Buying an air conditioner can be an intimidating and stressful process. Your current AC system might have broken, leaving you dealing with the intense summer heat, or you may have just moved into a new house, and are struggling to get everything working. Additionally, if you’ve never bought an AC system before, or if you’re new to the world of buying an AC system online, you might not know where to begin.
Fortunately, if you know where to look, you can find discount AC systems that not only fit well within your budget, but can also provide you with the reliable functionality and extended lifespan you need to feel confident in your decision. The question is, what steps should you take to ensure you’re making the right call?
In this guide, we’ll help you destress and make the process easier.
Why Buying an AC Unit Online Is Easier and Saves You Money!
Let’s start by covering some of the most common motivations for buying an AC unit online. Why would you shop online, rather than working with an HVAC contractor in your local area?
- Speed and convenience. Why shop for anything online? Usually, people are motivated by speed and convenience. You can look for air conditioners no matter what time it is or where you are, assuming you have an internet connection. You can browse through hundreds, if not thousands of options as you see fit—and spend as much time as you want doing so, with no pressure from a live salesperson.
- On average, it costs a U.S. homeowner between $5,000 and $5,500 for a central air conditioner, but these costs vary wildly depending on what type of unit you get, how you have it installed, and what kind of discounts you’re able to get. If you buy online, you’ll be able to find the perfect unit for your budget—and get it for the best possible price.
- You can also be confident you’re making your decision with more transparency if you buy online. Rather than relying on what a salesperson is telling you, or feeling like you’re being pressured into a decision, you can do all the research yourself, see all the specs for each unit firsthand, and ultimately make the right decision for you and your family.
We Have Teamed up to Gather 5 Life-Saving Tips You Must Consider When Buying an AC System Online
Of course, if you want to buy the right AC unit online, and capitalize on these benefits, you’ll need to follow these five important tips:
- Know what size AC you need. First, take the time to learn what size AC system you need. Purchasing a unit that’s too big or too powerful will cause you to spend too much money—and may result in inefficient cycling. But if you buy one that’s too small or too weak, you may not get the cooling power you need. An AC system that’s “just right” will cool your home completely and run as efficiently as possible, so that’s what you’ll need to aim for.
AC systems are measured in “tonnage.” Rather than measuring how much the AC unit weighs, this measurement rates the AC unit’s ability to cool air, with 1 ton being equivalent to 12,000 BTUs per hour of cooling power. As you might expect, a 2-ton unit would have the equivalent of 24,000 BTUs per hour of cooling power. The traditional formula for determining your needs is to take the square footage of your home, multiply it by 30, and divide by 12,000, then subtract 1; if your home is 1,500 square feet, you’d end up with a value of 2.75, meaning you should aim for a unit of 2.5 or 3.0 tons.
The only problem with this formula is that it doesn’t consider individual factors about your home; for example, do you live in an arid climate, or a cooler one? Is your home fully insulated? Does it benefit from shade in the summer? You’ll need to take these factors into consideration to get a better estimate of your needs.
- Know what type of AC system you need. Next, you’ll need to decide what type of air conditioning unit you want to buy. There are several smaller options available, if you’re only interested in cooling a single room; for example, you could buy a window unit, a casement AC unit, or even a portable air conditioner. Central AC systems tend to be more efficient for whole-home cooling, and they rely on ductwork to distribute cool air. If you want a ductless system, you can buy a split system air conditioner online!
- Get multiple local A/C replacement quotes. You may want to get quotes from local HVAC contractors; they’ll work with you to better understand the size and nature of your home, so you can get an expert opinion on what size and type of air conditioner you need. This is a great opportunity to ask questions about the pros and cons of each type of unit, and solidify your understanding of what kind of unit you’ll need to buy. From there, you’ll get a written estimate with all the specs of the system you want; you can then use this information to shop online for the best possible deal.
- Select an HVAC contractor/installer. One thing to keep in mind when buying an AC system online is that installation is generally not included; you’ll be able to buy and have the unit delivered to your home, but you’ll need to arrange for installation. Additionally, you should hire a contractor who is HVAC licensed; otherwise, the manufacturer will most likely void the warranty. Otherwise, you can do your own research and choose a contractor based on their reputation in the area. If you do, make sure you tell them you’ve already acquired the unit (and have model number and specs ready for them). This will streamline the process.
- Look for opportunities for extra savings. Finally, look for additional savings, and consider the long-term money you’ll save with higher efficiency systems. For example, upgrading from a 14 SEER to a 16 SEER unit can result in a 13 percent total energy savings, often paying for itself in the long run. You may also be able to capitalize on tax credits for your energy efficiency upgrade, or find special manufacturer rebates that lower your total purchase price.
Are you ready to start shopping for an air conditioner online? Browse our collection of AC units today, or contact us for more assistance with your decision!