When faced with the need to replace an aging or faulty air conditioning system, today's homeowners often find themselves in an uncomfortable dilemma. With rising grocery, utility and housing costs, many family budgets are already stretched painfully thin, and even though their current system may be operating very inefficiently, these homeowners often feel that replacing their system will have to wait for a more opportune time. If you are a homeowner considering an air conditioning replacement, but unsure of how you will be able to make it work in your budget, one or more of the following options may be able to help you afford to make these changes now and do so without doing further damage to an already strained household budget.
Explore Traditional Credit Options
While taking out a loan does add additional debt that will need to be dealt with in the family budget, a home equity line of credit or short-term personal loan can be helpful in the event of big-ticket home renovations such as replacing an air conditioning system. This is especially true when replacing the system will result in increased efficiency and lower cooling bills and these savings can help offset the cost of repaying the loan.
When exploring these loans, always speak candidly with your lender about your situation. They can often tailor the repayment schedule so that it will be easier to afford. They also may know of local options for help in paying for the needed renovations, especially if your household includes a family member who requires air conditioning for medical reasons.
Consider Special Low-Interest Loan Programs, Grants and Charities
If traditional loan options are unaffordable or unavailable in your situation, consider looking for low-interest loan programs, grants or charities that might be helpful in your situation. Many cities, states, churches and non-profits now offer some type of low-interest home improvement loan or grant program, such as this one offered by the City of Philadelphia. To look for this type of program in your area, contact state and local agencies who work with families, children and the elderly, as well as local churches and non-profits that offer these types of assistance programs.
Look for Applicable Rebates from the Government Agencies, Utility Companies and Manufacturers
Another way to make an air conditioning system replacement more affordable during tight economic times is to look for any existing rebate programs offered through the U.S. Department of Energy, local utility companies and HVAC manufacturers. Many of these are sizeable and relatively easy to obtain, usually involving a simple application process and a post-installation inspection. This site will allow you to easily search for current rebates available by location. In addition, remember to check with major heating and cooling component manufacturers for any rebate programs they may currently offer or plan to offer in the near future.
Explain Your Situation to Your HVAC Contractor
If you are unable to find a traditional loan, rebate or grant program to help make your air conditioning replacement easier to afford in your current situation, another possible option is to speak openly and honestly with your HVAC contractor. Your contractor may be able to offer you options such as:
short-term financing or payment terms on the cost of the components and/or the installation
refurbished or repossessed cooling components that can be purchased at a discounted price
information about a rebate, grant or loan program for the repairs that you may not have found during your search
In some cases, your HVAC contractor may also be able to assess your current system and make recommendations for short-term repairs or service options. These options may be able to keep your system operating at an acceptable level until you can have it replaced.
For more information, contact a local HVAC company like United Heating Cooling and Plumbing Inc.