Should I Purchase an HVAC System Online?

Almost anything can be purchased on the Internet these days. Maybe you or someone you know in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area is thinking about purchasing their next HVAC system online – after all, it seems like such a great deal!

While it’s true there are some good deals out there on many products, some items are just too important to purchase online; especially when they require specialized installation. So, those of us working here at GAMA Air want to provide you with some facts on this issue to help you make an informed decision.


Unlike most products for sale on the Internet, an HVAC system requires installation by a trained professional. Even the most skilled Do-It-Yourselfers should not attempt to install HVAC products. A professional heating and AC contractor will review the unique requirements of your home to help you select the appropriate equipment for your needs, as well as to ensure safe and efficient installation of the equipment. 

BEWARE!  It is a dangerous and deceptive practice to sell central heating and cooling equipment directly to consumers. By doing this these online sales companies bypass the expertise of trained, professional contractors. They may advertise “Buy Direct, Cut Out the Middle-Man and Save Big!” But there is no short cut to a safe, quality, professional HVAC installation and in the long run doing so will end up costing you more.


Prior to purchasing central heating and air equipment, a local professional HVAC contractor should visit your home in person. He or she will evaluate your structure, assess your current HVAC system, review your family’s air quality requirements, and then submit a written proposal. This proposal will detail the professional recommendation of appropriate equipment options which will help you make an informed decision on what type of system you should buy that meets your needs and budget. Further, a professional contractor will ensure the system conforms to all local building codes, meets manufacturer specifications to guarantee the warranty, performs at peak efficiency, and operates safely. 

A professional contractor will determine the optimal size of HVAC equipment needed for your home by making a careful study of your cooling and heating requirements. An HVAC system that is too small won’t keep your home comfortable and one that is oversized will not maintain acceptable humidity levels or be efficient. Oversized systems cycle on and off more than necessary which wastes energy, puts undue strain on components like compressors, and often reduces the expected life of the system.


Before advising you what size system you need, the professional contractor will perform a heating and cooling Load Calculation of your home. The correct way to size an air conditioning system is with Manual J, a protocol developed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Manual J HVAC load calculations determine how much cooling a house actually needs. These calculations require time and attention to detail. While part of the calculation is based on the square footage of the conditioned floor area, there are many other factors. For instance, the number of windows and doors in your home, the window dimensions, and the average number of hours of sun exposure will all have an effect on the Load Calculations for your home. Even the same house rotated ninety degrees could vary in cooling load by 25% or more. For more information on Manual J Load Calculations see our previous article “Why Do I Need a Manual J Load Calc?

Only an in-home visit by a trained HVAC professional contractor can ensure that you buy the right equipment that your home. Buying an HVAC system online may seem to be a good deal but it will not guarantee a safe and efficient system for a long time. And we don’t know of any Manufacturer of central heating and air conditioning systems that will honor warranties on their equipment if sold directly to a consumer via the internet or auction websites. For the warranties to apply there must first be an on-site visit, inspection and installation by a qualified, trained HVAC professional. So, what should you look for in a professional HVAC contractor? Stay tuned for our next article on this topic. 

We hope this information helps. And if you have additional questions or concerns just give us a call here at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to schedule a visit. We are standing by to help you make a good decision about your next heating and cooling system.

Do you have other questions about your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner? Visit our Ask an Expert page, fill out the form, and our resident expert will get back to you quickly.

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