Getting an entirely new air conditioning system can get expensive, so it's worth it to look for every possible method to save money. It's important to factor in both short-term and long-term savings, and you'll probably do a little more research than you initially thought, but getting a quality system properly installed for a great price is worth the effort.
Buy the Right Size
Air conditioners come in varying "sizes" for differently sized buildings, and this isn't the physical size of the cooling unit itself. Rather, this refers to the cooling capacity of your air conditioner. If you buy an air conditioner that's too small, it will run constantly because it doesn't have the power to cool your home like it should. If it's too large, it won't remove as much humidity from your home and will cycle on and off quickly, which is bad for the life of your air conditioner.
There are a few ways to figure out what size air conditioner you need. The first is to get a Manual J calculation of your home done, and you can usually get this done through your utility company via an energy audit. You can also measure by the square footage of your home. The total square footage will help you determine how many BTUs (British Thermal Units) you need from your air conditioner, and this can help you choose the right size. In this way you save money not just through energy efficiency, but by avoiding buying an air conditioner that's too big for your home.
Find All Available Deals
Even when the initial price of air conditioners doesn't fluctuate all that much, there are plenty of ways to retroactively get money back by looking for special deals, rebates, and incentives. Here are some things to look for.
- Use a database of state incentives to see everything your state offers; you may be able to get some money back or a tax credit by buying a new air conditioner, so look through and see what applies, as this could affect your purchase.
- Look at the websites of the air conditioner manufacturers themselves, as they may also offer rebates.
- If you have memberships with any stores, see if they offer any special price drops or financing exclusively for members.
Buy During the Off Season
Buying when demand is low is an almost guaranteed way to save some money if you can afford to wait, but make sure you're shopping at the right time. Winter might seem like the logical off season for summer, but because weather is also harsh during winter, HVAC contractors will still be in high demand. Look for good deals during spring and fall when the weather isn't as extreme. Something to consider is that even if you don't save any money on the actual air conditioning unit itself, you will almost certainly save money on labor and installation due to decreased demand.
As a bonus, times of low demand are a good time to ask for what else you might be able to get with your installation, such as a free thermostat upgrade.
Install Heater and Air Conditioner Together
It might seem counter-intuitive to spend more money in order to save money, but there are a few good reasons to replace your heater at the same time as your air conditioner. For one, you can often find additional rebates and savings to essentially double down when making your purchase at the same time, and you'll also benefit from the same off-season savings. What's more, since your air conditioner and furnace share many components, it will help them run more efficiently and with less risk of damage if you have an entirely new system in your house. Long-term savings are still important, and this goes beyond simple energy efficiency; if you can hold off having to replace expensive parts that might take you by surprise later, it's worth the extra money up front.
For more information, contact a company like Scott Guerin Heating & Cooling.