How much does it cost to install a 3.5-ton AC?

National Average Range:
$5,000 - $9,000

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Updated: August 17, 2022

Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez remodeling expert. Written by

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date cost figures, we gather information from a variety of pricing databases, licensed contractors, and industry experts.

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, 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.

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 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. 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.