If you are in the middle of a remodel or have an older home with no air conditioner you may be considering having a unit installed. There can be a lot of expenses involved in installing air conditioning. To cut costs you may be considering purchasing a secondhand unit.
You may be saving up to install a high-end unit, but need something to keep your house cool in the meantime. Or you may need to replace a unit that has finally stopped working but you are on a tight budget.
There is more to consider than just new or used. Are you looking for a central air unit? Maybe you want to try to keep costs down even more by cooling one room at a time. In that case, you may be looking for a window or wall unit, or a portable unit. You can find any variety of air conditioner units available, used, or refurbished.
Is this as cost-effective as it seems, and how does one go about finding a reputable source for a second-hand air conditioner? We have compiled a list of the pros and cons of purchasing a unit second hand, as well as sources for acquiring a second-hand unit. Still interested? Keep on reading to find out more about how to source a second-hand air conditioning unit.
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Pros and Cons Of Buying A Secondhand Air Conditioner
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to go secondhand with your air conditioner, this list of pros and cons may help make your decision easier.
- You are keeping the unit from ending up in a land-fill. Increased demand for second-hand air conditioners means more people will refurbish their units instead of simply throwing them out.
- You can get a nearly new unit for a lower cost. Many people if remodeling will get rid of all the appliances, even if they are in good working order. This means you can score a great deal on an airconditioning unit that could last just as long as a brand new one.
- If you are only getting the unit as a stop-gap until you can get a more expensive unit, or because you are only living there temporarily, a second-hand unit is a good investment that won’t break the bank.
- Depending on the age of the unit, it may be more difficult to find parts if the unit breaks. There are retailers that have second-hand parts, but you may not be able to source them quickly.
- If you purchase an older second-hand unit, it may not be as energy-efficient as newer models. If you have the option, don’t purchase a used air conditioner that is more than a few years old.
- As with all second-hand appliances, it may have a limited or no warranty. Most dealer refurbished and certified units will have some kind of warranty, and possibly a money-back guarantee. If you purchase from a previous owner who is selling the unit, any warranty it is under, may not transfer.
Where To Buy A Used Air Conditioner Online
If you’ve made the decision to purchase a used air conditioner, and you want the convenience of sourcing one online, we’ve put together a list of online sources to help make it easier for you.
Since the units are used or refurbished, the selection available will vary, and they may have a lower inventory at times. If you don’t find what you’re looking for immediately many of the sites have an area to submit an inquiry for the unit you want.
Offer-up is like an online classified section. You can list or buy everything from appliances to cars. Used air conditioners are listed on this site.
Shop with care. Since these are owner listed, the condition may be questionable. You will also need to arrange pick-up or delivery.
Used AC Depot
Used AC Depot is an online retailer that sells certified refurbished units. They offer a guarantee on their air conditioner units and compressors. They offer shipping, and costs for this will vary by state.
Formerly the Sears Outlet, American Freight offers refurbished as well as new air conditioning units. Their inventory consists of the only window or wall units. American Freight provides shipping via UPS.
Used AC Warehouse
Used AC Warehouse offers refurbished units, as well as units that are discounted due to being scratched or dented. They have a large variety of brands and offer price matching. Their refurbished units also come with a limited warranty.
You can find used air conditioner units on Facebook Marketplace. Use care when using a site like Facebook. There is no guarantee of the condition units will be in, so you will need to be educated on what to check for when purchasing a used unit.
Like Facebook Marketplace, eBay can be a good place to find a deal. Many of them are certified refurbished, and you have the ability to see reviews about the seller before you decide to purchase from them.
This online retailer is known for being a great place to score a deal. Overstock can also be used to source refurbished air conditioner units. Their selection is made mainly of portable and window units, for those who are looking for a more temporary solution.
RefurbKing specializes in refurbished appliances, including air conditioner units. They sell reconditioned parts as well as windows, walls, and portable units. They have reasonable returns and exchanges policy, as well as offering shipping.
Sam Stores offers price matching on their stock of refurbished air conditioner units if you can find the same unit at a lower price. As an online-only retailer, they guarantee secure transactions. They offer flat rate shipping for the 48 continental states.
Factory Pure is a family-owned retailer, that sells both refurbished and new air conditioning units straight from the manufacturer. Since the air conditioner units are refurbished by the manufacturer they come with a money-back guarantee.
Newegg is an e-commerce site that offers discounts on a large variety of items. Among the appliances offered on the site are refurbished air conditioning units. Refurbished air conditioners from Newegg come with a 30-day manufacturer’s warranty.
In an effort to remain sustainable, appliance manufacturer Danby refurbishes their appliances and offers them for sale on their website. Refurbished Danby appliances are sold with a 12-month warranty.
The availability of refurbished units does vary based on what has been sent in to be inspected and rebuilt or recycled.
Other Ways To Find A Second Hand Air Conditioner
If you are not comfortable purchasing an air conditioner unit online, sight unseen, there are other ways to find a used air conditioner.
Keep in mind, most online retailers are reputable, and if you are not satisfied you will be able to get your money back. By purchasing a unit that is used but not refurbished, you are taking a bigger risk of receiving a lemon. As with all things, buyer beware.
- Check garage sales and estate sales. If people are moving or remodeling, they may be replacing their air conditioner. If you have neighbors who are working on a remodel, it may be worth it to ask if they have any plans to replace their air conditioning unit.
- Check any refurbished appliance centers near you. They may have reconditioned air conditioners, and these will often be manufacturer certified which means they will have at least a limited warranty.
- Second-hand stores like the Salvation Army may have used air conditioners. They are most likely to be window or wall units, and there is no guarantee as to the kind of condition they will be in. If you are mechanically inclined, this may be a good option for you if you happen to find one.
How To Buy A Used Air Conditioner
You may have picked up a used air conditioner through a site like Craigslist, or seen one listed for sale in your community’s “buy, sell, trade” posts.
If you have purchased, or are considering purchasing a used air conditioning unit that has not been refurbished and certified, there are a few things you need to look for and keep in mind to make sure you have actually scored a bargain.
Check the filters
You want a unit with clean well-maintained filters. You can replace the filters, but it will be an added expense. Dirty cracked filters indicate the unit may not have received even basic maintenance.
Check the levels of refrigerant, and the condition of the hoses
Low refrigerant levels will cause the unit to be less energy efficient, and cracked damaged hoses will lead to leaks and possible damage to the compressor.
As with the filters, the condition of the hoses is also a sign of how well the unit has been maintained.
Have a professional inspect the unit to make sure it works
If possible, have the seller allow you to run it before you pay so you are not out any money for a unit that is beyond repair.
You don’t want to end up with someone else’s junk on your hands. Look for dust, and worn out parts. A used unit, especially a central air unit won’t look brand new, but there should be no major dents, or dirt build-up.
Make sure you have all the parts necessary for installation.
If the parts from the previous owner are not in good condition, make sure you can find the parts for a reasonable price. You don’t want to end up paying the price of a new unit to replace missing parts.
Do your research
Read reviews for the model you are looking at. Compare the features of the newer models to the older units, to see the differences.
A newer model may not differ as much from the older model as you may think. This means many of the parts required for routine maintenance will be readily available.
Older units are not as energy efficient
Determine if the money you are laying out for a used air conditioner is worth the extra cost on your energy bill.
Whether you’re buying new or used, there is a lot of work and research that goes into deciding which air conditioner unit to purchase. Rest assured the more time you spend worrying over the details, the more comfortable you will be with your decision.
If you are replacing an air conditioner unit that is still in good repair, consider donating it, or having it refurbished for resale. You can keep up the cycle of sustainability by making sure your old unit does not end up in a landfill. If it is in bad condition, it may still be good for parts.
Are you wondering if all your current air conditioner needs is a good cleaning? Take a look at our article on how to clean your air conditioner filters.