Is an Air Conditioner a Fixture or a Fitting?


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You’ve found the perfect home, and it comes with fixtures you genuinely like. You’re especially in love with the air conditioner. However, is it actually considered as a fixture and included in the sale, or is an air conditioner classified as a fitting?

An air conditioner is a fixture if it’s attached to the house and removing it will cause damage to the property. This means if the air conditioning unit is a central one, it’s a fixture. Meanwhile, an easily detachable air conditioner such as a window or a split air conditioner is a fitting.

The rest of the article will explain what fixtures and fittings are and how an air conditioner is classified as a fixture or fitting. Likewise, it’ll also tackle different air conditioning units and some general points to consider when buying a house.

Fixtures and Fittings

To effectively and adequately classify whether an air conditioner is a fixture or a fitting, you need to know what makes an object a fixture or a fitting. Are fixtures limited to anything attached, and would objects be seen as fixtures as long as they’re connected to the house to some degree? 

What Are Fixtures?

Generally, fixtures are anything permanently attached to a property. However, there are a couple of factors to consider when judging whether an item is a fixture or not. Namely, these are the item’s method of attachment, the item’s adaptability for use, and the agreement between the buyer and the seller.

If the object is bolted, nailed, cemented, or permanently attached to any part of the house, it’s considered a fixture. This means wallpapers, swimming pools, bathtubs, electric sockets, and trees are classified as fixtures.

However, items such as picture frames, televisions, and curtain rails simply mounted to the wall are seen as fittings.

On the other hand, if removing an item from the house causes damage, it’ll be seen as a fixture and must come with the house. Likewise, anything meant to be used within the house that’s affixed to the house is a fixture. Examples of this would be a built-in stove, cabinet, stereo, or vent.

Lastly, the agreement between the buyer and the seller greatly influences the classification of fixtures and fittings. These two parties may negotiate, discuss, and sign in to contract the terms of the sale, which includes which objects are considered to be included in the sale or not.

What Are Fittings?

Fittings are considered as personal property and can be taken by homeowners anywhere. This means when you buy a house, anything classified as a fitting by the owner will be taken with them once they move out.

Fittings are anything affixed to the house that can be removed without damage to the property. These may be curtains, beds, sofas, lamps, mirrors, refrigerators, ovens, washing machines, carpets, tables, chairs, and plenty of other things.

Generally, as long as an object can be removed or moved without any inconvenience or issue to the next homeowner, it’s considered a fitting. Homeowner Experience has a great video that explains the difference between fixtures and fittings. You can watch it on YouTube:

When Can an Air Conditioner Be Considered a Fixture?

So, if fixtures are attached and often immovable objects, when can an air conditioner be considered a fixture? Does the air conditioner have to be affixed to the floor? Moreover, will air conditioners only be seen as fixtures if you can’t move them around the house?

An air conditioning unit is classified as a fixture when it’s affixed to the property. This is often the case for central air conditioners, which are almost always cemented outside the house. Removing them will damage the property and ruin the house’s airway system, so they’re fixtures.

Likewise, if an air conditioner is connected to other things, such as the wall, air ducts, or water pipes, then it’s a fixture as well. Hence, air conditioners are only generally considered as fixtures if moving them isn’t possible.

When Can an Air Conditioner Be Classified as a Fitting?

Not all air conditioners are attached to the house since not all houses will have central air conditioners. So, when can an air conditioning unit be seen as a fitting? Does it usually come at a certain type?

An air conditioner is a fitting if it’s not permanently attached to the house. If you can move it around without causing any damage to the property, the air conditioning unit falls within the fitting category.

Often, the types of air conditioners considered as fitting are the window and split units. A window air conditioner is fitted to a hole that’s usually within a house’s window. Meanwhile, a split air conditioner only takes up a little space within the house and can easily be taken down.

Both air conditioning unit types are seen as fittings because you can remove them without ruining any part of the house. A window unit may leave a hole where the air conditioner used to be, but that could easily be fixed by patching it with a board. Likewise, a split duct air conditioner only uses a small hole, so that’s fixable as well once the unit is removed.

Types of Air Conditioners

Generally, the type of air conditioner a house possesses influences its classification. You’ll often see central air conditioners noted as fixtures and room air conditioners seen as fittings.

Central air conditioning units reside outside your house. They’re usually cemented there, and they take care of cooling your whole house.

Hence, central units are fixtures. You can’t move them without ruining both the property and the unit itself, and you can’t remove them because removing them will affect the house’s air system.

Meanwhile, room air conditioners are fittings since they’re only placed within rooms without heavy attachments. Window units only need a hole on the window to do their job, while split air conditioners barely affect the house.

Split air conditioning units have two types: the regular split unit and the ductless one. Both units have separate inner and outer components, which are connected to each other through a small hole that goes inside a room and outside it. However, the difference between them is that the ductless consumes even less space than the regular split unit.

What Should I Consider When It Comes to Fixtures and Fittings?

If you’re buying a house and you’re in love with its air conditioning unit, the best way to figure out if it’s a fixture or a fitting is to ask the homeowner. Likewise, you can consider the factors mentioned above when you’re discussing the air conditioner with the owner.

When it comes to fixtures and fittings, always remember that anything removable is a fitting, while immovable and affixed objects are fixtures. This means if a stove is attached to the house, it’s a fixture. However, if it’s detachable, it’s a fitting and may be taken by the homeowner when they move out.

To ensure you and the person you transact with get the best deal, write up a contract that mentions the fixtures and fittings included in the sale. A contract that contains specifics will not only make things easier for you but also everyone else. It’ll also ensure that no surprises or disappointments will arise when the deal is done.

Final Thoughts

Central air conditioners, which are attached to the property, are always seen as fixtures. Meanwhile, room air conditioners such as window and split units are mobile and seen as fittings. However, to ensure a more precise agreement, have a discussion with the person you’re buying or selling your house to.

Alternatively, you can refer to this guide to define the air conditioner’s classification. You can also reach out to a real estate agent or a lawyer to help sort out the property’s fixtures and fittings.

Chris Hewitt

Chris is a Texas-based freelance writer who loves the outdoors and working in his garage. When he's not enjoying the Texas sun, he can be found tinkering with all sorts of things in his workshop.

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