How Much Does Central Air Cost?
Feb 24, 2020
Content was updated for accuracy and relevancy on April 8, 2021.
Having a central air conditioner is an easy and convenient means of staying cool and comfortable while controlling your home’s energy efficiency and output on those hot summer days. Different types of central air conditioners will inevitably come with its own costs, which will vary from household to household. But how much does central air cost ? Read on to learn how much does central air cost.
Central Air Conditioning Installation Cost
Installation costs for central air-conditioning systems can vary based on the HVAC contractor you hire, where you live, if you need heating and cooling replacement instead, and the type of air conditioning system you want. How much does a new central air-conditioning unit cost ? On average, you can expect installation cost alone to be between $3,000 to $7,000, which includes the unit. The three main factors involved with the installation costs include:
- Pre-installation evaluation.
- The existing ductwork.
- The central air unit itself.
Prior to even wheeling in the indoor unit, the contractor will have to inspect and audit your home. The most important of these is the Manual J load calculation, which measures the amount of heat that your house absorbs throughout the day. This helps your contractor estimate the type and size of the central air conditioning system that would work best in your home.
This evaluation should also include an assessment of potential energy inefficiencies in your home, including air leaks, damage in the ducts, or insulation issues.
decide on, you may require ducts in your home. If you don’t have existing ductwork, you can expect costs to almost double thanks to an increase in labor, materials, and time involved in duct installation.
However, even if you do have existing ducts, you may not be out of the woods. The older existing ducts can sometimes have trouble handling the airflow of a modern ac system. You may otherwise require more space for vents, coils, or refrigerant lines. Upgrading or replacing your ducts will also increase ac installation costs, but you will save in utility bills in the long run.
The good news is that not all central air conditioning systems require ducts and there are plenty of ductless system options out there.Talk to your contractor to determine what would work best for your personal budget and needs.
The AC Unit
Once it’s all said and done, most of the average cost comes down to the central air unit itself. There are a variety of different types of central air conditioning, including a split systems, ductless mini-split systems, heat pump systems, and packaged systems. This usually depends on your home’s structure and your contractor’s assessment.
Along with the type of central air system, you will have to determine the best size of a hvac unit for your home. Bigger isn’t always better. You may be wasting money on an unnecessarily large central air conditioning unit, which will cost even more money as you use it. The size usually comes down to the load calculation from the initial audit.
The Cost of Operation
Once you have your new central air conditioning unit installed and ready to use, you have to contend with the energy use that comes with operating the actual unit. There’s no real way to know exactly how much your central air conditioning will cost from month to month. Take into consideration the near-endless variables that can affect the cost to install, including:
- The size and square footage of your home
- The type of air conditioning system you have
- Insulation condition
- The type of window units you have
- General climate and temperature
These factors can cause one homeowner’s utility costs to be hundreds of dollars more than someone else’s. If you want to try to math it out, you can get a general estimate of an HVAC installation cost by using your air conditioner system’s wattage, the price per kWh your utility provider charges, and the number of hours per day that your air conditioning system runs.
Still, even with that information, your price and energy usage can vary, especially as your air conditioner gets older. This is why regular maintenance of your ac unit is important, ensuring you are energy efficient and at reasonable costs. Take care of your central air conditioning system, and it will take care of you.
If you want to learn more about how much installing a central air system is going to cost you, contact us today! We can provide you with more information.