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Everything You Need to Know About AC Installation Costs

Posted by Brittany on Aug 18, 2015 6:01:00 PM

acFall will be here before you know it, but before you start prepping for cooler weather, why not look into whether or not you’ll need a new air conditioning unit. This is especially important if you’ve noticed your AC has been running less efficiently this summer. Ask yourself: have you had to make a lot of repairs? How old is it? How efficient is it compared to a newer model? This may be the time to buy a new AC unit, but in order to know if it’s the right time for your budget, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about AC installation costs.

What’s The Price?

The price of getting a new air conditioner unit installed can run anywhere from $3,000-$7,500 on average, according to figures reported from homeadvisor.com and Angieslist.com. Depending on several factors, though, some report prices as low as $1,800 and as much as $15,000. To find out the price you will pay to get a new air conditioner unit installed, you’ll need to look at several factors when you talk to a pro.

Factor 1: The Size Of Your Home

Size matters when it comes to your AC unit. A 500-square-foot apartment won’t need the same size unit as a 2,000-square-foot house, which won’t need the same size unit as a 5,000-square-foot mansion or 15,000-square-foot office building. You need an AC unit that will have enough power to cool your home without getting one that’s too big for it. If you choose an AC that’s too small, it will need to work much harder to cool and dehumidify your home. Too big, and you’ll be paying more and feeling less comfortable. That’s because a unit that’s too big will reach the thermostat set point early and then turn off before the AC had enough running time to remove humidity from your home. Bigger spaces need bigger AC units and more cooling power, which will cost more money.

Factor 2: The Type Of Air Conditioner

A conventional central air conditioner, also called a split-system unit, is the most common type of AC found in Minnesota. It uses ducts and registers to keep your whole house cool. However, there are a variety of types, and they all vary in price.

There are packaged units, room air conditioners (sometimes referred to as window ACs), portable ACs, and ductless mini-split ACs. You can read more about each type of AC in this post on all the different types of air conditioners.

Factor 3: The Energy Efficiency Rating

How hard will your AC need to work to cool your home to the optimal temperature? How hard will it need to work to maintain comfort? Depending on what your budget is and the climate you live in, you may want to buy an energy efficient unit. They cost more upfront but will save you money over time on energy bills. If you want to know how efficient an AC is, you need to look at the SEER rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER rating is how the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) rate the energy efficiency of a system. Basically, products with higher SEER ratings are more efficient, and therefore save you more money over time, because they use less energy. New units that are installed must be 13 SEER or greater. A few years ago 10 was the minimum SEER rating, but now systems can be in the high 20s. 

Factor 4: Service & Labor

Unless you are a contractor that works regularly on HVAC installations, this will not be a do-it-yourself project. For that reason, you’ll need to factor in the cost of hiring a contractor. Obviously, like with any job, the price of hiring a pro varies person to person, but several factors can mean you are paying more or less for labor. For example, are you installing an AC in the home for the first time? According to Angie’s List, you will need electrical work done – new wires, panels and breakers – just to have enough power to run your new AC. That will also mean adding new ductwork or modifying your HVAC to link to the new AC. What if you are just replacing an old unit? You may still need duct modifications, a new thermostat or more insulation added in your home.

Whomever you decide to hire, choose an expert company that can help you pick the right system for your home and one that is certified to do AC work and handle refrigerant. A reputable company will also have liability insurance and workers' compensation policies in place. Lesser companies may come at a lower price because they aren’t paying for those items and aren’t certified to do the work; therefore they undercut the price to compensate. Be careful, because that means you may have issues down the line or if something goes wrong, it can leave you vulnerable if someone gets hurt on your property during installation. Better to pay the price to get it done right the first time.

The Essential Guide to AC

Topics: Cooling, HVAC