LittleFokker
Topic Author
Posts: 1131
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:25 pm

Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:25 am

Last year, I had my home air conditioner serviced, frion recharged, and ducts cleaned. The repairman noted that although it's performing alright now, there isn't much life left on it, and that we should consider replacing the unit (it's approximately 25 years old). So far this summer, the A/C is behaving properly, but I can afford to go ahead with the replacing the unit ahead of any potential failure.

I'm curious about if there are any pricing advantages to waiting until the end of summer (like September), similar to how car dealerships are desperate to get rid of current year models to make room for next year's models around this time.

Also, as a Costco member, I was going to use their free assessment and estimate service, but I don't know the first thing about what to expect with buying a new air conditioner. What are the various brands, who is high quality, low quality, high price, low price, and the best combination of price and quality? About how much should I expect to pay for a whole new unit?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
"All human activities are doomed to failure." - Jean Paul Sartre
 
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BobPatterson
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:18 am

Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:36 am

Get a professional survey of your home's requirements, including any possible additions you might ever want to contemplate.

In Maryland I can get a free survey from the gas and electric utilities. Do both if possible. You will learn something from each.

Pay attention to Energy Star ratings and, of course, warranties.

Shop for prices. You might get the best deal from your utility company.
Facts are fragile things. Treat them with care. Sources are important. Alternative facts do not exist.
 
DLFREEBIRD
Posts: 1007
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:07 pm

Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:24 pm

i wouldn't worry about replacing it until your compressor goes. most air conditioning companies train their staff to sell new units and having a 25 year old unit
would mean that you would be targeted. chances are your unit not very cost efficient and a replacement would probably save you money over the long run. Still they are expensive about 6k. so start saving. Also, be careful. my house was built in 2003, and my air conditioner went last Oct. I replaced a motor, and it still didn't work, i replaced a switch and it still didn't work. The repair guy told me the compressor went. I called for a second opinion and the minute he turned it on he said he could hear the compressor click on. long story short he fixed it for about 400.00 which was way better than shelling out 6k to the first repair company. you have to be careful out there not all companies are ethical.
 
Ken777
Posts: 9901
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:39 am

Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:22 pm

Normally there are good deals a couple of times a year and IIRC the fall is one of those times. Going for both a new ac system and heating unit at the same time saves money and labor costs are reduced. Fall is also a good time for installing systems and checking ducting as the tradesmen will be working in a more comfortable space.

There are also rebates available from some utilities - both gas and electric. With your older unit you might have copper coils and that can get you a couple dollars.

Check with the BBB for ratings of suppliers, then use the internet for good and bad comments on possible companies.
 
jetwet1
Posts: 2909
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:42 am

Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:36 pm

We bought our current house 7 years ago, gutted it and did a full remodel, the one thing we left alone was the AC unit, we had it checked and it was fine.

5 years later, it had a terminal failure, thankfully it was in November, so we had time to get a lot of estimates, most came in around $5k-$6k, a few were lower, a few were higher, however....

LittleFokker wrote:
Also, as a Costco member, I was going to use their free assessment and estimate service, but I don't know the first thing about what to expect with buying a new air conditioner. What are the various brands, who is high quality, low quality, high price, low price, and the best combination of price and quality? About how much should I expect to pay for a whole new unit?

Thanks in advance for any replies.


We got a Costco quote as well, they came in at $11k....And that was the special Costco members price...It's the only time I have ever told someone to "get the f**k out of my house"...

Anyways, we ended up going with the company Lowes uses out here and for one simple reason, Lowes backs up the warranty, if there is an issue with the company that installs the unit, Lowes is the fallback option.

The price ended up being around $5500, not the cheapest, but far from the most expensive, the service was excellent and Lowes sent someone round to follow up on the installation.


And to answer your question, it really depends where you live, if it's a hot place like here (Vegas), in the summer, sure, prices go up, time to actually get something done stretches, it's all supply and demand.
 
dtw2hyd
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Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:11 pm

Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:36 pm

General approach should be to wait until it completely goes, buy a window unit, shop around for whole house unit. I may be wrong but haven't noticed any deals in non-peak seasons.

If you rush to replace in peak season, you will end up paying more. hence a stop-gap window unit mitigates this issue. Sure entire house will not have a AC for a short period, but gives you an upper hand negotiating.

Costco doesn't always offer the best price, those days are gone.
Appliance protection plans doesn't replace units older than 10 years, they don't even prorate the replacement cost, even though they are collecting monthly payments. Basically a scam.
 
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1337Delta764
Posts: 5685
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Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:06 pm

Note that R-22 refrigerant is being phased out, and will get expensive soon. Most newer systems use R-410A.
Yes, I wear Fairy Tale Pink IZOD shirts. I am a real man.
 
cledaybuck
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Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:07 pm

Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:48 pm

Unless you live somewhere unbearably hot where you can't go without a/c for a couple of days, I would wait until it dies. Do your research now, so you know what you want to do when the time comes. If it is 25 years old, you could have been told it was near the end of its life 10 years ago, and yet, it is still running.
As we celebrate mediocrity, all the boys upstairs want to see, how much you'll pay for what you used to get for free.
 
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flyingclrs727
Posts: 2415
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:44 am

Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:47 pm

In Texas a central AC compressor unit wouldn't last 25 years. When I was buying my house in 2014, the HVAC inspector discovered that there was zero pressure on the freon line, and the compressor was 18 years old. The home warranty company had already put a replacement compressor on a truck to my city, and my realtor told them there was no way I would agree to letting them install a new compressor that used R-22. The EPA is in the process of phasing out allowable production of R-22, and the price was beginning to go up sharply. Its well over $100 a pound now. Eventually the only source will be recycled R-22. I took the money offered by the warranty company, because I intended to completely replace both the compressor and heater/blower unit. I should have also taken the money for the ducts, because they needed replacing too rather than just being fixed.

If your compressor is really 25 years old, it probably is an R-22 system. You should replace all the mechanical systems both the compressor and blower/heater, because the older blowers don't work with R-410A. Get your ducts inspected to make sure they don't have mold. Also old ducts didn't have the same insulation R values required nowadays. New ducts have to conform to newer regulations. If your house is comfortable this summer, I would wait till fall or spring depending on weather to replace the system. If your system really is 25 years old, I would not wait till it breaks to replace it. A new Energy Star rated system will be much more efficient and save you lots of money on electricity bills. A system using R-410A will save lots of money, because older refrigerant gas is getting really expensive even if you can find it when the Freon needs to be topped off.
 
LittleFokker
Topic Author
Posts: 1131
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:25 pm

Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:43 pm

BobPatterson wrote:
Get a professional survey of your home's requirements, including any possible additions you might ever want to contemplate.

In Maryland I can get a free survey from the gas and electric utilities. Do both if possible. You will learn something from each.

Pay attention to Energy Star ratings and, of course, warranties.

Shop for prices. You might get the best deal from your utility company.


Will do....I'm not happy with the way the ducts are layed out in the house (downstairs can be frigid while upstairs is a sauna - way too much temp difference), so I might see if I can redo the ducts along with the a/c. And I will check with the local power company to see what they have to say.

jetwet1 wrote:
We bought our current house 7 years ago, gutted it and did a full remodel, the one thing we left alone was the AC unit, we had it checked and it was fine.

5 years later, it had a terminal failure, thankfully it was in November, so we had time to get a lot of estimates, most came in around $5k-$6k, a few were lower, a few were higher, however....

LittleFokker wrote:
Also, as a Costco member, I was going to use their free assessment and estimate service, but I don't know the first thing about what to expect with buying a new air conditioner. What are the various brands, who is high quality, low quality, high price, low price, and the best combination of price and quality? About how much should I expect to pay for a whole new unit?

Thanks in advance for any replies.


We got a Costco quote as well, they came in at $11k....And that was the special Costco members price...It's the only time I have ever told someone to "get the f**k out of my house"...

Anyways, we ended up going with the company Lowes uses out here and for one simple reason, Lowes backs up the warranty, if there is an issue with the company that installs the unit, Lowes is the fallback option.

The price ended up being around $5500, not the cheapest, but far from the most expensive, the service was excellent and Lowes sent someone round to follow up on the installation.


And to answer your question, it really depends where you live, if it's a hot place like here (Vegas), in the summer, sure, prices go up, time to actually get something done stretches, it's all supply and demand.


Good info. I don't know where the nearest Lowe's is (there's two Home Depots that are closer so I usually do most of my home repair needs buying with them). I grew up in Las Vegas, so I'm well aware that you're lucky to get 10 years out of an A/C there, but up here in the midwest, not as critical if it fails. I'm hoping that a new unit for my joint can be done between $5k and $10k (including potential duct work).

Ken777 wrote:
Normally there are good deals a couple of times a year and IIRC the fall is one of those times. Going for both a new ac system and heating unit at the same time saves money and labor costs are reduced. Fall is also a good time for installing systems and checking ducting as the tradesmen will be working in a more comfortable space.

There are also rebates available from some utilities - both gas and electric. With your older unit you might have copper coils and that can get you a couple dollars.

Check with the BBB for ratings of suppliers, then use the internet for good and bad comments on possible companies.


Bought the house 4 years ago, I remember being told during the inspection that the heater was in good shape, even though it looks old. Never had an issue getting heat in the house, even on the coldest winter days. But I will consider doing a combo heater/AC for the right price.

flyingclrs727 wrote:
In Texas a central AC compressor unit wouldn't last 25 years. When I was buying my house in 2014, the HVAC inspector discovered that there was zero pressure on the freon line, and the compressor was 18 years old. The home warranty company had already put a replacement compressor on a truck to my city, and my realtor told them there was no way I would agree to letting them install a new compressor that used R-22. The EPA is in the process of phasing out allowable production of R-22, and the price was beginning to go up sharply. Its well over $100 a pound now. Eventually the only source will be recycled R-22. I took the money offered by the warranty company, because I intended to completely replace both the compressor and heater/blower unit. I should have also taken the money for the ducts, because they needed replacing too rather than just being fixed.

If your compressor is really 25 years old, it probably is an R-22 system. You should replace all the mechanical systems both the compressor and blower/heater, because the older blowers don't work with R-410A. Get your ducts inspected to make sure they don't have mold. Also old ducts didn't have the same insulation R values required nowadays. New ducts have to conform to newer regulations. If your house is comfortable this summer, I would wait till fall or spring depending on weather to replace the system. If your system really is 25 years old, I would not wait till it breaks to replace it. A new Energy Star rated system will be much more efficient and save you lots of money on electricity bills. A system using R-410A will save lots of money, because older refrigerant gas is getting really expensive even if you can find it when the Freon needs to be topped off.


Good information, and I think this confirms that I should go ahead with the replacement this summer. I feel like the next two months are booked solid with things to do, but around September, I'll try to have it done. If the weather cooperates, shouldn't need the heater or air condition later in the month.
"All human activities are doomed to failure." - Jean Paul Sartre
 
kellyon
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:17 am

Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:07 am

I think it's better to consult with the professionals first. Last time I decided to buy new A/C system for my house in Auckland I found a well-known local company at fonko.co.nz near me in NZ. These guys helped me to choose new a/c system for my house and save money on installation.
 
Max Q
Posts: 7697
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Buying a new A/C.....does time matter?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:55 am

You had a TWENTY FIVE year old air conditioner ?

I'd say you got your moneys worth !
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