How Much Does Air Conditioning Cost?
Most homeowners report spending between $3,712 and $7,144 to have air conditioning installed to there home. This price is more typical of a central A/C unit installation instead of a window central air conditioner addition which typically costs about $300. Your total cost for the job will depend on the type of system you choose and the brand.
The size of your home will also determine the type of air conditioning system you will need.
There are several types of systems,such as;
- Window units: installed in windows as a singular A/C system unit
- Split systems: either as mini-split (no ducts) or central systems that are installed as inside and or outside units
- Central system: uses duct systems that are usually combined with the heating system to cool a whole house
- Portable units: comes as a split, hose or evaporator system for easy movement around the house
A window air conditioning unit will generally suffice to keep a smaller home cool on warm easily on spring and summer days. The cost to install a window air conditioner varies between $150 and $400, depending on the size. Installing a window air conditioning unit can bring added comfort for a low price, but it will be less powerful than a central air conditioning system and often noisy. If you have a bigger home with multiple rooms, it is recomended to have a central air conditioner installed. Homeowners can pay between $500 and $4,000 for central air conditioner installs. The final cost will depend on the unit, additional installation items such as ductwork and the professional’s installation rates. Here are some additional factors that will determine the kind of system you will need, as well as its price. If you are looking for anHVAC company to install your air-conditionin, check out our Air-conditioner installation service.
Measuring Home Size in BTUs
The first major factor to determine what kind of air conditioning system you’ll need is the square footage of your home. Air conditioning units are measured in tons of air pushed in an hour or the amount of heat they can remove from a home in one hour in British thermal units (BTUs)–more information on BTU . The larger your house, the more cooling power you’ll need. However, bigger isn’t better in every scenario. If the system is too large it will cycle on and off all the time, wasting tons energy and emitting a loud, annoying sound. On the other hand, if the system is too small, it will run constantly and cool your house inefficiently, which will increase bills.
New Air Conditioning Unit Load Calculation
An air conditioning contractor will do a load calculation to determine the proper central air conditioning unit to fit your home. This calculation takes into account the climate, size, shape and orientation of your home, as well as its square footage. A professional will also look at the insulation, windows, walls, floors and other materials that make up your home. He will then look for any leaks, seals and existing ducts or vents in the house. The general rule is that every 500 or 600 square feet requires one ton of cooling. However, this calculation varies from place to place and contractor to contractor. Load calculating is often referred to as the Manual J methodology. Cooling professionals use a variety of computations to analyze your home air conditioner characteristics, determining how much air it will lose. Factoring in environmental considerations like geography and solar rays, professionals can decide which system will best cool your home. There are two types of Manual J load calculations:
- Whole House: Provides the air conditioning load calculations for a whole house for existing duct system.
- Room by Room: Used for calculating the air conditioning loads in every room of a house, which contributes to determining individual duct sizes and layout of the duct system
An air conditioning system’s SEER is especially important if you live in a climate that changes temperature dramatically. The SEER is determined by the cooling output during the winter divided by its electric input during the winter season. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient it will run. Cooling units must have a minimum SEER of 13 as of January 2006, according to U.S. standards, so if you live in a home with a system installed before then, you should consider having it replaced. SEER 13 units increase home efficiency by 30 percent, saving you money on AC
Once you’ve determined the size of the unit you need, it’s time to look at different brands. Various manufacturers produce heating and cooling units, and there are pros and cons to each. Central air units also vary in cost, depending on specifications. Therefore, consult with a professional about what you need and ask about needed additional features that may help your home. Here are some of the cooling unit manufacturers and their average costs:
- Aire-Flo — $1,700
- Amana — $2,600
- American Standard — $3,200
- Armstrong — $2,000
- Bryant — $2,200
- Carrier — $3,200
- Coleman — $1,700
- Comfortmaker — $1,700
- Frigidaire — $2,900
- Gibson — $2,300
- Goodman — $2,100
- Heil — $2,600
- Lennox — $3,400
- Payne — $1,400
- Rheem — $2,500
- Ruud — $2,400
- Tempstar — $1,800
- Trane — $3,300
- Whirlpool — $1,900
- York — $2,800
Air Conditioning Installation Cost Factors
There are a few factors in addition to load calculation, energy efficiency ratings and brand manufacturers that homeowners should consider before they invest in an air conditioning system:
Installing the Air Conditioning Unit
It’s important to have made an informed decision about an air conditioning system before initiating an installation, as this will determine a large percentage of your cost. If you decide to have a split or central system installed, you will need to hire an air conditioning professional to install the system. You cannot do this installation as a DIY project because it involves handling refrigerant, which cools the air. Professionals must be licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before they can handle this substance because it’s a harmful chemical. Installing an air conditioning system is an involved process. To that end, it requires the help of many professionals whose rates will drive up the cost. You will need at least:
- Air conditioning contractor: he or she performs an assessment to determine what kind of system you need and installs it
- Assistant(s): additional team that helps with the wiring, ductwork and metal bracket mounting
You will also be charged for the materials involved in the installation, including the air conditioning unit and chemicals. Check with your contractor to see whether you might cut costs by buying the air conditioning system yourself or using existing heating system ductwork in your home.
Additional Questions and Considerations
Do you already have a central heating system?
Many central air conditioning systems use the furnace blower to distribute cool air through the home. If you do not have a central heating system installed, it is cost-effective to install a heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the same time. If you already have central heat, you can use the existing fans and duct system for the central air system.
Do you need ductwork?
Although most new homes have ducts and vents already in place, many older homes have old convection heating systems or baseboard heaters without ductwork. In such cases, you will need to install ducts and vents to provide the air conditioning with a flow system. This would be the time to explore upgrading the existing heating system as well, as it will be much cheaper to do together.
How’s the insulation in your home?
If your home is well built and well insulated, your heating and cooling systems will work more efficiently and save you money. If you have poor insulation, you will spend considerably more on utility bills. Explore the costs of new insulation or upgrading your old insulation as it might save you money in the long run.
If you need your air conditioning sooner rather than later, don’t hesitate. Get in touch with a professional today.