What is the Ideal Time to Purchase an Air Conditioner?

Most Arizonans probably know that the best time to buy an air conditioner in Arizona is not in the middle of summer when we’re running our air conditioners continuously. But when is the best time?

Summer and winter are the seasons with the highest and lowest temperatures, and HVAC installers also tend to be busier at those times.

Spring and fall are generally the best times to buy an air conditioner, as they’re the seasons with the least extreme temperatures.

However, when you’re ready to buy a new air conditioner, timing your purchase is just one of many things to consider before you make your purchase.

Air Conditioner Size

Air conditioners are sized based on their capacity to cool a space, measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs.

When applying BTU specifications to an air conditioner, the BTU number refers to the amount of heat the air conditioner can remove from the air in one hour.

A larger air conditioner with more cooling capacity isn’t necessarily the best choice for your home.

If the A/C unit is too big for your home, the compressor will turn on and off more than it should, leading to more wear and tear on the system and higher operating costs. An air conditioner that’s too large also won’t remove as much humidity from the air as a correctly sized unit.

Purchasing an air conditioner that’s too small for your home won’t keep it cool enough on the hottest summer days.  So choosing the correct size air conditioner for your home is essential.

Your home’s floor plan, number of stories, ceiling height, and layout all factor into the number of BTUs your new air conditioner should have.

A west-facing house in direct sunlight may require more BTUs than a north-facing house that sits in the shade.

As a general estimate of BTU requirements, a 1,500-2,000 square foot house needs an air conditioner with 30,000 BTUs, and a home with 2,000-2,400 square feet requires a unit with 34,000 BTUs.

Tonnage is also a measurement used for central air conditioners, and it refers to cooling capacity, not weight. One ton is equivalent to 12,000 BTUs of cooling capacity for an A/C unit.

It’s best to consult an HVAC professional who can help you determine the best air conditioner size for your home.

SEER Ratings

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which indicates an air conditioner’s efficiency and performance. The SEER rating shows how much energy an air conditioner will use over one year.

Generally, the higher the SEER, the less energy you’ll use cooling your home. In Arizona, where we run our air conditioners non-stop during the summer, you could see significant savings by purchasing a higher SEER-rated energy-efficient A/C unit.

Cooling systems generally fall into three categories based on their SEER rating:

  • Baseline efficiency: 13-16 SEER
  • Mid-efficiency: 16-18 SEER
  • High-efficiency: 20+ SEER

The U.S. Department of Energy set a minimum SEER rating for new air conditioners sold in Arizona as of January 1, 2023 at 15. That means any new air conditioner you purchase after that date will be at least SEER 15.

The Department of Energy states that the new higher standards will save U.S. homeowners $2.5 billion to $12.5 Billion in energy costs between 2023 and 2052.

Air conditioners with a rating of 16 SEER or higher often have a two-stage compressor, which allows for increased energy efficiency. A two-stage compressor also allows for longer run times, making it better at reducing humidity in your home.

Another benefit of a higher SEER air conditioner with a two-stage compressor is that the unit may also have two-speed condensing fans and blowers, adding to the benefits of the two-speed compressor.

A higher SEER unit with a two-stage compressor can run at low speed, making it quieter when it runs.

You may also be able to receive a federal tax credit with a minimum 16 SEER-rated split system air conditioner.

A Chas Roberts pro can help you decide which SEER rating is the best choice for your new air conditioner.

Energy Star Ratings

Energy Star is a government-backed system for energy efficiency.  Products with the Energy Star label are more energy-efficient, help protect the environment, and can save you money in energy costs.

Energy Star air conditioning systems meet or exceed EPA energy requirements and must have a SEER rating of 15 or higher.

According to the energy.gov website, Energy Star air conditioners are 15% more efficient than standard models, so they’re worth considering for maximum energy savings when choosing a new air conditioner.

Programmable Thermostats

If you still have a manual thermostat, installing a new air conditioner is an ideal time to upgrade to a programmable thermostat.

Programmable thermostats have some significant benefits over manual models. You’ll be able to set various temperatures throughout the day in your home with a programmable thermostat, giving you precise temperature control and saving you money on energy bills.

The U.S. Department of Energy states that a programmable thermostat can save you as much as 10% on your energy bills.

Considering how much we run our air conditioners during Arizona’s scorching summers and the higher utility rates, that can be a considerable cost saving.

A programmable thermostat also reduces the time your HVAC system runs, which means less wear and tear on the system.

Another advantage of a programmable thermostat is you can have it professionally recalibrated if needed. If your manual thermostat becomes uncalibrated, you’ll need to replace it.

Your thermostat is crucial in determining how comfortable you are in your home as it controls the temperature throughout your house.

It’s worth examining the available options in programmable thermostats with a Chas Roberts pro when purchasing your new air conditioner.


The best time to buy a new air conditioner in Arizona is before your old one fails for good in the middle of summer. If your air conditioner is over ten years old, losing efficiency, and costing you more money in repairs, that time may be now.

Timing your A/C purchase is just one factor to consider before you buy a new air conditioner.

A Chas Roberts professional can help you explore all the available new air conditioner options before you make your purchase.

Chas Roberts is the oldest and largest residential HVAC company in Arizona and has been in business for over 75 years. Contact us for quality, reliable service.