrive, then call the tradesman back to repair it and pay him again. During this wait, you are likely inconvenienced and uncomfortable. When a contractor supplies parts and equipment, a warranty is included to cover potential failures for labor and parts. Contractors have established relationships with local suppliers for access to parts for a variety of manufacturers. Some parts and equipment installations require permits and inspections. Repairs and installations involve specialized tools for proper wiring, certifications, gas piping or proper refrigerant pressure readings, which should be followed with safety measures and city code compliance. There are pros and cons when purchasing online when you do not possess the skillset to install:
-Does not include installation -Initial savings on product
-Does not include warranty
-Does not include code compliance
-Does not include EPA compliance
-Does not include safety measures
-Does not include guarantee right product was purchased
-No direct relationship with the supplier
-If part fails, have to remove it, return it, pay tradesman again
A $13 air conditioning capacitor online is not as simple as ordering a light bulb and screwing it into the fixture. The correct size of the capacitor needs to be obtained, correct installation and proper benchmark readings should be achieved for it to work properly. Mini-split heat pumps can be found online for $1,300.00 including shipping. Now what? Did you get a load calculation, order the right equipment size, line sets or permits? A skilled professional may charge $130 for a capacitor repair. A tradesman may charge $4,200 to install a mini-split system. It is not just about the value of the equipment or part online, it is the value of the skilled professional, city code compliance, inspections, EPA regulations, warranty, proper installation, achieving safe benchmark readings, convenience of his/her office on wheels, stocked parts and carrying a business license and insurance.
Skill is a developed ability. Tradesmen deliver comfort with their repairs and installations based on their training and have earned respect for their knowledge and education. For those DIY readers, be proud of your skill. It is valuable to be able to repair, manage and maintain your own household projects. If you do not possess the skills, the value of a skilled tradesman outweighs online shopping. When doing air conditioning and heating system online shopping, click on a local contractor website instead of the big box stores. If you need a skilled tradesman, schedule here: