home improvement

The Cost of Air Conditioning Installation – A Breakdown of Expenses

The Cost of Air Conditioning Installation – A Breakdown of Expenses

Replacing an air conditioner can be a significant financial commitment, and homeowners need to understand the total cost of AC installation. A professional assessment from an HVAC pro helps limit surprise costs and ensures your new system is sized correctly for your home.

Air conditioning costs depend on the type of system, home size and whether ductwork will be installed. Learn how to lower these expenses by shopping in the off-season, exploring rebates and getting a pre-installation inspection.


Cooling our homes with technologically advanced air conditioning is no longer a luxury but a necessity. AC can improve our daily comfort, health, productivity and energy levels and increase home value.

The price of an air conditioner installation depends on many factors, including the size of your home and the type of system you want to install. For example, ductless mini-split systems are typically less expensive than central AC units but can only cool one or two rooms simultaneously.

Another factor is whether you have existing ductwork or need to install a new system. A duct system can significantly add to the cost, requiring professional installers and specialized tools. The final AC installation cost depends on the system’s SEER rating and capacity.


If you’re installing a new AC unit, the equipment cost will vary depending on the type and size of your system. The price of an AC unit is typically calculated based on its cooling capacity, measured in tons of BTUs per hour.

A contractor must complete a load calculation to determine how many BTUs your home needs, which allows them to recommend the right air conditioner size for your property. Air conditioning units are also rated for energy efficiency by their SEER ratings.

You can save money by replacing an old air conditioner with a higher SEER rating. The cost of a new air conditioning installation is also affected by several factors.


The air duct system is integral to a home’s or building’s HVAC system. It pumps filtered air throughout the space, distributing conditioned air and collecting return air. A well-designed ductwork system can significantly reduce energy costs and improve indoor air quality.

Ducts can be made of sheet metal, aluminum, or flexible plastic encased in fiberglass. Rigid ducts are usually more expensive than flexible ones to install. They are also more prone to mold and mildew growth. The most efficient ducts are sealed and insulated, with the supply and return vents located inside a building’s conditioned space to reduce leaks and loss of heat or air. Adding ducts in new homes and remodeling existing ones may require a significant reworking of the design and layout of the space.


Air conditioning installation requires a state-licensed electrician to perform high-voltage work. This includes connecting the unit to the power supply, removing and replacing existing wiring and installing a new condensate drain line.

This is especially important in homes with ductwork because air conditioners remove moisture from the air, which must be drained to prevent overflow. The condensation line runs to a floor drain or approved standpipe. Installing a sump pump may also be necessary to avoid water build-up if obstructions cause the drain to clog.

Investing in a new AC system is more than an expense; it improves your daily comfort, productivity and energy levels and adds to your home’s value. That’s why the pre-installation evaluation is essential to help ensure you get the right system for your house.


Air conditioners are filled with copper, aluminum, stainless steel and other non-biodegradable materials. They also contain tubes, tanks, and hoses lined with refrigerants, dangerous and polluting materials to throw away.

You should check with your local sanitation department to see if there are specific guidelines about disposing of your old AC unit. No one wants it to go into landfills, where ozone-depleting Freon can leach out and harm the environment.

Many retailers that sell new air conditioners will bundle disposal services into the sale cost or give you a rebate for your old one. You can also donate your old air conditioner to a charity or shelter home. They will be glad to have it, which might even get you a tax deduction.

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