When you need to buy a new HVAC system or replace your old one, you are facing a major expense. Once you get a quote, your next question will be where to find a better deal. It can cut deeply into your savings or require financing. But you know you can't simply do without heating, cooling, and ventilation, so you will need to bite the bullet. What can you do to make it less painful? Follow a few simple steps, and you could save thousands on your new system or replacement costs.
Look for Local Incentives
Check to see whether your state or local utility company offers any rebates or incentives for replacing an old HVAC system. You might even be able to stack offers. So if your state and local utility company each has a promotion, submit for both. This can take a big chunk out of the cost of your new HVAC system.
To see whether you have any local deals, check out:
Angie's List also might have deals on HVAC systems and installation, so check there if you are a member.
Check for Company Rebates
Review the current rebate offers from all of the leading HVAC manufacturers before you call anyone for estimates. And note that company rebates often can be stacked with any local or state incentives you find.
However, keep in mind that these offers usually apply to the company's most expensive models. So depending on your HVAC system needs, you might be able to get a better deal by purchasing a mid-level unit that is not eligible for a rebate from the manufacturer.
Look for Off-Season Discounts
HVAC contractors tend to be the busiest in the fall and spring when people are prepping their heat for the colder months and their air-conditioning for the warmer months. You might find deals during this time, but you often can do better during the contractors' off-season when they are looking for work.
If you can, wait for an off-season month when HVAC contractors are not as busy to have your system installed. Check out the specials they are running during that time. And if you don't see anything you like, you can even try specifically asking for an off-season discount. Convey to the contractors that you are flexible about when they can get the work done. This might not always work to get you a discount, but it's worth a shot.
Be Sure to Compare Quotes
Prices can vary widely from one HVAC company to the next, so get several quotes before you make your decision. Normally three quotes will be enough, but you might find it's worth getting a couple extra quotes if your decision isn't clear yet.
The drawback to this is that it can take a while (sometimes even several weeks) to be scheduled to get a quote from each company. But if your system hasn't failed and you aren't desperate for a replacement, you likely can afford that time. Plan to start getting quotes around two months before you want the new system installed.
As you compare quotes, also check with warehouse clubs, such as Costco, if you are a member. Some warehouse clubs might offer a better deal or a store rebate card if you purchase a new system through their partner.
Furthermore, if you are on the fence about whether you should replace your HVAC system, find out when Energy Star recommends a replacement. You might save enough in energy costs with a new system to justify the expense. So be sure to factor this into your quote research process.
Vet Contractors for the Best Deals
Price shouldn't be the only factor when it comes to choosing a contractor. Check the Better Business Bureau ratings before making your selection. The cheapest quote might not be the best deal if the company has lots of dissatisfied customers.
You can also read contractor reviews from customers in your area on Angie's List and Yelp. This can help to steer you away from companies with poor service and toward the ones that consistently do high-quality work.