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22 Mar 2022

Author: Jeff O'Hara

Summertime in Houston, TX, would be unbearable if it weren’t for the invention of the air conditioner in the early 1900s.

Sure, Texas became a state in 1845, but it wasn’t until the 1950s –when air conditioning became standard equipment in most homes – that the southern half of Texas saw a significant rise in the population. Most Houstonians take air conditioning for granted, as its ubiquitous presence keeps our homes, cars, offices, shops, and restaurants cool and comfortable during the months of ninety-five-degree afternoons and 95% humidity around the clock we endure every year.

Cheap Isn’t Good, and Good Isn’t Cheap!

Is it about time to replace your home’s HVAC system? The average lifespan for HVAC systems is anywhere between 10 and 15 years, depending on brand, and whether the system was properly maintained. Well-maintained HVAC systems can provide the prudent homeowner with up to twenty years of worry-free operation. 

Today’s air conditioning is not the same as your father’s air conditioning. In-home comfort systems have come a long way from placing multiple window units around the house and hoping for the best. 

In just the last decade, there have been myriad improvements and innovations to HVAC technology that improve performance, maximize efficiency, and promote the use of “greener” refrigerants. Almost every HVAC maker has incorporated Wi-Fi into their thermostats, with apps that allow for remote monitoring and control of your home’s comfort system from any smartphone or tablet.

HVAC installation is always a costly, inconvenient, time-consuming process that will probably be performed during the hottest days of the year. What steps can a homeowner take to minimize the financial impact of a heating and air conditioning system installation?

Why Is AC Installation So Expensive? 

While there isn’t much anyone can do to save on HVAC installation services when they become a necessity, it is helpful for the homeowner to understand what goes into the cost of your new system and why it’s so expensive.

The average cost of installing a new HVAC system in the US in 2021 was between $5,000 and $10,000. When we discuss new HVAC systems, we refer to replacing the outdoor AC unit, the indoor furnace, heat exchanger, evaporator coil, thermostat, and any refrigerant lines that need replacement.

Of course, there is a bit of “wiggle room” on the low-end, where some companies will install unused “builder’s grade” systems obtained from construction companies for around $3,000. Bear in mind, these low-end systems –while completely capable of handling the task of heating and AC –may lack many of the more technological features many folks require these days, like wi-fi or smart thermostats.

About half the cost of any HVAC install goes toward the wholesale price of the system itself, with a little bit of profit tacked on to cover the costs of warehousing it and getting it to your home. Labor costs make up roughly the other half of HVAC job costs, along with insurance premiums, maintenance of our fleet of trucks, incidental parts required for the installation, and again…hopefully a touch of profit.

How Can I Minimize My AC Installation Costs? 

Timing is Everything

The best first step in saving serious money on a heating and air conditioning installation is to schedule it during the “off-season.” Everybody seems to need an HVAC technician on the first blazingly hot day of the year, and companies like Nick’s Air Conditioning get busy on that day –and stay that way until fall sets in. Like anything that’s in demand, the prices go up, and the wait for services to be available increases.

HVAC companies tend to have more inventory available during the less busy spring and fall seasons, so they use this time to stock up. By buying in bulk, they save money and can pass those savings along to the customer. Additionally, with the slow demand of off-peak seasons, there’s a better chance to negotiate a better price for your new system install.

Rebates, Tax Credits, Other Free Money.

As the push toward “greener” technology continues in the HVAC industry, many manufacturers are offering homeowners rebates to help offset the expense of new HVAC installation. In addition, having a high-efficiency HVAC system installed may entitle the homeowner to tax credits available from either the state or federal government. Ask your HVAC sales representatives about any incentives currently being offered and to what systems they apply. 

Hire a Professional HVAC Company to Install Your System!

It is critical to hire a licensed, established, and experienced HVAC company to perform any installation or modification to your system. We all have that friend who “knows a guy that knows a guy” who can get the job done for half the cost in one day. Don’t fall victim to a “Chuck in a Truck Syndrome” when it comes to HVAC installation. Thanks to the efforts of shady local handy-people, well-meaning do-it-yourselfers, and in some cases just plain old lousy HVAC companies, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that half of all HVAC systems are installed incorrectly. These improper installs result in about 30% of the energy used by all HVAC systems being wasted. 

So, to answer the question posed at the start of the blog; yes, there are options to make HVAC installation less of a financial burden. Is there a “cheap and easy” way out of pricey air conditioning replacements? No. But doing a little research regarding your needs, the features you want, and the price you’re looking to pay will go a long way toward your satisfaction as a customer.

Give Nick’s Air Conditioning a call today if you’re ready to discuss installing a new HVAC system or any other heating and air conditioning products. Have one of our licensed and experienced HVAC technicians evaluate your home’s current heating and cooling needs and make some recommendations about viable replacements. We offer the best HVAC system brands available today, including Trane and Mitsubishi, with multiple models across all price ranges.

Call Nick’s Today. We’re on the Way.

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