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Leah and Ari Cutler have recently moved into their new home in the Buchman neighborhood of Modiin, with their son Chagai and another baby on the way. They have learned invaluable lessons in the process of building their home and have agreed to answer some questions on the process of buying air-conditioning in the hope that sharing their experiences will help others.
What type of home do you own?
Ari and I decided to purchase a single floor, four-bedroom terraced home. We liked the fact that, unlike so many homes in Buchman, everything was on one floor and that we didn't need to use stairs to get around the apartment.
What was the first step in buying air-conditioning?
We started by trying to figure out our priorities. Our top priority was to avoid lowering our ceilings, which would make our rooms shorter. Many A/C units have to be attached to the ceiling and require additional ductwork, which lowers the ceiling height considerably by about 40cm. Another important consideration for us was to have a good airflow, which would ensure that each room, regardless of size, would be cooled equally by the unit. In addition, the noise generated by the unit, and the cost, were also important factors.
How did you know which installation company to contact and which A/C unit to choose?
We were well aware that there were many A/C suppliers out there and that most of them usually have their team of installers that deliver the A/C units as well as install them for you. We first asked our friends and neighbors who they used and about their experiences with those vendors. We found that a few names kept coming up. Eventually, we narrowed down our list to five servicemen.
We then called each of the five suppliers and scheduled house calls with them. They each gave us a hatza'at mechir on the spot for everything involved, including the cost of the units, the installation, the required ductwork and spotlights to be placed in the geves. We received five different recommendations on how to cool our apartment along with five different price quotes ranging from NIS 18,000 to NIS 30,000. The approaches recommended to us included using one central unit for the entire apartment, installing small units in each room, as well as various combinations of those two approaches. We were pleasantly surprised to find that all of the salesmen, with the exception of one, were pretty honest and upfront about what would be needed.
How did you finally pick your salesman?
Although buying a good A/C unit would be a huge expense, we knew that it was a long-term investment, and that if we didn't do it right the first time, we would regret it for years to come. We therefore decided against simply going with the cheapest price quote. Our first priority was to buy an A/C unit that would most suit our apartment's unique layout. It is unusual, at least in Modiin, for a 170-square meter apartment such as ours to be laid out on only one floor instead of two.
Armed with the recommendations of the different professionals who came to our home, we had to weigh the pros and cons of each of the respective units and cooling methods and decide which to implement.
In the end, we chose a salesman whose installation method took up the least ceiling space since that was our number-one priority. A secondary factor was his reputation for helping you out even after he completes the installation of the unit. Although they were the most expensive, we decided to use the Mitsubishi A/C units because they were unanimously identified by all of the salesmen as having the best reputation and lasting the longest.
Do you have any tips for future buyers?
1. Know your budget - units are available in all price ranges, so don't get overwhelmed and buy something you can't afford, but at the same time don't be too cheap.
2. Don't go with the first price quote you get. Get four or five different quotes to choose from.
3. Figure out what your style is. Do you like lowered ceilings with spotlights and vents into each room connected to a central unit or higher ceilings with small units in each room?
4. CEILING FANS! The servicemen told us they wouldn't make a difference, but wow, we love them! Sometimes we don't even turn on the A/C units because the fans work so well.
5. Consider air directions, vents and remote controls for each room - even with a single unit.
6. Some units come with internal timers with many settings. If the one you want doesn't include such a timer just buy a Shabbat clock and attach it to the outlet.
7. Since the A/C is usually installed after your apartment has been painted, make sure that the person doing the necessary geves work uses the exact same color when painting it. Otherwise you will have weird paint spots.
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Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal or professional advice but rather a discussion of general issues. Readers are advised to receive professional advice before making any decisions or entering into transactions.