Buy Air Conditioner Online: Free Estimates, Pros, and Cons

Guide to Buying Air Conditioners Online | Pros, Cons, and Free Estimates for a Variety of Air Conditioning Solutions

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Like most commerce that was once the realm of big box stores, buying air conditioners has shifted to the internet, from central cooling to the smallest window units. It’s a beneficial move for the consumer: internet services can provide free estimates that allow people to compare prices from trustworthy sellers and, in the end, get the best deal possible. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to get the best value.

Savvy homeowners keep costs at a minimum usually through a combination of considerations:

  • Seeking multiple air conditioner estimates
  • Buying a unit that fits their home without the need extensive construction
  • Finding balance between initial cost of the unit(s) and long-term savings from higher energy efficiency

The first step to battling summer heat comes down to finding the right air conditioner at the right price. The following is a rundown of popular options, the expected cost, and where to buy the systems online.


Central Air Conditioner

Advantages: Central air conditioners are the preferred cooling system for large homes and office buildings. In split system central air conditioners, the condenser and compressor is housed in an outdoor box while the evaporator is set inside the home. You may save more money with this configuration if you already own an indoor furnace, which the indoor unit requires to operate. In a packaged system central air conditioner, an outdoor box houses the evaporator, compressor, and condenser. Often these systems include a furnaces, which can save you money if the long-run if you are without a furnace or need to replace an aging heating system. Expect low utility costs in either configuration. Central air conditioners are among the more efficient cooling systems available.

Disadvantages: If you’ve never owned a central air conditioner you’ll likely need new ducts, which cost around $3,000, depending on size and configuration of the building.

Price: Central air conditioners, including the price of installation, cost about $2,000 to $6,000, depending on size, efficiency rating, brand name, and more. Add about $3,000 more if your home needs new ductwork.

Where to buy air conditioner online: Central air conditioners are sometimes sold as wholesale systems online, but for most systems you’ll need to go through a contractor, who will charge you a total that combines the system price and installation cost. Unless you’re an expert at air conditioning installation, buying a wholesale air conditioner on-line is strongly discouraged. If you’re considering a central air conditioner, online services that provide free estimates from reputable contractors, such as QualitySmith, are a free and convenient way to easily compare prices. Estimates are always free and your information is never shared with anyone other than contractors in your area. Up to four contractors will contact you within a business day. Click here for up to four free estimates from reputable contractors in your area.

Ductless Split Air Conditioner

Advantages: Split air conditioners employ two separate units--an outdoor condenser and indoor air flow regulator--connected with a conduit. Unlike central air conditioning, which requires a system of ducts that can cost thousands of dollars to install, split air conditioners disperse cool air using a small, three-inch wide conduit that can cool four separate zones, each with its own thermostat. The outdoor condenser can be set up to 20 yards away from your house. Vents disappear out of sight when set flush with walls, ceilings, and floors. And split air conditioners are among the most efficient systems available.

Disadvantages: The luxury of split air conditioners comes at a high price.

Price: Split air conditioners cost about $1,500 to $2,000 per 600-square-foot space, more than twice as much as window units and wall-mounted air conditioners.

Where to buy air conditioner online: Ductless split air conditioners require the expert knowledge of a trained air conditioning contractor. Online services that allow you to compare estimates from reputable, licensed, and insured contractors are the most reliable method to buy ductless split air conditioners online, allowing you to easily comparison shop at no cost. Click here for up to four free estimates.

Wall-Mounted Air Conditioner

Advantages: Wall-mounted air conditioning units are the better looking cousins of window units. They’re similar in cooling capacity, but mount into the wall with a metal sleeve that keeps them largely hidden from view and leaves your windows free. Unlike window units, wall-mounted units do not need to be removed during cold months.

Disadvantages: Like window units, wall-mounted units are far less efficient than central cooling systems. However, wall-mounted units are slightly more efficient than window units. Installation of wall-mounted units requires removal of wall sections and installation of metal sleeves, a moderately challenging job. Window units also require a 220-volt line, like those that power clothes dryers, which must be run to the units. Most homeowners will need to hire a professional contractor for installation of wall-mounted units.

Price: Wall-mounted units cost are about $400 for a 400-square-foot are and $700 for a 1,000 square-foot area. Add $50 to $100 for the metal sleeve, plus hundreds more to hire a contractor for installation.

Where to buy air conditioner online: A wide variety of retailers carry wall-mounted units that you can purchase online. You may need to hire a professional contractor for the installation, in which case it’s best to seek estimates from online services. However, if you or someone you know is handy with home improvement, you can save a bundle by buying a system from retailers such as Nextag or Sears.

Window Air Conditioner

Advantages: Window air conditioning units are the most popular home cooling option and by far the cheapest. Requiring little more than an open window and an ordinary electrical outlet, installation is a breeze. Professional installation is unnecessary for most homes.

Disadvantages: Window units allow heat to escape your home, meaning you should remove the units during cold months. Window units take more energy to produce cool air than other air conditioning systems, which could mean higher utility bills than other air conditioning options.

Price: Window units cost about $1 for each square-foot of cooling capacity. Expect to pay about $100 for a small unit capable of cooling a 100-square-foot room or $800 for a unit that can cool an 800-square-foot room.

Where to buy air conditioner online: Window units are available at countless resellers online, from the stores-with-everything like and Sears to cooling specific retailers in your local area. A simple Google search for window air conditioner will give you a start. From there, comparison shop and remember to include the cost of shipping.


Buy Air Conditioner Online