Best Time For Buying Air Conditioner – Forbes Advisor

2022-01-03 15:00:37 By : Ms. Irene Zhang

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Seeing the temperature ticking upward may be a good reminder to buy an air conditioner, but this isn’t actually the best time to make that purchase. As with many services and products for your home, you are more likely to save money with air conditioning sales during the off-season. Nationally, it costs an average of $5,650 to purchase and install a new central air conditioner.

Low: $3,800 Average: $5,650 High: $10,000-plus for complicated ductwork systems

Beyond the season, air conditioning costs are also affected by the type of unit, the square footage of space that needs to be cooled and the existing ductwork system. Alternatively, there are less expensive air conditioning units—such as swamp coolers, window units or mini-splits—that can cool your home on a tighter budget.

Especially for central air conditioning sales that require installation by a HVAC professional, the best time to make the call is during fall through spring. And, although you may think winter is the best time due to the lowest competition, that isn’t true; HVAC professionals are busy working on heating units during winter months, which can contribute to a longer wait and greater expense than during the fall or spring.

By working opposite the market demand, HVAC professionals are more likely to be available to install the central air conditioning unit in a timely manner. They may also be more motivated to offer a sale or bargain. Larger HVAC companies may also be able to pass along savings from the manufacturer during these cooler months, which benefits the companies that are looking to maintain semi-stable earnings throughout the year.

Although you may not need a professional to install another type of air conditioning unit, such as a window unit or swamp cooler, the prices are historically lower on these during cool weather months. One reason for this is that air conditioners, like cars, are regularly available in new models. Distributors want to clear out the previous year’s models during the off-season to make room for upcoming versions, which can be a great thing for people looking to purchase air conditioners.

With multiple types of air conditioning systems, some are better suited to certain houses than others. There is also a wide spectrum for the costs of air conditioners with window units on the low end and smart or geothermal central air conditioners on the high end. Determining which type of air conditioning system is right for you will also factor into the question of when is the best time to buy an air conditioner.

Also known as ducted systems, these units can be quite expensive to retrofit to homes that don’t have ductwork to use central air conditioning. For that reason, the best time to buy and install a central air conditioner is when you are building a home. If you are looking to replace a central air conditioner in a home with existing ductwork, then it’s best to take advantage of off-season shopping. On average, it costs $5,650 to install central air conditioning.

The least expensive option, window air conditioners are best for cooling one room at a time. Because these units only need a window rather than a complete ductwork system, you can purchase them at any time and don’t need professional installation. However, for the best prices on window air conditioners, you’ll still want to shop during the off-season or during certain holiday sales. On average, it costs $300 to install a window air conditioner in one room—with savings if you DIY the installation.

Compact, able to mount to the wall and not reliant on a ductwork system, mini-split air conditioners are popular options for people who want to add air conditioning to the home. Although mini-split units only cool the room in which they are mounted, they are relatively easy to install. On average, it costs $3,000 to install a ductless mini-split system to cool a home.

As an evaporative cooler, swamp coolers are best suited to climates with hot, dry air. Good at humidifying and cooling the air, they are efficient air conditioner options. However, they can be loud and unsightly. On average, it costs $2,500 to install a swamp cooler to cool a home.

Among air conditioning system options, there is also a variety of prices per unit that depend on the efficiency, square footage that can be cooled and other factors. If you work with an HVAC professional to install air conditioning, ask about the options that are available to you and be sure to get multiple quotes.

In the best-case scenario, you can anticipate the need to buy an air conditioner and purchase one when the price is right—not when it unexpectedly stops working in mid-July. Most central air conditioners can be expected to last 15 to 20 years, although the efficiency decreases over time. If your unit is nearing the end of its lifespan, start doing research in advance to give yourself the most bargaining power.

To increase the likelihood of getting a good deal on an air conditioner, consider buying when you are:

If you’re prepared to buy an air conditioning system in the off-season when you aren’t desperate for a new one, you are already off to a good start. By getting multiple quotes from HVAC professionals and shopping around for the unit that is right for your needs, you can be sure that you are getting a good deal.

Beyond the lowest possible price on the unit, other ways to save while buying an air conditioner include asking about tax credits and rebates that are available for highly efficient models and asking whether you can get any free upgrades such as a smart thermostat. Also remember that more expensive, more efficient may pay off in the long run with your utility bills if you plan to stay in the home for years to come.

Emily is a writer specializing in personal finance, real estate and parenting. By demystifying complicated topics ranging from mortgage products to baby stroller options, she hopes to give readers more confidence in their next steps. In addition to Forbes, she works as a copywriter for businesses of all sizes.

Lexie is an assistant editor who is responsible for writing and editing articles over a wide variety of home-related topics. She has almost four years’ experience in the home improvement space and harnessed her expertise while working for companies like HomeAdvisor and Angi (formerly Angie’s List).