Invest in Cool This Winter
Most of us spend the coldest months focusing on ways to keep our homes warm and cozy. Strange as it may sound, winter can actually provide the perfect opportunity to add air conditioning to your home (or to replace an aging cooling system). By bucking conventional wisdom you should be able to save money while making sure your home is as ready as you are for summer.
Heat Wave-Proof by March
Like shopping for tire chains during a blizzard, you don't want to find yourself desperately searching for air conditioning after the spring and summer heat have already hit. Start early and you will have time to fully research cooling options, review the needs of your home, and price shop both brands and local heating/cooling contractors. Choosing the right air conditioner or central air system for your home is not a decision you want to make when under the influence of a stifling heat wave.
Air conditioning systems will typically add at least enough resale value to your home to cover the cost of purchase and installation. For warmer climates, or higher-end real estate markets, adding AC can improve your home's comparative value even more.
The big box stores may advertise eye-catching sales on air conditioner units at the start of summer, but all too often such offers are for limited quantities of specific models only and may not include the cost of installation. Winter can actually be a slow time for HVAC contractors, particularly those who focus on cooling systems, and as a result many may offer seasonal discounts.
A few buying tips:
- Comparative Size: An AC system that is too small for your home won't cool rooms properly and will result in wasted energy. A system that is too large or too powerful will shut down too quickly, prior to dehumidifying the air.
- Keep it Quiet: Pay attention to noise ratings on all systems. Noisy units can disrupt your sleep on their lowest levels or serve as a raucous distraction on high.
- Energy Efficiency: AC systems with higher efficiency ratings will cost you more up front, but will help save your household when it comes to future energy bills (they're more eco-friendly, to boot). Look for systems that feature programmable time settings to limit the system's use during non-peak times.