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What’s the best time of year to buy central air conditioning?

It’s hard to imagine walking into a cool house on a blistering hot day when there’s snow on the ground and temperatures have dropped below zero. Many contractors are slow during the winter, so December and January are a great months to save money on central air conditioning. The cost of the unit and installation can range anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000. Purchasing central air conditioning during the winter months can save consumers as much as 20%.

Before deciding on an HVAC contractor, do your research. Asking family and friends for recommendations is always a good way to find reliable, affordable services. Another good way is to browse for ideas and help. Get at least three bids, and make sure that the contractors use the Manual J (heat load calculation) to determine what kind of unit your home will need to stay cool and dry in the summer. This load calculation is used to accurately determine the size and power of the unit. A Manual J calculation considers factors that affect A/C equipment sizing, including: the size and shape of the home, insulation, the location of windows and doors, air leakage, and the orientation of the house in relation to the sun. If your home has existing ducts for central heat, you may also be able to avoid the cost of installation of new ducts, depending on how the they are situated and if there are any air leaks that need to be sealed.

Once you’ve decided on a contractor, installation should only take a few days, even with new ductwork. When those hot summer days hit, kick back with a cold glass of iced tea and enjoy the respite from the heat and humidity, knowing that you’ve increased the value of your home by as much as 10%.

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