Does an AC System Increase Your Home’s Value?
If you happen to live in an area that features frequent high temperatures or sweltering summers, then many homes are likely equipped with central AC already. However, you may have an older home with an outdated system or no AC at all. And while you certainly see the personal value in the prospect of adding cool air to your home, you might wonder if you’ll see any kind of return on investment when it comes time to sell. After all, outfitting your home with air conditioning can cost a pretty penny, whether you decide to go with ductless units or you go all out by installing a central system of ductwork. In truth, not having AC in a warmer climate will probably hurt the value of your home, so it only makes sense that adding it will increase value. But what can you reasonably expect to gain from this type of home upgrade?
There are a couple of things to consider when it comes to the relative value of adding an AC system in your home. For starters, you need to think about whether such an upgrade is really necessary for your area. If your climate is generally moderate, perhaps with a few spikes of high temperature late in the summer, then chances are that there’s a very good reason the builder’s didn’t bother with the expense of central AC for your home – because the use value wasn’t high enough to make the cost worthwhile. As a smart homeowner, you need to think about just how often you might really use AC should you decide to install it. If it turns out that it’s really only necessary, say, one month out of the year, and during that time you could utilize ceiling fans or camp out in the basement in order to remain relatively comfortable, then the benefits of adding AC probably won’t justify the expense, and you won’t see the returns you’re hoping for.
You should also address the issue of central versus ductless AC. If you happen to have a central heating system in place, then jacking in an AC unit shouldn’t be too difficult. Of course, there is the cost of the unit itself, and you may have to build a platform to house it, which could cost you several thousand dollars. On the other hand, you might also consider ductless AC units. These products are much smaller than your standard AC unit and they either fit into a window or a hole cut in the wall to accommodate them. They provide AC for a single room, in most cases, but you can install them only in areas you need them (bedrooms or a kitchen, for example), you can turn them on only as needed in the room you’re currently occupying, and of course, different units can be set to different levels so that each member of your household is comfortable in their own space. Best of all, the units themselves are far less expensive than central air and because of the flexibility of use, you’ll likely have lower energy costs, to boot.
Ductless systems can also allow you to boost indoor air quality, as opposed to using central air. It’s easy to replace filters and some models may even accommodate HEPA filters to combat issues with indoor allergens. Whereas a central air system may require professional cleaning, ductless units are simple enough to clean on your own since they’re exposed. Unfortunately, ductless units are unlikely to add value to your home – in fact, these eyesores may actually be a detriment to prospective buyers, whereas central air is hidden and therefor a lot more attractive. Before you choose anything, though, consider the use value for your climate and compare all of your options. This will help you to make an informed decision and choose the AC that is bound to offer the most benefits and the best overall value.