Top 7 Tips to Save Money When Installing Air Conditioning

Installing air conditioning (AC) can be a significant financial investment, but with careful planning and smart strategies, you can save a substantial amount of money. Whether you’re upgrading an old system or installing a new one, these top 7 tips will help you get the best value for your money and ensure a comfortable, cool indoor environment. Let’s explore how to make the most out of your AC installation project.

1) Proper Sizing of Your AC Unit

The size of your AC unit is crucial to both its efficiency and your overall comfort. Installing a unit that’s either too large or too small for your space can lead to a host of problems, including higher costs and reduced comfort.

Importance of Correct Sizing

An oversized AC unit will cool the space too quickly, leading to frequent on-and-off cycling. This short cycling wastes energy, increases wear and tear on the system, and can cause humidity problems. On the other hand, an undersized unit will struggle to cool the space, running continuously and driving up your energy bills without providing adequate comfort.

How to Determine the Right Size

To find the right size AC unit, you need to consider the square footage of your space, the height of your ceilings, the quality of your insulation, and the number of windows. Professional HVAC contractors use a method called the Manual J Load Calculation to accurately determine the optimal size for your AC unit. Hiring a professional to perform this calculation ensures you get the right-sized unit for your specific needs.

2) Invest in Energy Efficiency

When choosing a new air conditioning unit, it’s essential to consider its energy efficiency. Units with higher energy efficiency ratings might have a higher upfront cost, but they can save you money in the long run through reduced energy bills.

Understanding Energy Efficiency Ratings

The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) are critical metrics to look at when evaluating AC units. The EER measures how efficiently the unit operates at a fixed temperature, while the SEER measures its efficiency over an entire cooling season. Higher ratings mean better efficiency and lower operating costs.

Benefits of High-Efficiency Units

High-efficiency units consume less electricity, which can lead to significant savings on your energy bills over the unit’s lifespan. Additionally, many high-efficiency models come with advanced features like variable-speed motors and smart thermostats, further enhancing their efficiency and performance.

3) Schedule Off-Season Installation

Timing your AC installation can significantly impact the overall cost. Scheduling your installation during the off-peak season can help you save money and avoid the rush.

Off-Peak Season for AC Installation

The off-peak seasons for AC installation are typically in the fall and spring. During these periods, HVAC contractors are less busy, and you can often find better deals and discounts.

Advantages of Off-Season Installation

By opting for an off-season installation, you can take advantage of lower prices and more flexible scheduling. Contractors are often more willing to offer discounts or promotions during slower periods to attract business. Additionally, you’ll avoid the long wait times and potential delays that come with the busy summer months.

4) Negotiate with Contractors

Negotiating with contractors is an effective way to get the best price for your AC installation. Here are some tips on how to negotiate successfully.

Gather Multiple Quotes

Start by getting quotes from several reputable contractors. This gives you a baseline understanding of the going rates and provides leverage when negotiating.

Bundle Services

If you need additional services, such as duct cleaning or regular maintenance, consider bundling these with your AC installation. Contractors may offer discounts for multiple services, which can reduce the overall cost.

Be Ready to Walk Away

If a contractor’s quote is too high, don’t be afraid to walk away and explore other options. Contractors often prefer to lower their prices rather than lose a potential customer. Knowing that you have alternatives gives you the upper hand in negotiations.

5) Consider DIY Installation (if feasible)

For those with the necessary skills and experience, a DIY AC installation can be a cost-effective option. However, it’s essential to evaluate the feasibility and risks involved before proceeding.

Assess Your Skills and Knowledge

DIY installation requires a good understanding of electrical work, plumbing, and HVAC systems. If you have experience in these areas, you might be able to handle the installation yourself. However, if you lack these skills, attempting a DIY installation can be risky and potentially costly.

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Ensure you have all the required tools and materials before starting the installation. This includes refrigerant, electrical wiring, mounting brackets, and access to the manufacturer’s installation guide. Being well-prepared can prevent delays and mistakes.

Weigh the Potential Savings and Risks

While DIY installation can save on labor costs, incorrect installation can lead to system damage, void warranties, and pose safety hazards. If you’re unsure about any aspect of the installation, it’s best to hire a professional to avoid costly mistakes.

6) Take Advantage of Rebates and Tax Credits

Many utility companies and government programs offer rebates, tax credits, and incentives for installing energy-efficient AC systems. Taking advantage of these can significantly reduce the overall cost of your installation.

Research Available Programs

Start by researching available programs in your area. Utility companies often provide rebates for customers who install energy-efficient AC units. Additionally, federal, state, and local government programs may offer tax credits or incentives for energy-efficient installations.

How to Apply for Rebates and Credits

Applying for rebates and tax credits typically involves filling out forms and providing proof of purchase and installation. Make sure to keep all receipts and documentation. Some programs may require an energy audit or inspection to qualify.

Financial Benefits

These rebates and tax credits can substantially lower the upfront cost of your AC installation. Over time, the energy savings from an efficient unit will further enhance your financial benefits, making the investment even more worthwhile.

7) Prioritize Maintenance and Upkeep

Regular maintenance and upkeep of your AC system are crucial for prolonging its lifespan and ensuring efficient operation. Proper maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs and replacements down the line.

Schedule Routine Maintenance

Schedule annual maintenance checks with a professional to inspect and tune up your system. This includes cleaning or replacing filters, checking refrigerant levels, and ensuring all components are functioning correctly. Regular professional maintenance can catch minor issues before they become major problems.

Perform DIY Maintenance

In addition to professional maintenance, there are several tasks you can perform yourself. Regularly clean or replace the filters, keep the outdoor unit free from debris, and check for any signs of wear or damage. Simple maintenance tasks can significantly improve your AC system’s efficiency and longevity.

Long-Term Benefits of Maintenance

By maintaining your AC system, you ensure it runs efficiently, saving on energy costs. Regular upkeep can prevent small issues from becoming major problems, extending the life of your unit and reducing the need for expensive repairs or replacements.


Installing air conditioning doesn’t have to be a costly ordeal. By following these top 7 tips—ensuring proper sizing, investing in energy-efficient units, timing your installation for the off-season, negotiating prices, considering DIY installation if you’re skilled enough, taking advantage of rebates and tax credits, and prioritizing regular maintenance—you can save money and enjoy a comfortable, cool indoor environment. Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, these strategies will help you achieve the best results for your budget and ensure a wise investment in your comfort. Remember, a well-planned AC Installation is an investment that pays off in comfort and savings for years to come.

Leave a Comment