Buying a new HVAC system is a big decision and often accompanied by a big cost, one that most homeowners wish they could avoid. Most HVAC systems are designed to last 15-20 years and if you plan to remain in your home for that long, you will need to replace the HVAC system eventually.
If you’re installing a new HVAC system, you may question when the best time is to buy an HVAC system. Is it cheaper to buy at certain times of the year? What factors should you take into consideration when replacing your HVAC unit? Here are some guidelines to help you purchase a new HVAC system at the best possible time and at the best price.
Before Your Current HVAC Unit Dies
If you don’t want to find yourself without cool air during a hot Las Vegas summer or without heat during the cold days of winter, then don’t wait until your HVAC system dies before replacing it. HVAC systems usually give warning signs as they near the end of their life. If your system is more than 15 years old, is not heating or cooling as it used to despite regular maintenance, and isn’t as energy efficient as it used to be, it could be time to replace it.
Call your HVAC professional for an inspection. They will be able to advise whether it simply needs a tune-up, more extensive repairs, or needs replacing. It may be that only the air conditioner or furnace needs replacing rather than the entire HVAC unit, which will help you save money.
If You’re Doing Constant Repairs
If you find yourself calling your HVAC technician on a regular basis because your system is always acting up, it’s time to stop spending money on endless repairs and replace the system instead. Just as it isn’t worth spending money on constant repairs to an old car, it isn’t worth it to continually fix an old failing HVAC system. When you add up what you’ve spent over time, you may find you’ve spent more money on repairs than you would have on buying a new system.
Spare yourself the frustration, inconvenience, and expense and replace the unit. A well-functioning HVAC system is more energy-efficient, will lower your electric bill, and makes life more comfortable for the whole family.
When Doing Renovations
If you’re tackling a home renovation project, it’s the perfect time to consider replacing your HVAC system. Home renovations usually mean you’ll be facing weeks, if not months, of disruption. It makes sense to kill two birds with one stone and install a new HVAC at the same time rather than face further disruption on an installation at a later date.
This is also the ideal opportunity to investigate more energy-efficient options such as a system with a higher SEER rating. It’s also a great time to upgrade to a zoned system or a programmable thermostat. Upgrades like these will help you run a more energy-efficient system as you can choose to heat or cool only the rooms that are in use and not unoccupied rooms. It also means family members can set their preferred temperature in the room they are in, ending family squabbles over the ideal temperature and keeping everyone happy.
When Purchasing a New Home
When you’re purchasing a new-build home, you are able to choose everything from scratch, including a brand new HVAC system that suits your household needs. If you’re buying a previously-owned home, you will probably look at many factors like structural issues, plumbing, electrical wiring, the size of the house, design, and features. The HVAC system is probably not top of mind. However, inspecting the HVAC unit is advisable when buying a home, especially if it is an older home. Older HVAC systems may have rust, mold, damaged ducts, or worn parts.
An HVAC contractor will also look at other aspects of the home that may affect the HVAC system’s performance such as insulation and air leaks. In addition, asking an HVAC contractor to assess the system may reveal that the HVAC unit is incorrectly sized. This is a problem you should correct as soon as possible. An improperly sized unit is less efficient and will wear out sooner. According to Energy Star, an improperly sized HVAC unit can lower performance by up to 30 percent.
An oversized HVAC system results in what is termed short-cycling. Air conditioners cycle on and off as needed to keep your home at the temperature set on the thermostat. An oversized unit will reach the temperature faster but results in the unit switching on and off more frequently. This frequent cycling causes the unit to work harder, leads to increased wear and tear and reduces the lifespan of the unit.
An undersized HVAC system, on the other hand, doesn’t have enough capacity to cool the home adequately. This means it will continue to run for longer in an attempt to reach the desired temperature. An HVAC system that is running almost 24 hours a day will increase your energy bill dramatically and also shorten the lifespan of the unit.
Shop for an HVAC System During The Off-Season
Most people have been led to believe that the best time to buy an air conditioner is during winter and the best time to buy a heating system is during summer. The rationale is that air conditioners will sell at a lower price during winter and heating systems will be cheaper during summer. This isn’t always the case.
Winter and summer are when homes use the HVAC system the most and when HVAC companies are at their busiest selling new units, performing maintenance, and conducting repairs. As business is generally booming during the busy summer and winter months, HVAC companies are less likely to offer discounts and sales.
Because Las Vegas winters are milder than many other parts of the country, it is possible to find a good deal in winter. However, to stand a better chance of finding a good deal, the best time to buy an HVAC system is in the offseason, i.e. spring or fall.
During spring and fall, most people aren’t running their HVAC systems as often which, in turn, means HVAC companies are not as busy and are not selling as many new units. They may be sitting with unsold units they are desperate to sell. To move stock quickly, many HVAC companies will reduce the price of the units. Suppliers and manufacturers also lower the price of units to clear older stock before new models arrive for the next season. That lower price is passed down to the contractor who, in turn, can pass the savings along to the customer.
Moreover, because HVAC technicians are not that busy on callouts in the offseason, HVAC companies may also offer discounted installation rates. So keep an eye out during the offseason. You could score a great deal on a new air conditioner or heating system as well as lower installation rates!
Buying an HVAC system during the offseason also means less inconvenience. If you’re replacing an air conditioner during summer and you have to wait weeks for the installation to be completed, you’ll suffer the discomfort of sweltering days with no cool air. Not a pleasant thought. If, however, you’re replacing it during offseason when temperatures are more tolerable, you’ll cope just fine without air conditioning for a few days.
What To Consider When Buying a New HVAC System
The cost of central whole-house HVAC systems ranges from around $2,000 for lower-end systems to as much as $13,000 for premium models. Pricing depends on the brand, type of system, size of your house, and whether you’re buying additional products like humidifiers, air purifiers, and smart thermostats.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate a lower price and indicate that you are shopping around for the best price at various HVAC companies. Remember, if you are buying in the offseason, you have some leverage. Yes, you want a new HVAC system but the HVAC company also wants a sale and will be more inclined to knock down the price when sales are slow. Most HVAC contractors also offer financing to make a purchase more affordable.
Type of Unit
When buying a new heating and cooling system, you can choose a different type of system. Other types of HVAC systems include ductless mini-split systems, heat pumps, and window units.
If you have a large home, central air is best. Window units are cheaper, costing between $200 to $600, and are a good option for an additional room you’re building or a small apartment. Ductless systems are growing in popularity. Because they don’t require ductwork, they are easier to install. Ductless systems also allow you to heat and cool only the rooms that are occupied as well as set different temperatures in different areas of the home.
Tax Credits and Rebates
When buying a new HVAC system, ask your HVAC contractor about tax credits and rebates. If you are upgrading to a more energy-efficient HVAC system, you could qualify for the following tax credits and rebates:
- NV Energy provides rebates when installing a heat pump and an air conditioner with a SEER rating of 15 and above. You could get as much as $1,000 back in your pocket when installing an air conditioner with a SEER 20 rating.
- HVAC products endorsed by Energy Star will qualify you for a tax credit up to 10 percent of the cost up to $500 or a set amount from $50-$300.
You can receive rebates on Lennox products from $275-$1,300 between March and June.
Hire a Licensed Contractor
When selecting an HVAC contractor, don’t be tempted to hire the cheapest or an unlicensed contractor. Installing HVAC equipment requires specialized knowledge and skills. You want it done right the first time. Always choose a licensed HVAC contractor with trained technicians. At the Cooling Company, our HVAC technicians are EPA-certified so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your HVAC installation is done properly.
Make sure the contractor offers the protection of a guarantee, warranty, or insurance. This assures you that should that there be a problem with the product or installation, you can return the product and receive your money back or have parts replaced at no extra cost.
Buying an HVAC system is a big investment. If replacing your HVAC system isn’t urgent, take some time to plan and research the best time to buy an HVAC system, compare prices, and inquire about discounts and rebates. Knowing when the best time is to buy an HVAC system and what to take into consideration can help you make a smart decision that saves money.
If you are unsure on when is the best time to buy an HVAC unit, give us a call. Our experts are always happy to help!