How Much Does it Cost to Install an AC Unit?

Install an AC Unit Costs
Location: National
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Average reported costs:
based on 9,310 cost profiles
Most homeowners
spent between:
$3,500 - $7,000
Minimum cost:
Maximum cost:
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The average national cost to install central air conditioning is $5,000 with most homeowners spending between $3,500 and $7,000. This data is based on actual project costs as reported by HomeAdvisor members.

When the hot summer months approach and you find yourself standing in front of the fan to keep cool, you dream of having air conditioning to cool down your whole house.

Window Unit vs. Central AC Unit

Installing a window air conditioning unit can bring added comfort into your home for a reasonable price. Window units are less powerful than a central air conditioning system, but can be quite effective for smaller spaces. While installation isn't complicated, it can help to work with a professional who will help to ensure that the installation is done correctly.

Size of your house

If you need something more powerful than a window unit, a Central A/C system is your best bet. The bigger your house, the bigger and more costly a system you will need to cool your home. But this isn't a case of "bigger is better" in every scenario. You want an air conditioning system that is the correct size for your home. If the system is too large it will cycle on and off all the time, wasting energy and being loud and disruptive. If the system is too small it will run constantly and will not effectively cool your house.

Do you already have a central heating system?

Many central air conditioning systems use the blower that is part of the furnace to distribute cool air through your home. If you do not have a central heating system installed, it is most cost effective to install both heat and air conditioning at the same time. If you already have central heat you can use the existing fans and duct system for central air.

Do you need duct work?

Although most new homes have ducts and vents already in place through the heating system, many older homes have old convection heating system or even baseboard heat and have no ductwork. If this is the case, you will need to install ducts and cut and install vents and provide. This is an extensive and costly job. If you need to install duct work and vents, this would be the time to explore upgrading the heating and cooling systems at the same time as both will be much cheaper when done together than if done separately.

How's the insulation in your home?

If your home is well built and well insulated, then both your heating and cooling systems will work more efficiently and therefore more cost effectively. If you have a brand new central air conditioning system, but poor insulation, you will spend considerable more on your energy bills than you need to. It would be worth exploring an upgrade to your home's insulation if this is the case. If might save you money in the long run.


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