Your air conditioner may be devaluing your home – according to realtors

Is your AC hindering your house's chances on the market? Here's what you need to watch out for, according to experts

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(Image credit: GettyImages)

Air conditioners are deemed essential in homes across the US, however, some units come with more cons than benefits – and they may be devaluing your home. 

While some new AC units are amongst the best ways to add value to your property, others can be problematic if you're looking to move your home from the market. 

So, whether you're viewing properties – or you're thinking about listing your home – it's important to know what you need to look out for. Here, realtors share what you need to know before investing. 

Is your air conditioner devaluing your home?

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(Image credit: GettyImages)

Ian Katz, a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker with Compass in NYC, explains that the value of your home comes down to its functionality (whether something is outdated or improperly sized) – particularly as it relates to health, safety, and comfort. 

'Elevated energy prices, labor costs, and environmental concerns leave buyers hesitant to move forward with properties where these issues are present,' Ian says. Therefore, if your air conditioning unit is not working efficiently, it can seriously impact the desirability of a home. 

Ian explains that AC systems that are 'under capacity for an enlarged property,' or units that have older inputs are 'exponentially more expensive to source' and consequently potential buyers who want to avoid these costs. 

Air conditioning problems to look out for

Knowing how to clean an air conditioner may be a quick fix in ensuring your unit is running efficiently. However, RE/MAX agent Michael Carnahan warns that, in some cases, you may need to buy a new system before selling.

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(Image credit: GettyImages)

1. A system doesn’t function properly 

'If your system doesn’t function properly (it works too hard or it doesn’t work at all)then it’s probably time for a new system,' Micheal says. However, he warns that this can cost thousands – depending on what is wrong with the system. 'For most buyers, this can be a real impediment to their purchase process, and they may either ask for the system to be serviced or replaced,' he adds. 

The realtor also warns that it is not possible to test the cooling part of the HVAC system if the climate falls under a certain temperature, so potential buyers may not recognize a problem until it is too late. 

2.  A system that is old and inefficient. 

While having an older AC system isn't always a problem, the realtor warns that they are more likely to become inefficient. Therefore, it is important to keep them maintained, especially if you're selling your home. 

'AC systems (according to most home inspectors I’ve worked with) have a life expectancy of approximately 20 years. If a home has a system that is approaching, at, or beyond this life expectancy, then it is probably time to consider replacing the system,' Micheal says. 

So, if you're wondering why your air conditioner is blowing cold air, then it may be time to remind yourself of your installation date, as this could be the first sign of a problem.  

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(Image credit: GettyImages)

3. The system is too small for the space

If your AC is too small, it will need to work harder to cool down your space, resulting in an overworked system, a house that doesn’t get cool, and a higher energy bill. And, the problems for older properties don't end there.

‘In many older homes, there are no “high returns” on the second floor and on any higher levels. Because of this, the system has no way to remove hot air from the upper level(s), making it difficult, if not impossible, to cool these areas down,' the realtor warns. 

'If a system that is too small, or if a system that lacks the returns discussed, the result is usually a buyer who becomes less interested or who feels as though the home is overpriced.' 

Therefore, while an AC system is often a necessity in a home, it is important to check that the system works before signing up for a home – to prevent a costly bill later. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.