26 Feb. 19

How Much Does Air Conditioner Installation Cost?


During the hot summer months, it is essential that you have a means of cooling your home. An air conditioner is one of the most efficient ways to cool your home. Air conditioning units are capable when it comes to power consumption, are easy to use and best of all, easy to maintain.

For most homeowners looking to purchase an air conditioning unit, the number one encumbering factor is the cost. Many often ask “How much does air conditioner installation cost?”

The cost of air condition installation encompasses so many factors. There are many things that you have to take into consideration before installing air conditioning in your home.

This post explains these factors in explicit detail. It will also help you come up with an estimate of how much it would cost to have air conditioning installed in your home.

Types of Air Conditioning Systems

There are different types of air conditioning systems. Each system has separate purchase and installation costs. They include:

1. Window Systems – This type of air conditioners are usually installed in windows. They exist as single units.
2. Split Systems – They exist as ductless or central systems. Split air conditioning systems have units installed both inside and outside your home.
3. Central Systems – Central air conditioning systems combine a duct system with a heating system to cool your home.
4. Portable Systems – As the name implies, they can be moved from room to room depending on your specific needs. Portable systems may exist as hose, split or evaporative systems.

Window and split air conditioning systems are capable of keeping small homes cool on hot summer days. They are easy to maintain and rather cost-effective. The cost of installing a window air conditioning unit ranges from $150 – $300. It all depends on the size of the system you need.

The only downside to installing window/split air conditioning units is the fact that they may not be able to cool larger homes. If you have a big house with several rooms, it is recommended that you have central air conditioning installed.

How Much Does Central Air Conditioning Cost? Central air conditioner installation costs start at $500 and can rise to as much as $4,000. The total cost is a function of the model of the unit, ductwork and your contractor’s installation rates.

Factors That Determine The Type of A.C. System You Need

1. The size of your home

One of the most critical factors that will determine the air conditioning system you need to have installed is the home’s size. The size of your home determines how much heat an air condition system can remove from your home within a specific period. This calculation is defined in BTUs (British Thermal Units).

The bigger your home, the higher the cooling power your air conditioner will need to have. When selecting an air conditioning system, it is essential that you determine the exact size you need.

If you install an air conditioner unit that is too large for your home, it will be counterproductive. The system will mainly be wasting energy, cycling off most of the time and producing a loud, disturbing sound.

Similarly, if you install one that is too small, it will keep working continuously without cooling your home efficiently.

Related article: How Much Does Central Air Conditioning Cost?

2. Air Conditioning Unit Load Calculation

The proper air conditioning unit for your home is also a function of a load calculation. This calculation is best carried out by a professional. A load calculation accounts for factors such as climatic conditions, size, orientation and even the square footage of your home.

A professional taking load calculations will also be expected to inspect your home’s insulation, walls, windows, and floors. Leaks, vents, and ducts will also be examined.

Generally, it is an unwritten rule that every 500 square feet need a ton of cooling energy. Of course, depending on the climate and orientation of your home, your contractor may decide to use a different measurement. Cooling experts use a wide variety of numbers to analyze your home’s cooling needs. Geographical factors such as solar rays, air quality, and landscape all have a role to play.

The load calculation is sometimes referred to as the Manual J methodology. In cooling circles, there are two different forms of Manual J calculations. They are:

Whole House Calculations: This method of calculation provides the load requirements for an entire house that already has a functional duct system.

Room by Room Calculations: This form of calculations is used to determine the load requirements for every room in your house. It is mainly used when your home doesn’t have a functioning duct system. Room by room calculation helps to determine the duct layout and sizing for each room.

Using load calculations, the best system for your home is one that is extremely energy efficient and costs the least amount of money to run.

3. EER ratings

EER is a certification of the efficiency of your HVAC system. It is calculated by dividing the cooling rate of the system in BTUs (British Thermal Units) by the rate at which energy is consumed. This calculation is carried out based on your home’s room temperature.

It is also calculated at wet bulb as well as dry bulb temperatures. Ideally, the EER ratings for an efficient cooling system should be 80db/67wb for inside temperatures and 95db/75wb for outside temperatures.

4. SEER ratings

These are significant for your air conditioning system if your home is situated in a place that experiences dramatic temperature changes. It can be determined by the relationship between the system’s cooling output and electric input. These numbers are generally calculated during the cold winter months.

The higher your system’s SEER ratings, the higher its efficiency. Efficient cooling systems need to have a rating of at least 13. Every 13 units on your cooling system’s ratings increase the efficiency by at least 30 percent.

Factors That Contribute to Air Condition Installation Costs

Load calculation, energy efficiency, EER and SEER ratings all contribute to the price of obtaining an air conditioning unit. However, other factors add to the total cost of having an air condition unit in your home.

The price of the air conditioning system itself takes up a massive chunk of your total cost outlay. It is recommended that you hire a professional to help you install the system If you purchase a split or central system. You may think that you can handle the installation of an air conditioner by yourself, but it is a difficult prospect.

Installation means you would have to handle refrigerant which can be a dangerous activity.

After going through years and years of rigorous training, professionals have to be licensed by a regulatory body. During the installation of an air conditioning system, many small details need to be ironed out. This can only be caught by a professional.

Ultimately, there are are two factors that will determine how much you would need to pay for installation costs:

1. Your HVAC contractor

Before installing a system, your HVAC expert will need to assess your home and cooling needs. They will need to determine what kind of system will be perfect for you. Additionally, they will need to be paid for their services. Some experts charge by the job while others charge by the hour.

Depending on how extensive of a job your air conditioning system requires to be installed, your contractor may charge you on the high side.

2. Materials Needed for Installation

You will also need to pay for the cost of extra materials required during the installation of your home air conditioning unit. You will have to pay the costs of chemicals(refrigerant), mounting brackets and pipes. If your home is devoid of a working duct system, it is inevitable that you will also have to pay for the cost of getting one installed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Over time, we have noticed that some questions always seem to pop up on our radar during installation exercises. Before installing an air conditioner, some questions need to be answered by your HVAC professional. Some of these questions are:

1. Since I already have central heating installed, can I get air conditioning installed?

The answer is yes. If you don’t have central heating already installed in your home, we would recommend that you get it fixed along with your air conditioning system. It will help you save service and inspection costs. Your air conditioning system can be set up to use your heating system’s furnace blower as a distributor of cold air.

Additionally, you can also use the duct system and already existing fans as a part of your central air unit.

2. Does my home’s insulation have any effect on my air conditioning?

If your home is well insulated, it is highly likely that your cooling system will work well. You won’t be losing cold air to radiation. Therefore, you will save more money on energy costs. If your home is a victim of poor insulation, your cooling system will need more energy to run. This will only lead to a corresponding increase in your utility bills.

We would advise that you explore upgrading your home’s insulation.

3. Is the air conditioning unit the right size for your home?

For you to enjoy the best possible performance from your air conditioner, it has to be the right size for your home. That is why you must have experts measure your home’s specifications and do the necessary load calculations.

4. Is your duct system working?

If there are faults in your home’s ductwork, it will affect the efficiency of your air conditioning system. Leaky ducts are one of the fastest ways for your home to lose cold air. To ensure that your air conditioner works with maximum efficiency, you should have an expert inspect your ducts before installing your air conditioning system.

5. How is my home’s air flow?

For maximum cooling effects, the flow of air through your home has to be just right. If it isn’t, you may experience hot spots in different sections of your home. Have your expert evaluate your home to improve the quality of air flow.

6. What about refrigerant?

The refrigerant in your cooling units is the chemical that cools the air flowing through your home. If your system doesn’t have enough refrigerant, it can result in higher energy consumption rates.

Have a professional evaluate your refrigerant levels and make the necessary adjustments if needed.

Air Conditioning Facts

Of course, your HVAC professionals will know a lot about the proper functioning of an air conditioning system. However, there are still some facts that you should outfit yourself with before the installation of your system. They are:

1. The relationship between Air Conditioning Units and BTUs

BTUs is an acronym for British Thermal Units. A British Thermal Unit is essentially the total amount of energy that is required to cool down a pound of water by one °F. It is a measurement used to classify home conditioning units according to their BTU/hour.

A simple BTU examination can be carried out to determine the size of the AC system you need. Carry out this examination by comparing the square footage of your room with a reference chart.

2. Single-Stage and Two-Stage Cooling

Air conditioning systems can be broadly classified into these two groups. Determining the group that is ideal for your home is a function of your climate.

Single-stage systems are designed to turn on when your home’s temperature rises past the temperature on their thermostats. After cooling your house down, they automatically turn off completely until your home’s temperature increases again. When single-stage systems turn on, they work at maximum capacity. Single-stage systems are perfect for climates that don’t experience frequent climatic changes.

In humid climates, single stage air conditioners will turn on frequently. This will lead to increased energy bills as well as loud noises from the system.

Two-stage air conditioners are designed to function either at two-thirds capacity or maximum capacity. It all depends on your home’s temperature. When your room temperature rises, it will turn on at two-thirds and gradually work its way to maximum working capacity. Afterward, it will come down to two-thirds capacity and then turn off automatically.

This helps you save power and reduces the amount of noise emission from your system. They are very effective options for homeowners.

3. Tax Breaks

You can gain tax credits from the government by buying energy-efficient home appliances. Energy-efficient air conditioning units are those that meet the lofty standards set by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE).

All you have to do to qualify for tax credits is to keep the manufacturer’s certificate. The IRS may not need the certificate when you file your tax returns, but we recommend keeping it in the event of an audit.

The following devices gain you tax credits:

  • Split-system air conditioners with a SEER rating of 16 or 13
  • Packaged air conditioners with a SEER rating of 14 or 12

4. Air Conditioning Warranties

If you buy a new air conditioning unit, it is going to come with a warranty from the manufacturer. The length of the warranty varies as a function of the manufacturer. Generally, they last between 5-15 years.

The warranty itself covers your device as well as certain parts in the system. Sometimes, your contractor can offer you a guarantee on their services. This includes labour costs for AC repairs as well as installation and other additional work is done.

Air conditioning units with IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) modifiers have a separate warranty. This warranty is usually less than that of an air conditioning unit. You should bear this in mind when buying such devices.

Preparing Your Home For the Installation of an Air Conditioning System

When expecting the installation of an air conditioning system in your home, you should try as much as possible to make things easier for the contractors.

You can do this by ensuring that the workmen have an uncluttered workspace. Make sure that the installation point is free of foreign objects that can cause a safety hazard. Similarly, create a path for your contractors to move their equipment to the point of installation. If they have plenty of room to maneuver, their work will be done quickly and more efficiently.

If you have the time, you can give the area an excellent sweeping/dusting.

The installation of an air conditioning unit is best carried out by a professional. Sure, you may want to save installation costs by doing yourself. However, this is a plan that can backfire in the long run. You may even end up spending more money on repairs and re-installation.

As long as you are working with the right contractors, you won’t regret spending money on the installation of an air conditioner. Our professionals are on hand to assist you with every one of your installation needs.

Call us today!

Related article: How often should I service my air conditioner?