The best time to get a good deal on an air conditioner is when the demand is lowest. And if you choose to purchase an air conditioner during temperate months, you can take more time to research and shop around without feeling like you must purchase a new system immediately. We’ve prepared a buying guide to help you save on the right system for your home by purchasing during the off season.
In Arizona where summers are hot but the rest of the year is relatively cool, fall, winter, or early spring qualifies as the off season. During that time, manufacturers may have additional rebates and be inclined to offer larger discounts or throw in upgrades as an incentive to purchase.
Deciding what kind of air conditioner you should buy can feel overwhelming – especially if you’ve never purchased one before. There are pros and cons for different brands, and all kinds of considerations like size and specific needs to factor in, including energy efficiency, and of course, pricing.
Before you go online to dive into everything that’s available, take a minute here to orient yourself to the different kinds of new air conditioner options. Whether you’re shopping for a window unit to cool one room or a complete system to turn down the heat on your entire home, there are four main types of air conditioners to choose from.
The most common type of air conditioner is a whole home system that uses mechanical units and ductwork to force cool air to flow into every room in your home. Because these systems are a major investment, they are typically built to last. You can expect a newly installed system to have a lifespan that ranges from 10 to 15+ years in Arizona’s harsh summer conditions. Your choices for a central air conditioner are either a split system or a packaged unit.
A split system is a good choice if you already have a furnace and are simply adding to or updating the system you currently have because this system uses the same ductwork to cool your home that your furnace uses to heat it. Another plus is that split systems are virtually noise-free.
Split systems are cost-efficient since you won’t have to pay for new ductwork. However, you will still need the help of a qualified contractor or HVAC technician to have the split system installed.
Typically located outside your home, package units bundle all the air conditioning components in a smaller, compact configuration. Many packaged units also contain a heat source, which can be more economical than a split system if you need to replace both your air conditioner and your heating system at the same time.
If you’re tight on space, a smaller packaged unit may be the way to go. They are a great choice for those who don’t have a great deal of room in their yards. In fact, most people who choose a packaged unit do so because they can put it on their roof.
With packaged units, the air supply and return are contained in your home’s ductwork, which funnels cooled and heated air in and out of your home. Even though packaged units are smaller and less complicated than split systems, you will still need to hire a professional to install it.
Need to cool a smaller area that doesn’t have ductwork? A ductless, mini-split system might be the best option for you. These generally perform the same way a split system does, just without the need for existing ductwork or the installation of new ductwork. Ductless, mini-split systems are ideal for cooling new additions, finished garages, or other previously non-air conditioned rooms.
Energy efficiency is another big plus of a mini-split system. Traditional whole house split systems often experience a measurable loss of cooling because the air must travel a greater distance through the ductwork to rooms all over the home. Mini-split systems offer greater flexibility and temperature control. Because ductless systems operate independently, you can set some rooms to be cooler and others to be warmer depending on the requirements for each individual space. Only slightly less long lasting than traditional split systems, mini-split systems have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
Even though most units are simply mounted at the top of a wall in the room you want to cool, and don’t require ductwork, you’ll still need to hire a professional HVAC company to install them.
As the name implies, window units are installed into a partially opened window. They have a hot air exhaust system facing outside and a cool air return facing inside. These lightweight, portable units can cool one room or a series of connected rooms that don’t have doors to block the flow of air. An advantage is that you can remove them when the weather gets cooler. You can expect window and wall room air conditioning units to last about 10 years.
Don’t have a window that will work? Try a wall unit that is installed with both vents facing inward. In addition to not requiring window access, the advantage of wall units over window units is that they have higher cooling capacities.
Both window and wall units are inexpensive and energy efficient. Many feature programmable timers and varying modes of cooling. They can be an ideal option if you live in a small home or in a cooler climate.
While you might be fine installing a window unit by yourself, you’ll probably need a contractor to cut a hole in the drywall to install a wall unit.
Whether you just want to cool a few rooms with a mini-split unit or have a whole house air conditioning system installed, call Chas Roberts. We’ve installed, repaired, and maintained countless air conditioning systems throughout Arizona. Contact us for answers to your cooling questions or to schedule a free in-home estimate today.
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