It’s that time of year again—air conditioning season.
According to Consumer Reports, more than 75 percent of U.S. homes use air conditioning, and 90 percent of new homes are equipped with central air. But believe it or not, there are still some homes using good ‘ole ceiling fans to cool the space.
For your clients who fall in love with a home that doesn’t have central air or needs the current system upgraded, it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. You can let them know that they have options other than suffering through hot and humid summer days.
Share these tips to help them make the best investment possible when choosing a central air system that will efficiently cool their home without running up their electric bill.
Choose the right type of unit
The most common type of central air conditioners are split systems. For homes with a central furnace, they are also the most economically friendly. Split system furnaces also will add to the future resale value of your clients’ home and limit the maintenance costs throughout the year.
Packaged central air conditioners combine the evaporator, condenser, and compressor into a single unit. This system is installed on the homes exterior—often on the roof or a concrete slab near the home. Since the packaged central air conditioners are located outside, they are easy to install and quiet.
You should recommend that your client ask an HVAC professional which system is appropriate for the home they are looking to upgrade. These professionals will take into account the home, budget, and lifestyle when deciding the type of unit that fits best.
Efficiency equals cost savings
In general, today’s air conditioning systems must be 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). A 14 SEER system is about 40 percent more efficient than the 10 SEER standard that was in place until 2006.
If your client is replacing an old system, they’ll be happy to hear that switching to at least a 14 SEER will drop their cooling bills by about half. The higher the SEER, the more they can lower energy costs.
Rebates are your friend
It costs to be cool. But in addition to living in nice, comfortable air when it’s miserably hot outside, your clients may be able to recoup some of their investment by getting a rebate.
In 2020, the federal government extended the previously expired Non-Business Energy Property Tax Credits on residential air conditioning equipment. That means that certain qualifying air conditioners and heat pumps installed through December 31, 2021 are eligible for a $300 tax credit. The tax credit also retroactively applies to new air conditioners installed in the 2018-2020 tax year.
The $300 tax credit is for energy efficiency improvements to residential properties only, with some restrictions. It only applies to a primary residence, not a vacation home, second home, commercial property, etc. It is only for existing homes, not new construction.
Size: Bigger isn’t always better
Getting the size exactly right is important. A system that is too large will cool the house without effectively dehumidifying the air. On the flip side, if a system is too small, it will run almost constantly, resulting in increased energy bills and wearing out the unit before it’s estimated lifespan.
Advise your client to ask their HVAC contractor to show them a printout of a heat-load calculation for their house. This includes factors such as:
- Size of the house
- Number of windows
- Type of insulation
- Height of ceiling
- Heat transfer of walls
- Average/max summer temperatures
- Color and type of roof
- Does the roof have ventilation?
- Is there a basement or slab?
Paying for it: Think smart
If your client really wants air conditioning in their new home, they might be willing to do anything to pay for it. They may be tempted to rack up credit cards, but there may be on the table. But there are other options that may allow them to stay cool without spending a fortune.
A renovation mortgage allows your client to get the funds needed to buy the property with additional funds for renovations and repairs, which includes adding or replacing A/C in some cases. It’s all rolled up into one mortgage with affordable monthly payments. Plus, they can pay for a professional to do the work and to get it done quickly.
The FHA 203k Home Renovation loan is designed to help buyers make home upgrades without taking on a mountain of debt. This loan allows borrowers to not only finance the purchase of an existing home, but also improvements or upgrades up to $35,000 before move-in. There are many eligible improvements including, but are not limited to:
- Upgrades, repairs, or replacement of HVAC systems
- Roof, gutter, and downspout repair or replacement
- Electrical system repair, replacement, or upgrades
- Minor renovations which do not involve structural repairs—such as kitchens or bathrooms
- Interior and exterior painting
If you have clients who identify air conditioning as one of their non-negotiables when it comes to choosing a home, make sure they understand the basics of selecting a system – and a way to pay for it – that fits their budget and home.
*Not all borrowers will qualify. Contact us for more information on fees and terms. Not intended as legal, financial, or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.
5 things to know before you add central air conditioning. (n.d.). Retrieved May 06, 2021, from https://money.com/central-air-conditioning-need-to-know/
Aaron, & Patti. (2020, September 16). How to calculate the air conditioner size for your house. Retrieved May 06, 2021, from https://www.essentialhomeandgarden.com/how-to-calculate-the-air-conditioner-size-for-your-house/
Englewood, FL ac Repair: Hvac Service: Symbiont SERVICE Corp. (2020, December 30). Retrieved May 06, 2021, from https://www.symbiontairconditioning.com/