At this time of year when the weather has finally cooled off, probably the last thing on your mind is buying a new air conditioner.
However, if your AC gave you trouble all summer, and you realize it’s time to consider replacing it, now is a great time to do so. Why? Buying a new air conditioner in fall and winter gives you the opportunity to shop around for the right system at the best possible price.
Is buying a new air conditioner really necessary?
In the fall and even in winter, you have the luxury of time for understanding your options when buying a new air conditioner. There are no worries about impending 90 degree weather, and you can take your time to be sure you’re making the right decision.
Your first step should be to make sure you really should be buying a new air conditioner: get an unbiased evaluation of your current system’s condition.
If the company that has been fixing your AC doesn’t do new installations, can you really trust their advice to keep repairing your old unit?
Instead, call in another air conditioning company for a second opinion, preferably one that’s MSCA or NATE certified, so you know they are knowledgeable and experienced.
When an HVAC professional comes to evaluate your air conditioner, share your system’s service history, including:
You might have to dig out the paperwork to provide this information. For example, when your air conditioner was not cooling properly, did the technician find low refrigerant levels? And if do, did they just add more refrigerant or did they find and fix the leaks? This information can go a long way to understanding whether the unit may have more life or if it’s time to think about buying a new air conditioner.
Dirty and neglected equipment is much more likely to break down and fail before it’s time. If that’s the case, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself buying a new air conditioner. Your technician will be able to tell if your unit hasn’t been regularly cleaned and tuned up, so you might as well be honest about it. If it was serviced, it can help to provide the records about exactly what was done.
Even when it’s not broken, has your air conditioner been providing less-than adequate cooling? Do you experience excessive humidity, temperature fluctuations or hot and cold spots? These can be signs that your unit is past its useful life and it may be time for buying a new air conditioner.
How to choose the right system when buying a new air conditioner
Especially for today’s luxury homes, there are many more choices than there used to be for climate control.
Depending on the type of space you live in, the design of your space, and your heating and cooling needs, you can take advantage of sophisticated new technologies that can provide customized, zoned cooling for perfectly comfortable conditions. Some new systems, such as VRF systems, can even provide heating and cooling at the same time. You’ve probably also heard about new wireless controls that let you adjust your thermostat from your smart phone.
But for someone who’s not an HVAC expert, it can be challenging to wade through all the brochures and websites and figure out what’s right for you. Get some advice to be sure you’re making a smart choice when buying a new air conditioner. Not only with the type of system you choose, but the system size and design. This is an important step, and you want to be sure the company you work with considers more than just the square footage of your space when designing your system:
- How many people are in your home and at what hours of the day?
- How well insulated your space is
- Where equipment and ductwork can be placed (which can be challenging in New York City apartment spaces)
- Whether you need supplemental heating as well as cooling (such as heat for a baby’s room while the rest of the house is air conditioned for a party)
Lower demand means a lower price when buying a new air conditioner
This is no secret: things get less expensive when demand goes down. So it makes sense to consider buying a new air conditioner off-season when you can get the best price.
When you choose a reputable air conditioning contractor, the company will have relationships with various suppliers and can provide brand recommendations as well as finding you the best deal. Suppliers often have systems on hand that didn’t sell over the summer, and will sell at a significant discount to make room for new models coming out in the spring.
If you wait on buying a new air conditioner until the weather starts to warm up again, you’ll be in line with everyone else who is buying a new air conditioner in time for those first hot days, and you’ll pay top dollar.
If you want to learn more about the types of residential air conditioning systems, their features and their pros and cons, get your free copy of our informative guide: The Ultimate Guide to Air Conditioning for NYC Luxury Residential Spaces.