Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Is Getting a Secondhand HVAC Unit for Your Home a Good Idea?

Is a secondhand HVAC unit a good deal? Everyone likes a bargain — especially these days, when it seems the price of almost everything is rising. And, if you find yourself shivering on chilly mornings because the furnace is out or you’re facing a long, hot summer without a functional AC, it’s natural to try to restore comfort to the house as quickly and as inexpensively as possible.

The cut-rate price of a secondhand HVAC unit may well sound attractive, but there are good reasons why used air conditioners and furnaces are usually best avoided.

  • You won’t get a warranty. If anything goes wrong with a used HVAC unit, the entire cost of repairs, including all parts and labor, will fall on you. Some HVAC warranties are transferable, but that occurs only when the air conditioner or furnace is included with the sale of the house where it was originally installed. It does not apply to used units removed from a house.
  • You don’t know what’s wrong with it. You can’t test-drive a used AC or furnace like you can a used car. Therefore, you have only the word of the seller that the unit is fully functional and safe to operate. For example, if the air conditioner compressor is marginal and likely to fail soon, the cost of replacing it will probably exceed the entire price of the not-so-good bargain you’ve purchased. Moreover, a gas furnace with a cracked heat exchanger (that the seller forgot to mention) is a serious safety hazard and, by law, should not even be operated.
  • Older means less efficient. Both AC and furnace energy efficiency has steadily improved in recent years. A previously owned, secondhand HVAC unit, however, was likely built to meet the standards of the past, which means lower efficiency and higher operating costs. That’s a built-in condition that repairs cannot fix. You’re stuck with the increased monthly bills for as long as you own the unit.

Get an experienced opinion from the professionals at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company before taking chances with a secondhand HVAC unit.