When Is the Best Time to Buy & Install an AC System?

Posted on: September 17, 2014

There are many factors to weigh when installing a new central AC system. You may be considering the performance of your old system. Was it noisy and inefficient, or were you happy with it? Perhaps your current AC isn’t getting the job done, and you’re hoping the system makes it to season’s end. In actuality, the fall season is a very good time to take advantage of installing a new AC system, and here’s why.

Choosing a Spring AC Installation in Raleigh

Many contractors and AC specialists will tell you spring is the best time to purchase and install, and honestly they have a lot of good points here. There are a lot of big perks to buying a new system in the off season, including:

  • The weather allows for it. Right now it’s pretty cozy in our area, meaning you don’t need to rely on a system in operation right this moment, which makes installation a comfortable option.
  • There are quite a few purchase incentives in the spring, including major sales, service specials, and other options that can make it easy on your budget.
  • Pairing installation with a duct and cooling system inspection can ensure you get perfect cooling power and excellent energy-efficiency for the foreseeable future.

Summer Season AC installation

If you find yourself caught in a Raleigh or Durham summer without proper home cooling, it makes a lot of sense to install now rather than try to wait it out for some kind of incentive or sale. Our summers are rough, and you need to be sure your home is healthy, comfortable, and safe. It’s not our favorite option for air conditioner installation, but it can bring some other benefits:

  • You get to beat the heat, which is its own reward, if not a bit obvious.
  • There are some mid-season sales, including many contractors offering energy-assessment services on sale that can help you maintain better efficiency with your new system.
  • A system replacement can offer you better energy ratings and higher home comfort levels if your current system is underperforming.

Advantages of Fall Season AC Installation

If you were somewhat unsatisfied with your cooling system’s performance during the summer months, it would make sense to choose a new system installation in the fall. Doing so also comes with some unique perks, including:

  • By preparing your home for a new AC, you are also winterizing your home for the heating months.
  • You may take advantage of manufacturer and contractor end-of-season incentives.
  • While getting a new AC installation, you can also take advantage of furnace system maintenance to prep your system for perfect cold-season performance.
  • Alternative heating/cooling options are great in the fall, as a heat pump can provide you with both, while also boosting home energy-efficiency.

Choosing a Winter Season AC Installation

An AC installation in the wintertime is kind of rare, seeing as at the moment getting a cooler North Carolina home is probably at the stark bottom of your list of things you want. But while somewhat unorthodox, there are some things to be said for its benefit, such as:

  • Demand is typically at its lowest, making new system costs pretty much as low as they’re going to be without some major sale or discount.
  • You don’t currently need home cooling (at all!), and thus a service team is not going to interrupt your comfort.
  • Duct services at this time, in conjunction with your installation service, can help to alleviate the air quality problems we face during the winter months.

Home Efficiency Checklist

When undertaking an HVAC replacement, upgrade or new installation, it’s always wise to inspect the home for efficiency, heat gain/loss and the state of the ductwork. Following are the steps to prepare for installing your new AC or any other HVAC system:

  • An energy audit is performed to assess where and how your home uses energy. The goal of an energy audit is to reveal wasteful energy components, systems and practices so that you may correct deficiencies.
  • Efficiency upgrades may include sealing air leaks in the home’s envelope, such as possible leaks around windows and the attic hatch, and could involve adding insulation or replacing moldy insulation. You may also receive suggestions for future upgrades to Energy Star-qualified appliances and systems when the time arises, and tips for wise energy usage.
  • A load calculation is performed to measure the rate of heat gain/loss through the home shell. An accurate calculation is needed to correctly size your new AC.

AC Selection Process

New AC systems are substantially more efficient than those manufactured 10-20 years ago. In fact, a standard air conditioner available today could be 30 percent more efficient than the old model you are replacing. A high-efficiency AC system may deliver 50 percent or more greater energy efficiency.

Moreover, the home automation add-on systems and components available today enhance comfort to suit your lifestyle, and leverage the most opportune times to save energy. Following are optional components or features to consider:

  • WiFi thermostats are programmable models with Internet-enabled communication that offers remote access to monitor and change indoor environmental conditions of your home from a smartphone app or online computer.
  • A zoning system is a network of thermostats and automated duct doors that cool and heat your home according to your needs.
  • Desuperheaters are add-on heat exchangers for the AC (or heat pump) that heat water in storage water heating systems.
  • Whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers regulate indoor humidity levels for maximum comfort and energy savings.

AC Advanced Features

AC systems are all about free airflow and heat exchange. So, technological advancements are geared to boost the efficiency of related components. Higher-efficiency AC systems offer two-speed and variable-speed blowers and digital-inverter compressors. Two-speed and variable-speed components adapt airflow and heat exchange to real-time conditions to drive comfort, reduce energy consumption, and offer much more quiet operation than conventional AC systems.

Ductwork Design

Finally, your HVAC contractor inspects the ductwork. Good ductwork design is equally important to selecting and installing the right central AC system for your home. After all, the cooled airflow produced by your new AC needs efficient ducts for delivery. Your current ducts will be assessed for correct size, sealing and insulation. Your HVAC pro should discuss any issues and options with you.

Cost Analysis

Ask your HVAC pro to perform a cost analysis of the different systems you are considering. A cost analysis shows the real costs of your new AC from day one, which includes purchase and installation expenses, and projected energy and maintenance costs. A cost analysis also shows you at what point a higher-efficiency AC system pays for itself in energy savings.

Is There a Best Time to Buy a New Air Conditioning System?

It’s honestly more about finding what’s best for you specifically. Lining up your time of need with current market costs, potential benefits, sales and incentives, and even more can all play a part! Having said that, if we were pressed to give an absolute set time to install, we would likely go with the term off season. Off season encompasses both spring and fall, as these times provide the most benefits with the least drawbacks, and tend to result in a more cost-effective and comfortable service for our clients.

Choose Air Experts for AC Installation & Replacement in the Raleigh-Durham Area

For more expert advice on installing a new central AC in your home, please contact the professionals at Air Experts. We’ve proudly served homeowners in Raleigh, Durham and surrounding communities for nearly 30 years.

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