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January 24, 2022

Is There An ROI on AC in SF?

Twin Peaks fog

One of my clients recently asked me what kind of return on investment (ROI) he might expect for an air conditioning system install.

When it comes to an ROI for AC, there isn’t sufficient data out there comparing home sales with and without air conditioning. That’s because very few homes in San Francisco actually have it.  I crowdsourced a variety opinions from my colleagues so we could dig into the details on an anecdotal basis.

First things first: There are typically only a handful of very hot days in San Francisco, given its climate and geographical location that’s heavily influenced by Karl the Fog. As one of my colleagues says, “AC in San Francisco is called opening the windows.”

Of course, when it comes to wildfires that cause smoke to descend on San Francisco, air conditioning can be great to have. But it’s a crap shoot when and whether such fires will affect the city.

Ultimately, air conditioning in the city is probably something that’s nice to have and will improve your quality of life. But whether someone will pay a premium just to have it depends on the buyer. There’s simply no guarantee you’ll see the same ROI that you would from, say, a kitchen remodel.

It’s worth mentioning that air conditioning is typically not environmentally friendly.  As an alternative,  homeowners can explore portable units to use in rooms that get particularly warm, or whole house fans that can cool off a single-family home after dark to make it easier to sleep. Investing in high-quality window shades and keeping them down during the hottest part of a day can also help.

[Photo courtesy of New City Adventures]


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