Central Air Conditioning Installation


How Much Does Central Air Conditioning Installation Cost?

During the warmer seasons, central air conditioning installation is essential when you need to make a home far more livable. This equipment offers greater efficiency than individual window A/C units, and it also produces less noise while offering the power to thoroughly cool numerous rooms. 

Another advantage of a ducted A/C system is that it doesn't interfere with the normal use of windows or provide a convenient entrance for burglars. However, central air conditioning installation costs a substantial amount of money. Skilled professionals must perform a range of tasks covering ducting, wiring, thermostats and other components. Before you begin the search for a new central air conditioner, you should familiarize yourself with the efficiency and sizing terminology used in the HVAC industry.

  • SEER: Stands for "Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio", and refers to cooling efficiency. The higher the SEER rating, the lower the operating costs will be. A 12 SEER heat pump will be cheaper to run than a 10 SEER heat pump
  • HSPF: This stands for "Heating Seasonal Performance Factor", and refers to heating efficiency. This is the energy usage rating relative to its heating. A higher HSPF rating means a lower operating cost. 
  • BTU: This is a "British Thermal Unit", which is relative to the capacity or size of a heat pump. There are 12,000 BTUs per ton. A 2-ton heat pump will produce 24,000 BTUs of heating or cooling.

Types Of Central Air Conditioning Units

Generally, the size of your home will determine the type of central air conditioning installation you opt for. These are the most popular choices:

  • Central System: Combined with a heating system and ducting to cool the entire home
  • Split System: Available as a mini-split (ductless) and as a central system which is installed inside and outside the home.
  • Window Unit: Fits into windows as a single unit
  • Portable Unit: Available as a split or evaporative system and is easily moveable around the home.

Consider the following popular brands for central air conditioning installation and their unit prices versus installation prices. For this example, we will compare the average prices of 2.5-ton central air conditioners, which are perfect for 1,800 - 2,000 sq ft homes.

Brand Equipment Only AC, Coil & Installation
Amana $1,300 $2,600
Carrier $1,720 $3,300
Lennox $1,740 $3,400
Rheem $1,300 $2,500
Trane $1,700 $3,340

How Much Does It Cost To Install Central Air Conditioning?

Labor expenses make up a considerable portion of the cost to install central air conditioning. On average, about 45% goes to pay workers and subcontractors. At least two people will cooperate to install a system. One individual must possess a special license to handle refrigerant. 

Some HVAC companies subcontract ductwork or electrical tasks to other professionals. The bill should also cover thermostats, vents, ducts, and the central air conditioner. An A/C unit typically runs about $1,600 - $3,400 uninstalled.

The Price Of Air Conditioning Efficiency

The efficiency of a central air conditioner can save homeowners an enormous amount of money. Consider the SEER rating of these 2.5-ton central air conditioners.

Efficiency Rating Central A/C Price AC & Coil Installed
13 - 14 SEER (standard efficiency) $1,200 $2,400
15 - 16 SEER (high efficiency) $1,600 $3,200
17 - 18 SEER (high efficiency) $2,000 $3,900
19 - 21 SEER (super high efficiency) $2,500 $5,000
22 - 24 SEER (highest available) $3,000 $6,200

What Factors Determine The Total Installation Expense?

  • cooling requirements
  • system features, quality
  • existing components

Existing equipment plays one of the most important roles. You'll pay substantially less if your home already has HVAC ducts and vents for a heating system or a defunct air conditioner. The appropriate wiring and a thermostat will also cut costs.

Homes that need more cooling power will require more expensive A/C units. A variety of factors can affect cooling needs, such as wall materials, the number of windows, insulation thickness and shading. 

The design of the air conditioner has a major impact on this expense as well. Better features, a lower noise level or a higher efficiency rating will boost the price.

 A new air conditioner can cool your home better and save you money by working more efficiently. But it is by no means a simple DIY job. If you want the best value for your money when considering central air conditioning installation, make sure to compare at least 3 quotes from reputable contractors in your area.

What Can I Expect on My Cost To Install Central Air Conditioning?

The cost to install central air conditioning in a 1,800 sq ft or less size home starts at around $2,600 if you are just replacing the old unit and do not require new ducting. If you need a fairly larger unit and new ducts, you will probably pay closer to $7,200 to keep a 2,000 sq ft home cool.

This is the average most American homeowners spend. The reason for the drastic increase is due to the custom duct work which will be installed. This is a lengthy and specialized process and can easily double your cost to install central air conditioning.

A high-end A/C system in a spacious home may cost as much as $15,000 and will cover new custom ducting throughout the home and most probably feature a high end, super-efficient central A/C system.

Most central air conditioning installations can be completed within 2 - 3 days. Remember that you overall installation cost will be influenced by the size of your home, amount of windows, insulation quality, as well as the SEER and BTU rating of the unit you have selected.

These estimates don't cover the price of an optional extended warranty, but they do include manufacturers' and contractors' standard guarantees.

Extra Benefits To Keep In Mind

Keep in mind that you may qualify for a tax credit if you purchase a high-efficiency model. A central air system will also considerably raise a home's resale value.

Actual expenses vary depending on your city and state of residence. People tend to spend more in big cities and areas with greater cooling needs. Your location could also result in a larger installation fee if the contractor needs to travel numerous miles.

Get a Free Localized Quote

If you would like to get a more accurate idea of the cost to install your central air conditioning, we can put you in touch with professional in your are willing to provide you with a FREE estimate.

To get your FREE, no-obligation estimate, simply enter your home zip code in the space provided below and a licensed contractor will reach out to you with some professional assistance. Remember, filling in your details come with absolutely no hidden cost or contracts. 


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