How Much Does It Cost to Install a 3.5-Ton AC?

National Average Range:
$5,000 - $9,000
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Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez. Written by

Central air conditioning is one of the most effective ways to cool your home during the hot months. While 3.5-ton HVAC units can offer other services, central air conditioning is the only type sized in tons and offers only air conditioning. The system works by condensing and cooling the air from outdoors, and then circulating it through your home via ducts. They come in several types and efficiencies that impact their upfront and monthly costs. For homes of 2,000 to 2,200 sq.ft., a 3.5-ton air conditioner may be the right size, depending on how much insulation you have and your climate and cooling needs.

The national average cost to install a 3.5-ton AC unit is $5,000 to $9,000, with most homeowners paying $7,500 for a 3.5-ton split system with a SEER of 16 installed on a new concrete pad using existing ducts. This project’s low cost is $4,000 for a 3.5-ton 13 SEER split system installation with no changes or modifications to the surrounding area. The high cost is $12,000 for a 3.5-ton packaged HVAC system with a SEER of 21 and moderate duct modifications.

3.5-Ton AC Unit Cost Calculator

3.5-ton AC units are a fairly common size, used for homes averaging 2,000 to 2,200 sq.ft. They come in several types and efficiencies, impacting cost and quality. The unit’s efficiency or SEER can range from 13 to 21, with lower SEER ratings having lower upfront costs but higher monthly costs. Higher SEER ratings have higher upfront costs but lower monthly costs. Efficient units have multi-stage motors and blowers 1, increasing costs. Systems can be packaged for installation in several ways, impacting the unit and installation costs. Below are the average costs to install a 3.5-ton AC unit of varying qualities.

3.5-Ton AC Unit Costs
Zip Code Tons
Basic Standard Best Quality
3.5-Ton AC Unit Cost (Material Only) $3,000 - $3,500 $3,750 - $7,000 $7,500 - $9,500
3.5-Ton AC Unit Installation Cost (Labor Only) $1,000 - $1,500 $1,250 - $2,000 $1,500 - $2,500
Total Costs $4,000 - $5,000 $5,000 - $9,000 $9,000 - $12,000
3.5-Ton AC Unit Cost per Ton $1,143 - $1,429 $1,429 - $2,571 $2,571 - $3,429

In addition to efficiency, other factors can influence your system’s cost and installation. Most air conditioners are split systems, with one half installed outdoors on a concrete pad 2 and one half indoors. More costly systems may be packaged as one unit for space-saving or combined with a furnace. Packaged systems cost more to purchase and install, and if you need a new concrete pad or modifications to your ductwork or other surrounding areas, this can increase the project cost.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Lifespan. 3.5-ton air conditioners last 15 to 20 years with proper usage and maintenance.
  • Maintenance. Maintenance for a 3.5-ton air conditioner includes changing the filter seasonally and servicing it by your HVAC tech yearly.
  • Top manufacturers. Many reputable brands manufacture 3.5-ton AC units. These include Rheem, Trane, Carrier, Lennox, Amana, American Standard, York, and Goodman. Each may have different attributes that make one a better fit for your home.
  • Mounting 3. Most air conditioners are split systems, meaning that one half is installed outside. It is mounted on a concrete pad. Costs increase if you need to add or replace a pad.
  • Permit. You may need a permit to install a new air conditioning unit in some areas. Speak to your local municipality for more information.
  • Rebates. Some manufacturers offer rebates to lower costs. You may also get rebates for installing a higher-efficiency unit in some areas. Speak to your installer about what rebates may be available.


  • How many square feet does a 3.5-ton AC cool?

A 3.5-ton AC unit cools 2,000 to 2,200 sq.ft., depending on the insulation and climate.

  • How much does a 3.5-ton Rheem AC unit cost?

Depending on your unit and its efficiency, a 3.5-ton Rheem AC costs between $5,800 and $10,000 installed.

  • Is there a 3.5-ton AC unit?

Yes, 3.5-ton AC units are common and can be used to cool homes between 2,000 and 2,200 sq.ft.

The air handler for a 3.5-ton air conditioning unit costs $900 to $1,600, depending on the brand.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Blower 1 Blowers: An accessory that makes a fireplace more efficient by circulating the warm air in the fireplace to other areas of the home
glossary term picture Concrete Pad 2 Concrete pad: A flat area of concrete that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as a patio or a driveway
3 Mounting: A support on which something is attached or hung
4 Air handler: A unit that distributes heated or cooled air to the different areas of the home. Air handlers do not heat or cool the air, but instead pull the heat out of the air and direct it outside in the summer and inside in the winter. Air handlers are often part of a heat pump system

Cost to install a 3.5-ton AC varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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