5 Consequences of Buying a Cheap Air Conditioner

Air Conditioner

Though Australia's summer may have technically finished, the hot water is unlikely to be going anywhere just yet. It means that many of you might be looking for ways to keep your home cool, or want to prepare for next summer. And that means air conditioning.

Most of us will know the saying “You get what you pay for”, and in many cases that is certainly true. The market is full of different air conditioning units, from the leading brands to those with great value and a lower price. Here, we’ll dive into the often overlooked consequences of buying a cheap air conditioner, particularly split system air conditioners.

1. Poor Energy Efficiency

Yes, cheap air conditioners often have a lower initial purchase cost, which may seem like great value. However, in the long run, these models could cost you more due to their lower energy efficiency.

Less Efficient Cooling and Heating

A reverse cycle air conditioner does two main things- it cools warm air and warms up cool air. Now, if your system cannot efficiently heat or cool your room, you end up with either a hot room in the summer or a cold room in the winter. Features like cooling capacity and the unit’s ability to sufficiently condition air are critical. No matter what the season.

Energy Efficiency and Your Power Bill

Undeniably, energy-efficient appliances save you money on power. A cheap portable air conditioner is likely to consume more power to cool or heat your room, meaning higher electricity bills. A split system air conditioner, for example, is more energy efficient, which may make it a better purchase in the long run.

box air conditioner, commonly considered to be a cheap air conditioner

2. Limited Functions Such As Wi-Fi and Air Purifier

Despite the temptation to go for a cheap new air conditioner to cut costs, you could miss out on essential features that come with slightly pricier models. Modern aircon systems have been significantly improved due to technological advancements, and not taking advantage of these enhancements might limit your air conditioning experience as you try to stay cool.

Wi-Fi Connectivity

Most of the popular air conditioner types, such as split systems or ducted air conditioners, offer Wi-Fi connectivity. This advancement in features offers several conveniences.

  • Remote control: Have you ever left your house in a hurry and forgot to switch off your air conditioner? With the ability to connect by Wi-Fi, you can control your air conditioning unit from anywhere using a smartphone app.
  • Smart home integration: Wi-Fi-enabled air conditioners often have compatibility with other smart home systems. You can integrate your unit with platforms like Google Home or Amazon Alexa for voice-activated control, creating a seamlessly connected home.

Cheap air conditioners may lack this feature, limiting your control over your system, and thus your convenience.

Air Purifier Functions

Air conditioning is not just about staying cool or getting warm – it’s also about maintaining a healthy environment in your house. A built-in air purifier function in your air conditioner can greatly contribute to that.

  • Health benefits: An air purifier filters the indoor air, removing dust particles, allergens, and other airborne irritants. This is beneficial, especially for those with allergies or respiratory conditions.
  • Indoor air quality: A clean, dust-free airflow can enhance your indoor air quality, making your house’s atmosphere fresher and healthier.

Choosing a cheap air conditioner might mean missing out on these added features and benefits. Always remember, investing in the right air conditioner is about improving both your comfort and health.

3. Poor Durability From Your Cheap Air Conditioner

Saving money on a cheap air conditioner may seem like a smart move, but let’s explore the factors that could make this choice less advantageous over time.

Shorter Shelf-Life

Typically, less expensive air conditioners are cheaper for a reason: they aren’t built to last. Whether it’s the indoor unit or the outdoor one:

  • Frequent replacements: Cheap air conditioners might require more frequent replacements or repairs, which means more costs in the long run.
  • Maintenance issues: The parts used in budget air conditioners are often of lesser quality, which can create maintenance issues over time.

4. Limited Range and Suitability

Air conditioners aren’t a one-size-fits-all purchase. The one you choose needs to suit your room size and specific heating or cooling requirements. This could be challenging if you’re considering a cheap air conditioner.

Limited Cooling and Heating Capacity

Cheap air conditioning units may struggle to provide the required amount of cool air or warm air, depending on their capacity:

  • Suitability for larger rooms: If you have a large room to cool or heat, a cheap air conditioner often won’t do the job effectively. They tend to be suitable for single rooms or small spaces only.
  • Ineffective for high-level requirements: Even for a single room with high cooling or heating requirements, a cheap model may not provide sufficient airflow.

Finding Balance Between Cost and Suitability

  • Portable air conditioners: While you might find a budget-friendly portable air conditioner, remember that it may not have the range to cool a larger room sufficiently.
  • Invest Wisely: Instead of focusing only on purchase price, consider other important factors such as capacity, room size, and your specific needs to make a wise investment.

5. Compromised Comfort and Experience

Opting for a budget air conditioner can have a significant impact on your comfort and overall experience. While the upfront savings might be attractive, it’s essential to understand the potential compromises involved.

Inadequate Temperature Control

  • Inconsistent cooling/heating: Cheap air conditioners may struggle to maintain consistent temperatures, leading to an uncomfortable environment where it’s too cold one moment and too warm the next.
  • Longer time to achieve comfort: These units might take longer to cool down or heat up a room, making it hard to achieve comfort, especially during extreme weather conditions.

Person controlling their split system air conditioner by remote control

Noise Level

  • Disruptive noise: Lower cost air conditioners often lack the sound-dampening technologies found in higher-end models, resulting in louder operation that can disrupt sleep or everyday activities.

Limited Mode and Fan Features

  • Restricted functionality: The lack of advanced modes and fan settings can further restrict your ability to fine-tune your environment for maximum comfort.
  • No sleep mode or energy-saving functions: Many budget models do not include features like sleep mode, which adjusts the temperature throughout the night for comfort and energy efficiency.

Air Quality

  • Poor indoor air quality: Without built-in air purifiers or effective filters, cheap air conditioners might not improve or may even worsen indoor air quality by circulating dust and allergens.

Long-Term Satisfaction and Cost

  • Quick replacement needs: The need for frequent replacements or repairs not only affects your wallet but also your long-term satisfaction with your purchase.
  • Higher operating costs: Inefficient energy use means higher electricity bills, negating any initial savings from the purchase.

Yes … You DO Get What You Paid For!

The decision to buy an air conditioner should be about more than just the sticker price. A cheap purchase price can lead to compromised comfort, poor indoor air quality, and ultimately, a dissatisfying user experience.

Investing in the right air conditioner offered by the best brands means considering all factors, including efficiency, functionality, and durability, to ensure that you not only achieve but maintain a comfortable and healthy indoor environment throughout the year.

Remember, in many cases, spending a bit more upfront can save you from future discomfort and additional expenses, ensuring a cosy home regardless of the season.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See After Hours Air Conditioning’s Terms & Conditions here.

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