If your air conditioner is on its last legs, you may be dreading the cost of replacing it. A new AC unit can set you back thousands of dollars. However, there are ways to get a quality system without breaking the bank. Follow these tips to save money on the cost of replacing AC unit.
Research Energy Efficient Models
The first way to save is by choosing an energy-efficient AC model. While energy efficient units often cost more upfront, they can save you hundreds of dollars per year on utility bills. Look for systems that are Energy Star certified. This means they meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA. Units with a SEER rating of 16 or higher are considered high efficiency. The higher the SEER, the more you’ll save on operating costs.
Get Multiple Estimates
Don’t just go with the first quote you receive. Contact at least 3 or 4 HVAC contractors and get written estimates for an AC replacement. Make sure all the estimates are for the same SEER rating and features so you can accurately compare cost of replacing AC unit. Prices can vary widely, so this step can save you hundreds or even thousands. Go with the most reasonable estimate.
Ask About Special Financing Offers
Many HVAC companies offer special financing promotions, like delayed interest plans or no payments for 12 months. This allows you to get a new AC system now and pay it off slowly over time. Just be sure to understand the full terms of any financing offer before signing. Make sure to ask if there are fees for paying it off early in case you decide to do that.
Look for Rebates and Tax Credits
There are often rebates available when you purchase a new high-efficiency AC unit. Check with your state or local utility company to see what incentive programs are available. Some utilities give rebates of $300 or more for buying an Energy Star-certified system. The federal government also offers tax credits for energy-efficient HVAC systems that can save you up to $500 off your tax bill.
Buy Your AC in the Off-Season
Another way to get the best price is by having your AC installed during the off-season. Cooling demands, and prices, are highest during the spring and summer. You’ll often get much lower rates for both the unit and installation if you can wait to do it in the fall or winter. Just make sure your old AC can make it through another warm season if you go this route.
Get Multiple Quotes on Installation
The cost of replacing AC unit isn’t the only expense. Installation costs also add up. Like getting multiple equipment quotes, get estimates from several HVAC companies for the installation. Be sure quotes are for the same work so you can properly compare. Factors like complex ductwork or the need for electrical upgrades can greatly affect installation costs.
Consider a Smaller Unit
If your old AC unit was oversized, replacing it with a smaller, properly sized one can save thousands. Oversized AC systems are inefficient and cost more to buy and run. Work with a qualified HVAC pro to calculate your home’s cooling needs. In some cases, a smaller unit combined with fans or ductwork improvements can provide adequate cooling at a much lower cost. Just be careful not to undersize.
Repair Your Existing Unit
Before replacing your air conditioner, consider contacting an HVAC company to diagnose the issue. In some cases, you may just need to repair a small component or refill the refrigerant. That can be much cheaper than buying a whole new system. Even if your current AC unit is beyond repair, you can likely keep using it temporarily while you save up for a new one.
Focus on Quality over the Lowest Price
Don’t just choose the cheapest air conditioning contractors. Quality and expertise are also important. A poorly installed low-end unit likely won’t provide comfort or efficiency. Get written estimates from HVAC companies that have a good reputation in your area. Look for ones that will give you a warranty on parts and labor. Paying a little more upfront for quality can save you money and headaches down the road.
Replacing your air conditioner is a major expense, but following these tips can help you save quite a bit of money without sacrificing comfort or quality. Do your research, get multiple estimates, and look for special offers and incentives. With the right approach, you can stay cool this summer without breaking the bank on a new AC system.