Getting a New Air Conditioner on a Budget

Getting a New Air Conditioner on a Budget from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

These days it doesn’t seem to matter where you live, the summer months can be suffocating without A/C. This means that in all likelihood, the time will come when you’re going to have to replace your old air conditioner and get a new one installed. If you’re on a budget, you may be trying to avoid that expense by holding on to your old air conditioning unit or filling up every room in your home with multiple fans. While it may seem cheaper to keep the status quo, it could very well be costing you more money than installing a new air conditioner. Thankfully, it is possible to get a new air conditioner installed in your home even if you’re on a budget. We’ll cover some tips for saving money on an air conditioning installation but first, let’s take a look at some of the factors that can affect the cost of an install.

Factors that Affect the Price of an Air Conditioning Installation

There’s the cost of the air conditioning unit itself and then, of course, the labor cost to install it. How much those costs will be dependent on a number of factors including:

  • The size of your home and your cooling needs. A certified HVAC specialist like ones you can find at will calculate how hot your home gets and use that measurement to decide on the type of air conditioner that will efficiently cool your entire home.
  • The existing ductwork or lack of ductwork. Hopefully, you do have ductwork installed and it’s in good shape. Depending on how old it is, your HVAC installer may have to seal it and/or add upgrades to optimize your heating and air conditioning efficiency. Doing this will also save you money on energy costs. 
  • If you’re going with a ductless air conditioning system, the more heating and cooling zones you set up in your home, the higher the cost.
  • Any other equipment you may decide to add to your system including air cleaners, humidifiers or de-humidifiers

When deciding on who to go with for the installation, it’s always a good idea to get a few quotes first. Because you’re on a budget you might be tempted to go with the lowest estimate but keep these things in mind: experience of the installer, dependability, reputation, amount of time the work will take and also, if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. If the installation or ductwork is done incorrectly, or if the wrong air conditioning unit is chosen, you’ll end up paying a lot more money in electricity bills, service calls and maybe even a re-installation. 

You can check out the Air Conditioning Contractors of America locator to find a contractor but make sure you also check out Better Business Bureau or  Angie’s List before you hire anyone to see if their previous customers have posted reviews on their work.

Tips for Getting a New Air Conditioner Installation on a Budget

A good place to start is with the Energy Star rebate finder to find out if there are any rebates or other financial incentives available through the manufacturers, your utility company, and/or your local government for people living in your ZIP code. If there is more than one incentive available, you can use them together. Just keep in mind that sometimes the manufacturers only offer rebates on their more expensive models so try not to get lured into buying something you don’t really need because you think it’s a ‘better deal’.

Speaking of the air conditioner unit, before you make a decision on which one to go with, consider how many people are living in your home, what time of day they’re mostly home and how long they spend at home. You may find that you can choose a less-costly option. And when you’ve narrowed down your choices, look for reviews on each unit you’re considering. Simply typing the make, model and the word “reviews” into a Google search should give you plenty to read.

Also, look for sales and discounts with warehouse clubs and big box stores for any promotions available through their partners. For example, Sam’s Club members get a 10% discount on air conditioning installations with Home Install Experts.

If you can, shop for air conditioners and have the installation done during the off-season. You may find better deals on air conditioners and installation labor costs. The off-season for HVAC companies is during spring and fall as they’re busy with air conditioner installations in the summer and heating work in the winter. If you wait for the off-season, you’ll probably also find that it’s easier to book an appointment and that the work gets done faster.

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