A few decades ago most people couldn’t really afford to have an air conditioner. Things started changing along with climate change, so an air conditioner almost became a must in today’s times. In recent summers the temperatures have reached the highest levels in known history, so for most households, air conditioning is a necessity during hot summer months.
Naturally, global warming has led to a significant rise in requests for AC installation. From our perspective, investing money in air conditioning means investing in your home, your comfort and your overall health. But how much does it cost to install an air conditioner in your home? What factors should be considered? What are the best options? Keep reading to discover answers to all these questions and learn all you need to know about AC installation.
What Impacts the Cost of Air Conditioner Installation?
In this section, we’ll take time to discuss various factors that determine the price of AC installation. Those factors include:
Size of Your Home
The most important factor when it comes to the price of installing an air conditioning system is the size of your home, which will determine how powerful your AC needs to be. Obviously, more spacious homes will need a more powerful system. Fortunately, due to the huge progress technology has made over the past years, even the largest spaces can be kept cool and comfy without problems.
If case your home is well insulated, with most of its windows facing east, and with some trees in the surroundings, there’s a great probability that your home stays pretty cool during the warmer months. On the other hand, if your insulation isn’t well done, and your home receives plenty of sunlight, you’ll want to consider acquiring a more powerful air conditioner to control the temperature and keep the air in your home cool during the summer.
Type of Air Conditioner
Another crucial factor from the price perspective is the type of air conditioner you want to install. There’s a wide range of different types of AC units. The most commonly used types of air conditioners are:
- Central air conditioners
- Ductless mini-split
- Portable air conditioners
- Window air conditioners
- Geothermal air conditioners
- Floor Mounted air conditioners
- Hybrid air conditioners
- Smart air conditioners
All of the listed types of air conditioning systems have their advantages and disadvantages, so each of them can stand out as the best choice depending on the room size and other conditions. Each type of air conditioner requires a different installation, so the price of installation will vary accordingly.
Desired Level of Comfort
The next thing you should consider is whether you wish to cool the whole household or to be able to control the temperature in particular rooms. Also, do you plan on running your air conditioner on 50% all year long, or do you want to run it on 100% during the summertime? Controlling the temperature in rooms separately requires specific features, and having the AC run on 100% for months might require a more robust AC system, so the desired level of comfort obviously affects the price of AC system installation.
The efficiency of an air conditioner represents the amount of heat removed relative to the energy spent to cool the room. In terms of efficiency, AC units are ranked using the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). SEER is defined by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, as the ratio of power the AC uses to work over a 1 year period.
However, it’s important to inform yourself on what efficiency level is the best solution for your home. Authorities of different states and countries might create different efficiency requirements, so it’s important to be familiar with regulations as well. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) states that starting in 2023, required cooling efficiency will rise to 14 SEER or higher for the northern USA, and to 15 SEER or higher for the southern USA. This will probably set the prices of air conditioners and other equipment higher too.
Is This the First AC System In Your Home?
The cost of AC installation will also depend on whether you’re installing the air conditioner for the first time, or you’re replacing an old one. The second option is, likely cheaper, since some of the needed infrastructures may already be there, and only some components need to be replaced.
Last but not least, you should find out if your HOA has some rules related to noise. AC units create annoying humming or buzzing sounds, so you should ask yourself how much of a problem noise is to you. Anyway, you’ll probably want to go with a quieter option if possible. Luckily, there’s plenty of quiet models available on the market.
We should take some time to discuss the prices on AC system installation related to the factors listed in the previous section.
What’s the Price for Installation of a New AC and Ductwork?
As we said before, the price of air conditioner installation depends on multiple details such as the type of AC unit you want, the size of the house and whether it already has ductwork. Without ductwork in place, installation of all necessary elements such as ductwork, AC and furnace would cost anywhere from $14,000 to $20,000.
What’s the Price of Replacing an AC if You Already Have Ductwork?
As we stated earlier, this option would be much more affordable, since adding ductwork is pretty expensive. With ductwork already in place, the price of a new air conditioner will span from $4500 to $7500, depending on pre-mentioned factors such as the size of your home and cooling efficiency.
What’s the Price of Replacing Furnace and AC?
Numerous homeowners decide to use both an air conditioner and a furnace in order to waste less energy and make their homes more comfortable. In case you want to purchase a furnace and an air conditioner or to replace the existing ones, don’t make a common mistake and buy them separately, since this is the only way to be sure that both systems are working properly. Keep in mind that getting both at the same time can often get you a better deal. Normally installation or replacement of furnace/air conditioner combination stands somewhere between $8,000 and $15,000. Naturally, the price differs due to the size of your home, the type of AC unit you want, and other conditions.
What’s the Price of Compressor in AC?
A compressor is a central part of an air conditioning unit. Its purpose is to transfer the refrigerant from gas to a liquid state and circulate it around the entire AC system. It’s very often that a broken compressor means that the whole system needs to be replaced. This is especially true when speaking of outdated air conditioners that probably won’t last much longer. On the other hand, there’s a great number of possible situations in which replacing a compressor will be the most practical and most budget-friendly choice. In general, if you need a compressor replacement, you’ll need to pay anywhere from $1,300 to $3,000. Once again, the prices vary depending on the type of AC you have.
What’s the Price of AC Capacitor in Air Conditioner?
Capacitors are the parts of the air conditioner located in the furnace and in the outdoor unit. Their function is to supply the engine with the power and keep your AC working. Fortunately, AC capacitors aren’t that expensive, ranging from $300 to $500. Their replacement is also a relatively quick process, but you should hire an experienced professional installer to do it, since replacing them can be dangerous.
What’s the Price of Installing Ductless Mini-Split AC?
Ductless mini-split AC systems work per zones. With single-zone ductless air conditioners, cool air is dispersed only in one room. On the other hand, multi-zone ductless ACs can control the temperature in up to five zones. Installation of this type of AC system usually costs between $3,000 and $10,000.
What’s the Price of a Window AC Device?
Portable air conditioners that can vent through a window are also an option, but keep in mind that some of these devices are pretty big in size, and require a large amount of space in the room. However, portable ACs are still the most affordable option and depending on their power they can cost from $230 to $700. We should underline that this type of AC unit is a great choice if you are looking for a budget-friendly option that can be moved from room to room easily.
What’s the Price of Labor?
An hour of installation work costs around $75, which is around 40% of the total price you’ll pay for the installation or replacement of the AC system. We should mention that installing a 2-ton air conditioning system usually takes about 18 hours of work.
This completes our comprehensive post covering how much is an air conditioner. There are numerous factors that come into the equation when it comes to buying or replacing air conditioning systems. In the sections above we’ve listed the things that determine the prices, and analyzed the cost of different types of AC units. We hope you like the article and find it helpful. As always, if you have any questions, or want more information about a specific point, feel free to post a comment and we’ll be happy to respond.