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Is It Safe To Buy A Second-Hand Aircon Unit?

Nowadays, it’s so easy to sell stuff at home especially when you’re planning on upgrading or moving to a new place. You’ll earn and at the same time, you will be sure that the appliance that you used to love will be in good hands. Usually, the price for a second-hand aircon unit is almost half of what you would pay for a new one, right? So you were tempted to buy it. Who wouldn’t?

But is this a good idea? Is it safe even if the unit looks like it’s in good condition and the price seems to be really cheap? You might be losing out on some money or worse, risking your safety. So how do you know if an aircon unit is still safe and has good quality?

Here are some important questions to ask before you totally decide as to whether or not you’ll go for a second-hand aircon unit or not :

If you buy an aircon unit only to find out that it’s already leaking, then that will be a waste of money and effort. You might as well just use that money to buy a new one instead of buying a second-hand aircon unit. So make sure there aren’t any leaks first before you buy anything.

As it has been said, make sure the aircon unit is still in great shape and everything works fine with it before deciding to purchase it. Look for dents or cracks on the body of the aircon unit, especially around its hinges since this can affect the cooling capacity of the aircon unit.

3) Can I get spare parts for it?

Another important thing to ask is whether or not they have original spare parts for it. Ask them where you can get replacements in case anything happens to your second-hand aircon unit down the road. Because if they tell you that they don’t have any of that you can’t get replacement parts for it, then don’t waste your time and money on it.

4) Is the aircon unit still under warranty?

If it’s already out of warranty, then that’s a problem. You don’t want to buy something that is not under warranty because you wouldn’t feel safe if there are problems with the unit later on. Plus, warranties are really helpful when you need repairs or parts replacement so make sure that this will still be covered by an official warranty before you sign off on any documents.

5) What’s the energy efficiency rating of this aircon unit? 

This will tell you how much power the aircon unit uses. An efficient aircon unit is a more economical choice since your monthly electric bill won’t be as high as it would if you use a less efficient one. So make sure to ask them about this first before buying.

6) Can I test it?

The last thing you want is to buy an aircon unit that doesn’t work properly when you get home. If the seller doesn’t let you take it back to your place for a short while, then ask around which stores will let you do this so that at least you can check if everything works well before leaving.

Now that we have the frequently asked questions before totally buying a second-hand aircon unit, let’s take a look at the Advantages and Disadvantages of buying a second-hand aircon unit:

Advantages of buying a second-hand aircon unit:

1) It is cheaper to buy a second-hand aircon unit compared to buying a brand new one

You can save up to half of the price or more depending on the year it was manufactured. Most brands today have a good resale value. Even if you get an old model, it’s not hard to find parts and repairmen who can fix them for relatively cheap costs.

Unlike what most people think, old aircon units consume less power than modern ones.

Did you know that a 2-Star aircon unit from the ’80s consumes only 300W, while a 3 1/2 star aircon unit from today consumes approximately 500W? This is because several factors contribute to energy consumption: power supply voltage, technology, the efficiency of the compressor, and design. The older the models that use steel plate heat exchangers such as shell & tube, the chances are it uses less electricity if it doesn’t suffer from overloading. If overloading happens, there might be a chance that internal components may get damaged and need repairs or replacement depending on how bad it was overloaded.

Aside from the fact that most parts do not cost too much compared to the price of a brand new aircon unit, repairs are also cheaper. A new compressor will be more costly compared to the new ones. Other things you can expect to get fixed or replaced are fan motors, condenser coils, valves, gauges, hoses, electrical wiring.

4) It is more environmentally friendly than buying a new one

Smaller ozone-depleting CFCs were phased out in the 90s which means it has less environmental impact compared to modern appliances that still use harmful refrigerants like R-22. The chances of finding old units with low power consumption are higher due to low insulation and metal parts, which means lesser energy waste. CFCs are a big part of ozone depletion and contribute to global warming.

5) It is more reliable compared to modern aircon due to the technology used

Modern aircon units have digital components that can be prone to failure especially with power surges or blackouts, something that old appliances usually do not experience as often as these kinds of components were still analog during those times. Digital circuitry has a higher chance for failure compared to mechanical circuits, especially if exposed to humidity/water damage from rain or flooding.

Disadvantages of buying a second-hand aircon unit:

1) Old aircon units are usually not energy star compliant

This means they don’t comply with federal standards for energy efficiency in appliances and you might suffer from higher electricity costs compared to new models that use less power when in idle mode or in max cool mode.

Pro 338 Note: A 10-year old aircon unit will most likely have an EER (energy efficiency ratio) of 6-7 while brand new units today can go as high as 12+ EERs, depending on the model. This means that your monthly electricity bill might almost double if you buy an older aircon unit instead of purchasing a brand new aircon unit.

New aircon units might have an option to switch to energy-saving mode if the temperature is not being used using the remote control, but with old models, this has no effect because they are usually locked in cooling mode unless you do manual adjustment of the thermostat settings.

2) Old aircon unit use steel plate heat exchangers

This means that they are prone to rust, replacement parts for these kinds of components are usually more expensive compared to modern types especially magnetic metal core boards that were introduced in the late ’90s.

Pro 338 Note: Part availability is also another factor for this type of aircon issue because most suppliers nowadays only deal in new parts, while some suppliers still sell refurbished or tested parts out.

Since they use mechanical compressors that can’t match the efficiency of modern rotary ones, modern rotary compressors on the other hand, usually bleed off excess pressure until it reaches optimal levels before compression starts. This means less power is wasted when starting up, but more energy will be used once you start using the aircon unit.

4) Old aircon units are usually heavier than new models

This will lead to longer installation time and additional manual labor costs since most new units today use cast aluminum frames for their components while old aircon units still have steel bars. Newer versions of aircon units also have stronger outer shells which makes them very durable to older versions that might crack or break when falling from heights.


It’s always a good time to talk about the common issues that aircon units have. This way, you’ll be able to spot if there are problems with your unit or not and prepare for its replacement accordingly. If you require our aircon servicing services, Whatsapp us at +65 9222 4141 for a fast and transparent quote.

338 Aircon Servicing Singapore provides an extensive range of Aircon Services including Aircon Servicing, Aircon Repairs, Aircon Installation of the best aircon brands, Chemical Overhaul, Gas Top-up, Aircon Leaking Water, and Aircon Not Cold Fix, and more. We have a team of professional technicians who are equipped with vast knowledge and experience in the Aircon industry. 

We have over 15 years of experience in dealing with aircon works and have completed thousands of aircon works for both residential (Landed, Condo, and HDB) and commercial. We are a highly recommended Aircon Company in Singapore, with many delighted customers and reviews over the years on Google and Facebook.

WhatsApp us at +65 9222 4141 for a transparent quotation and honest pricing for all your aircon needs or Call us at +65 9222 4141. We offer a fast and efficient service to serve any of your aircon needs!  


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