I have lived in Grand Junction for nine years. A year and a half ago my husband and I bought an older home with a swamp cooler. We love the house but really miss the central AC that we had in our previous home. Now that we’ve experienced a couple of 100 degree days we are really considering installing central AC in our house but are wondering what sort of return on that investment we would see if/when we ever decide to sell this home.
Jenn L, Grand Junction
Great question and super timely now that summer is really turning up the heat!! It’s funny, I grew up in Grand Junction and spent most of my childhood living with a swamp cooler and that was all we knew. I don’t believe, or at my advancing age am I able to recall if, anyone had refrigerated air. My how times have changed!
Swamp coolers have many advantages. They are inexpensive to operate, they will drop the ambient temperature approx. 20 degrees, they add moisture to the dry air here, thus not only cooling, but providing needed moisture to the air in our typically dry climate! They sound incredible, right? As Lee Corso of College Gameday says, “not so fast my friend”. A swamp cooler will do all those things I listed and for all but about 30 days of our summer work incredibly well, however they are typically considered vastly inferior to central air conditioning units. We find that the vast majority of buyers from out of town have no idea what a swamp cooler is or has any idea how they really work or how to maintain them. To sum it up, they don’t like and don’t want what they are not familiar or comfortable with.
This is not to say that a home with a swamp cooler is inferior, as my own home has a swamp cooler, but as more and more people move here from areas outside of Grand Junction the swamp cooler is becoming a dinosaur and is almost NEVER preferred by buyers over Central AC. In fact most of the time adding AC to an existing house is considered a significant upgrade and can absolutely be a difference maker, especially to an out of town buyer. We regularly have requests from buyers to look at ONLY homes that have AC.
I believe that converting to central AC in your older home will absolutely be seen by future buyers as an upgrade and will prove to not only be a good investment, but will lead to a higher sales price and increase the number of potential buyers who will look at your home. Lastly, adding central AC will prove to be a creature comfort that you and your family will enjoy for many years, so adding it would be something I would encourage. We don’t always want to do things or add features to our homes simply for a good investment or to get a good return. Sometimes we should add them to increase our quality of life and overall home enjoyment! In my mind, loving where you live is the most important factor to weigh! Put it in and don’t look back, especially when all your friends who live in swamp cooled homes come over and comment on how nice and cool your home is compared to theirs. That is when it will really feel good!