How Much Does It Cost to Install Air Conditioning?

National Average Range:
$2,300 - $10,800
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Reviewed by Ryan Osterkamp, HVAC expert. Written by

Whether you live in an area that stays warm year-round or is hot in the summer, air conditioning helps you stay cool. Air conditioning can mean many things. Traditionally, this method removes heat from the air by passing it over refrigerated coils and condensing it to remove excess moisture. There are many ways to cool a home, including swamp coolers and geothermal systems, which are sometimes referred to as air conditioning. With all these methods for cooling the air, there is a wide range of costs.

On January 1, 2023, new laws go into effect that dictate new efficiency requirements on all air conditioners and heat pumps in the U.S. While this does not impact swamp coolers, it affects geothermal, air heat pump systems, and traditional air conditioning systems. This is coupled with a new testing method for air conditioner efficiency, known as SEER2. This raises efficiency minimums, and all air conditioning systems have new rating systems. Because many air conditioners can no longer be sold and installed after January 1, 2023, and manufacturers need to make changes to meet these new requirements, the cost of most HVAC systems - and air conditioners and heat pumps - is rising approximately 15% to 20%.

The national average range for installing a cooling appliance in your home is between $2,300 and $10,800, with most homeowners spending $7,575 to install a 3.5-ton 16 SEER/15.3 SEER2 central air conditioning unit in a home with existing ducts. This project’s low cost is $575 for an 8,000 BTU window unit professionally installed. The high cost is $20,400 for an installed 5-ton 18 SEER/17.2 SEER2 central AC unit with new ducts and two zones.

Average Cost of Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning Installation Costs
National average cost$7,575
Average range$2,300-$10,800​

Air Conditioning Cost by Project Range

8,000 BTU window unit, installed
Average Cost
3.5-ton 16 SEER/15.3 SEER2 central AC unit, installed
5-ton 18 SEER/17.2 SEER2 central AC unit with new ducts and 2 zones, installed

Cost of Air Conditioning per Square Foot

You can cool your home’s air in many ways, most of which are sized to the square feet you plan on cooling. The bigger your home, the larger the system must be.

Size is only one component of your project’s cost, however. The system type, insulation, zone or climate, and efficiency preferences affect your costs. You can get a rough estimate of how much it costs to cool your home per square foot. Depending on the system, you will likely pay $2.90 to $7.20 a sq.ft. for your installed air conditioning system. New ducts, different zones, and higher energy ratings increase the project cost. Existing ducts, lower energy ratings, and single-zone systems cost less.

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New AC Unit Cost by Type

There are many ways to cool the air in your home. These include traditional air conditioning and other methods, such as geothermal heat pumps, mini splits, and evaporative coolers. Each has different costs and varying results. Some units may work better in your home than others. For example, you want a swamp cooler in dry climates, while traditional air conditioning provides the best results in humid climates. However, each type can also break into different categories, depending on whether they cool one room or several or if they are designed to cool your entire home. While these costs are for the units, most require installation. This can make your total cost comparison for portable AC vs window AC slightly different. Below are the average costs for the different cooling methods you may want in your home.

Cost of a window, swamp cooler, portable, ductless, geothermal, central air, variable capacity, and package AC unit

Cost of a window, swamp cooler, portable, ductless, geothermal, central air, variable capacity, and package AC unit

TypeCosts (Unit Only)
Window AC$70 - $840
Swamp Cooler$200 - $5,000
Portable$250 - $1,800
Ductless$975 - $5,400
Geothermal AC$3,450 - $9,000
Central Air$3,800 - $7,700
Variable Capacity$4,100 - $10,800
Package$9,200 - $10,800

Window AC Unit Cost

Window AC units average $70 to $840. Window units can be put in DIY, or you can have them professionally mounted. The average cost for professional mounting is $50 to $150. Window units come in all sizes and cool rooms from 100 to 1,000 sq.ft. Most are designed to fit a sash-hung window, but some models fit casement and other styles. Window units for non-standard-sized windows cost more than those for a single or double-hung window.

Swamp Cooler Cost

The average cost of an evaporative cooler or swamp cooler is $200 to $5,000. This system works the opposite of an air conditioner. An air conditioner removes water from the air as it condenses and cools it. A swamp cooler adds water to the air to cool it, so it is a better choice in dry climates like Arizona. Swamp coolers need open windows. They also do not cool the air as effectively as air conditioners but can make the air more comfortable in hot and dry climates. Depending on the size, they can cool between 500 and 3,000 sq.ft. and can be used for whole-house installations.

Portable Air Conditioner Price

The cost of a portable air conditioner is between $250 and $1,800. These units do not have installation costs. They are large units, typically on wheels, and move around your home as needed. Some require window access or another opening to work correctly, while others do not. Like all air conditioners, they come in many sizes that cool various room sizes. Like most window units, they cool between 100 and 1,000 sq.ft., depending on the size.

Ductless AC Cost

Ductless air conditioners, or mini-split air conditioners, range from $975 to $5,400. Ductless AC units are a good choice for retrofitting homes with boilers or other forms of non-ducted heating. They are also a good choice for additions. They are a split system with the condenser outside and the air handler inside. You can have several air handlers for one condenser, allowing you to cool several rooms. You can also install different zones to make the system more efficient. Depending on how many zones and types you install, they can cool between 500 and 3,000 sq.ft.

Something that is less commonly known about ductless mini-splits (especially when they’re being referred to as ductless ACs) is that they both heat and cool. They are extremely efficient and currently offered in efficiency ratings up to 33 SEER in certain brands. You can also turn them off spaces where you aren’t currently using them, saving even more on energy bills.

Ryan Osterkamp, HVAC expert
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Geothermal Air Conditioning Cost

Geothermal heat pumps cost $3,450 to $9,000. Geothermal heat pumps are not air conditioners, but they can cool the air. In cold weather, they take heat from the ground and move it to your home. In hot weather, they take the hot air out of your home and move it into the earth. This is a very efficient method of heating and cooling and works best in cold climates. Once installed, it has much lower lifetime costs than other HVAC systems. While the unit is often less costly than other whole-house systems, installation makes up more than 65% of the total costs, so these units are much more expensive once installed. They are designed to cool the entire house and can easily cool 1,000 to 3,000 sq.ft. or more.

Central Air Conditioner Cost

Central air conditioners cost $3,800 to $7,700 for units of 3 to 3.5 tons. Units of this size are the most common and cool homes of 2,000 to 2,500 sq.ft. If you also use a forced hot air furnace, these are sometimes referred to as split HVAC systems. Central air conditioning uses ducts to deliver cooled air to every room. There is just one unit with the condenser and air handler. It is usually installed outside, but it can be installed in an attic in rare cases. It is installed indoors if you have a furnace so that both systems use the same ducts.

Variable Capacity Air Conditioner Cost

A variable capacity air conditioner ranges from $4,100 to $10,800 for units of 3 to 3.5 tons. They cool between 2,000 and 2,500 sq.ft. This is a central air conditioner. It uses ducts and is usually installed in a split system. This is a very efficient air conditioner. Most air conditioners have two stages. By upgrading to a variable capacity, the unit lasts longer and uses less energy. They cost 20% to 30% more than typical central air conditioning systems of the same size.

HVAC Package Unit Cost

A package unit costs between $9,200 and $10,800. A package unit contains the AC and furnace in one piece. It is smaller than a split system and is typically installed outdoors. This is not the most efficient system and is best used in small homes of up to 1,200 sq.ft. and moderate climates. While it can be less expensive than installing a separate furnace and air conditioners, it can cost more long-term because the entire unit must be replaced if one section breaks. These units most frequently use gas, and it can be difficult to find models that use other fuels.

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Cost of a New Air Conditioner by Brand

The air conditioner type, unit size, and SEER are only some of the factors impacting the final price. The unit brand or manufacturer also plays a role. Some brands, such as Payne and Armstrong, make more affordable basic units and units with higher SEER and variable speeds. This can make Payne air conditioner prices and Armstrong air conditioner prices more competitive. Other brands may be favored by installers. Goodman is one example, meaning Goodman AC prices can be impacted by the installer you purchase them from. Some brands, such as Carrier and Bryant or Lennox and Goodman, are made by the same companies. This can mean that parts may be easier to get and can be interchangeable. It can also mean that Lennox air conditioner prices may be driven higher when other units in their line are in demand. Most companies have a high-end line, such as Lennox, while also having an affordable line, such as Goodman, with the high-end line offering quieter service or variable speeds that are not available for the lower end.

Other good brands include American Standard and York, which produce full ranges of products beginning at mid-range quality. Consider SpacePak if you are solely interested in mini-split installations. However, SpacePak air conditioning systems costs can be deceiving because their installation makes up a big part of the cost and drives the system higher. Below are the average costs for the units from some of the most popular companies.

Cosy of a Payne, Armstrong, SpacePak, Goodman, Bryant, Lennox, Carrier, York, and American Standard AC unit

Cosy of a Payne, Armstrong, SpacePak, Goodman, Bryant, Lennox, Carrier, York, and American Standard AC unit

BrandCosts (Unit Only)
Payne$1,250 - $4,800
Armstrong$1,600 - $6,000
SpacePak$3,000 - $10,000
Goodman$3,800 - $6,650
Bryant$4,000 - $7,000
Lennox$4,000 - $7,150
Carrier$4,000 - $7,700
York$4,000 - $9,000
American Standard$4,400 - $7,000

New AC System Installation Cost by Capacity

Central air conditioners are not sold by the BTU but by the ton. A ton is the amount of cooling power produced by a ton of ice. Central air conditioning units are sold by the ton, starting at 1.5 tons, which is required to cool homes between 600 and 1,000 sq.ft. The cost per ton increases because the unit size must also increase. This means the cost of a 3-ton AC unit installed is higher than the average cost of 2-ton AC unit installed. The most common size is typically around 3 tons, which cools a home of 2,000 sq.ft. However, 2.5 tons and 3.5 tons are also fairly common, cooling between 1,600 and 2,500 sq.ft. Units of 5 tons and 10 tons are most commonly found in commercial settings because they are oversized for the average home. If you have a small home, cottage, or townhouse, a 1.5 or 2-ton unit may be a good fit, which can cool up to 1,300 sq.ft. Below are the average costs for units of the various sizes installed.

Cost to install a 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, and 10-ton AC unit

Cost to install a 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, and 10-ton AC unit

TonCosts per Unit (Installed)
1.5 Tons$3,650 - $6,250
2 Tons$4,250 - $7,500
2.5 Tons$4,500 - $8,000
3 Tons$5,000 - $9,150
3.5 Tons$5,450 - $9,700
4 Tons$6,950 - $11,600
5 Tons$7,800 - $14,000
10 Tons$13,800 - $21,600

Air Conditioner Price by Energy-Efficiency

You can save money on energy costs with an energy-efficient air conditioning unit. Consider EER and SEER ratings to see which units provide the most efficiency. According to Energy Star, EER stands for “energy efficiency ratio” and measures the unit’s efficiency when the outdoor temperature is 95º Fahrenheit. SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency rating” and measures the unit’s efficiency over a season. Both measurements are good indicators of energy efficiency. Products with the Energy Star label have good scores in both areas. If you see a product with a light blue “Energy Star” marking, you know that unit is a good choice from an efficiency perspective. In 2023, the industry is switching to a more-accurate new testing method to calculate efficiency. It is known as SEER2, and the new numbers will be 4.5% lower than the old numbers. So, while your new unit may be more efficient than the old, it may look like it has a lower efficiency rating. This is not necessarily the case, but the new system may be confusing. For this reason, most manufacturers list SEER and SEER2 on their labels so that you can compare them.

Standard air conditioners and heat pumps (geothermal or air, including ductless and mini splits) use SEER and now SEER2 ratings. Your minimum SEER/SEER2 depends on your climate, with new minimums for all climates. Air conditioners typically stop at around 21 SEER for residential spaces, but heat pumps can reach a SEER of more than 42, and all are considered very efficient.

Below are the costs for central air conditioning units according to their SEER ratings. The more efficient the model, the higher the cost. A high SEER model can pay for itself more quickly than a lower SEER model if you live in a hot climate. Conversely, using a high SEER model in a climate that does not get high temperatures regularly means you pay more upfront and do not necessarily recoup the savings.

Efficency and cost per unit of  a SEER 14-15/13.4-14.3, 16-17/15.3-16.2, 18-19/17.2-18.1, 20-21/19.1-20, and 22-24 AC unit

Efficency and cost per unit of  a SEER 14-15/13.4-14.3, 16-17/15.3-16.2, 18-19/17.2-18.1, 20-21/19.1-20, and 22-24 AC unit

SEER / SEER 2EfficiencyCost (Unit Only)
14 - 15 / 13.4 - 14.3Standard$1,725 - $4,800
16 - 17 / 15.3 - 16.2High$2,875 - $6,600
18 - 19 / 17.2 - 18.1High$4,100 - $8,400
20 - 21 / 19.1 - 20Super-High$5,750 - $10,800
22 - 24Highest$6,800 - $15,000

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Air Conditioning Installation Cost

The cost of installing your air conditioning system varies by the system type. Some systems, such as window ACs and swamp coolers, can be installed DIY. Their installation costs are fairly low, even when you hire a professional, with hourly rates starting at $50 to $60 an hour. Other systems have much higher costs, such as geothermal units, which are extremely labor-intensive to install and have labor costs that make up more than 65% of their total costs. The cost to install an air conditioner varies depending on many factors beyond the type, with hourly costs ranging from $75 to $250. These include the location in your home, whether you need modifications, and how large or complex the unit is. Below are the average labor and costs to install different cooling systems.

Labor and total cost to install an AC by type: window, swamp cooler, portable, ductless, geothermal…

Labor and total cost to install an AC by type: window, swamp cooler, portable, ductless, geothermal…

TypeAverage Labor CostsTotal Average Costs
Window AC$50 - $150$120 - $990
Swamp Cooler$150 - $2,000$350 - $7,000
Mini-Split AC$300 - $3,000$1,275 - $8,400
Central AC$1,250 - $3,000$5,050 - $10,700
Variable Capacity$1,250 - $3,000$5,350 - $13,800
HVAC Package$2,000 - $5,000$11,200 - $15,800
Geothermal$7,000 - $22,000$10,450 - $31,000

Labor Cost to Install a Window Air Conditioner

The labor cost to install a window air conditioner is $50 to $150. Window air conditioners are fairly easy to install. Many homeowners choose to put them in and take them out each year. However, you can have it professionally installed if you want it permanently mounted or it is too heavy to lift. Most handymen do this installation. You can also sometimes have the store or company do the installation. Costs vary depending on the unit size and installation type.

Swamp Cooler Installation Cost

The cost of a swamp cooler installation averages $150 to $2,000. Swamp coolers are generally easy to install. Some smaller models can be installed by the homeowner. Larger models and whole-house models may need professional installation. The exact cost depends on the unit size and type. Several swamp coolers are available. Some can be mounted indoors, others on the roof. The placement has an impact on the final costs.

Mini-Split AC Installation Cost

The cost of a ductless or mini-split AC installation is between $300 and $3,000. The cost of installation varies depending on how many air handlers you have and the system’s placement. Mini-splits can be installed in walls, ceilings, and in many configurations. They can also cool one or several zones, depending on the air handler placement. The more zones you have, the higher the installation and final project costs. Single-zone installations cost the least.

Central AC Installation Cost

Central AC or a split-system installation ranges from $1,250 to $3,000 for labor. In a split system, the air conditioner and furnace are installed separately. They use the same ducts but do not interact. The air conditioning unit is usually installed outside on a pad. Its size, placement, and whether you need a new pad, coils, or ducts impact the installation’s final cost. The more components and the larger the system, the higher the installation costs.

Variable Capacity Air Conditioner Installation Cost

Installing a variable-capacity air conditioner costs $1,250 to $3,000 for labor. A variable-capacity air conditioner is a central air conditioner. It can adjust as needed rather than having a single or two-stage motor. This makes it more efficient than other models. While the unit costs more, it is installed like other central air conditioning units. That means it has the same labor costs as a less-efficient model.

HVAC Package Unit Installation Cost

The cost to install an HVAC package unit is between $2,000 and $5,000. This HVAC system packages a furnace and air conditioner in one cabinet. It can take up less space than two separate units, which makes it a good choice for smaller homes. The entire unit must be installed outdoors. It requires ducts to run like other central air systems. This system requires frequent maintenance and has higher installation fees.

Geothermal Air Conditioning Installation Cost

The labor cost of installing geothermal systems is between $7,000 and $22,000. Geothermal systems use the earth or water. Rather than cooling or heating the air, they move the heat between your home and the earth. In the summer, this means they take the heated air from your home and move it to the earth. This cools your home while using very little electricity. Because it is not as effective at cooling as true air conditioning, it is recommended for homes in northern or moderate climates.

Air Conditioner Installation Cost by Location

While central air is one of the most popular types of air conditioning, your costs can be different if you have a smaller area to cool. Condos, apartments, townhouses, and mobile homes may have different needs. In some cases, a window or portable unit might be your best or only option. In other cases, a ductless installation might be appropriate. For that reason, installing air conditioning in an area that is not a house has different costs than someone living in a traditional single-family home may pay. For example, apartments cannot make changes to walls or shared areas, so a person living in an apartment usually installs a window or portable unit, making apartment AC unit costs fairly low. People living in condos and townhouses may have the same issues but more autonomy of what you can do within your own space, so a ductless system may be a good choice, increasing your options. So, a condo air conditioning unit cost or one made for a townhouse can have the same low costs as apartments when using window units but with higher ranges because you may be able to install something more permanent.

Mobile homes can have a wide range of options, including full central air conditioning, ductless systems, and window or portable units. Garages are usually best cooled with their own dedicated ductless system if they are not connected to the home’s main air conditioning system. This system’s cost is mostly based on the garage size, but costs can still be fairly low because the garage is generally one zone. Below are the average costs to install air conditioning in different spaces.

Cost to install an AC in an apartment, condo, townhouse, garage, and mobile home

Cost to install an AC in an apartment, condo, townhouse, garage, and mobile home

LocationUnit Costs (Installed)
Apartment$120 - $1,000
Condo$120 - $8,400
Townhouse$120 - $8,400
Garage$1,275 - $6,000
Mobile Home$1,275 - $7,500

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Cost to Replace an AC Unit

The cost to replace an AC unit varies, but it is often close to the initial installation estimate, depending on the unit type. In an initial installation for central air, the coils, refrigerant lines, and cooling pad must be installed with the new unit. Many of these can be reused with the replacement AC, lowering costs slightly and offsetting the removal and disposal fees. Many installers roll these fees into their final estimate or haul it away for no cost, while others charge a separate line item fee of $150 to $250.

Costs can be higher if you also need to replace your ductwork, cooling pad, lines, or other equipment. Costs for the average central air replacement are between $5,500 and $10,000 for a 3-ton system. For a window unit, replacement costs are similar to a new unit, with disposal fees of up to $50. Portable units also have the same potential disposal fees. This makes replacement costs between $170 and $1,850.

The replacement cost for mini splits varies greatly, depending on where the unit is located and the unit type and air handler. If you cannot use a new air handler that is the same size and shape as your older unit, you could have higher costs related to fitting the new unit. This could include repairing the drywall, cutting a larger hole in the drywall, or running new tubes through the walls. This can mean higher labor costs, so the total cost range for replacing this system ranges from $2,000 to $11,000.

Air conditioning residential units installed

Cost to Add Air Conditioning to an Existing Furnace

If you have an existing furnace and ducts, it is relatively easy to add air conditioning. The air conditioning is not added to your furnace but installed separately in two parts. One part is installed outside, while the air handler is installed near your furnace. The AC uses the same ducts as your furnace, but they never interact. The average cost of installing a new air conditioning unit with ducts currently in place is between $5,050 and $10,700 for a system between 3 and 3.5 tons. However, adding air conditioning to an existing furnace system may require modifications. You may need to upgrade your ducts or change the area and layout for the air handlers. You also need a new concrete pad poured outside for the condenser. These impact your final costs, depending on your system’s condition and layout.

AC Duct Installation Cost

Ducts are an important part of central air conditioning systems. You do not need ducts for other cooling systems. The ducts allow the cooled or heated air to travel to different parts of your home. There are many duct types and installation styles. Ducts cost between $10 and $35 a linear foot. Most duct installation costs and the cost to replace AC ductwork are between $1,900 and $6,000 for new construction or replacements. However, you have higher costs if you are retrofitting a home and adding ducts. This is because the ducts must be run through closets and other tight spaces that were not designed for them. The cost to install a new central air conditioning system with ducts is between $5,050 and $10,700 for replacement ducts and between $8,650 and $20,200 for retrofit installations.

Air Conditioning Size

Choosing the correct air conditioning unit makes a big difference in your home’s comfort. Cooling capacity is measured by British Thermal Units (BTUs), which measure energy. One BTU can heat or cool a pound of water by 1º Fahrenheit. The more square footage the space has, the more BTUs are required to keep that space heated or cooled. Energy Star recommends choosing a unit with the appropriate BTU capacity. Some people assume a higher BTU capacity is better, no matter the room size. But if a unit’s BTU capacity is too high, it can waste energy and leave too much humidity. Determine your ideal BTU capacity based on the square footage of the room(s) you want to cool. As a general rule, you need 20 BTUs per square foot.

Window air conditioners, portable air conditioners, and mini splits are sold by the BTU. Use your home size to determine the number of BTUs and find a system in that range. Central air conditioning does not use BTUs. It uses tons, which is a measurement of 12,000 BTUs per ton.

Square footage is not the only factor to consider. Keep several other things in mind when calculating your BTU needs. First, consider your climate. If you live in a state with high heat and humidity, you may require a more powerful unit for your square footage. A room with many windows may require more BTU capacity because of heat loss. Consider the height of your ceilings and whether you are cooling a multi-story space. Hot air rises, so these factors can make spaces difficult to cool. Energy Star recommends adding 10% more AC capacity for a sunny room, adding 600 BTU/h per person if more than two people occupy the space, and adding 4,000 BTU/h if installing the unit in a kitchen.

For the most precise measurements, your air conditioning contractor starts by making a manual J or load calculation to determine the capacity your space needs.

Square Feet to Be CooledBTUs Recommended
100 - 150 sq.ft.2,000 - 3,000
250 - 300 sq.ft.5,000 - 6,000
400 - 450 sq.ft.8,000 - 9,000
700 - 1,000 sq.ft.14,000 - 20,000
1,000 - 1,200 sq.ft.20,000 - 24,000
1,500 - 2,000 sq.ft.30,000 - 40,000
2,000 - 2,500 sq.ft.40,000 - 50,000

Small and modern living room with tv, cabinet, lamps, sofas and air conditioner installed

Air Conditioning Service Price

The cost to service your air conditioning varies greatly, depending on several factors. The first is the air conditioner type. Having a window unit serviced has different costs than having central air conditioning serviced. The second is how often you have the service performed. Yearly maintenance contracts cost less per visit than if you have someone out infrequently. Finally, the service type also impacts your cost. For example, charging the refrigerant costs more than cleaning dirty coils. The average service price is between $100 and $200, depending on the air conditioner type and necessary service. Costs can be higher if you need repair work.

Fan vs Air Conditioner

Fans and air conditioners are good options for staying cool on a hot day. They work in different ways, however. Fans move and circulate air, which helps evaporate the sweat on your body. Fans also lower the air temperature by several degrees, making the room feel more comfortable.

Air conditioners cool the air by condensing it to remove moisture and running it over refrigerated coils. This can lower the temperature of the air by several degrees. It also removes humidity from the air, making it more comfortable.

Of the two, air conditioners cost more to run. This is true regardless of the type. They are much more effective at lowering the room temperature, which often means this benefit outweighs the costs.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs


You can improve your air conditioner’s efficiency by ensuring your home has good insulation. A well-insulated home has less thermal transfer, meaning your AC unit does not need to work as hard to cool your home, and you could potentially use a smaller unit for better results. Adding insulation to a home averages $3,000 to $7,000, depending on the type and amount needed.

Energy Audit

Before you have new HVAC equipment installed, it is a good idea to have an energy audit done. Energy audits help determine where you might be losing energy and plan a way to improve efficiency. This could allow you to use a smaller air conditioner, lowering overall costs. Energy audits cost between $145 and $420 on average.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Licenses and permits. Make sure your HVAC technician has a license to install air conditioning units. Licenses are required because AC installation involves handling refrigerants. You also likely need permits to install a new AC system, even if your new system does not have ductwork. This is how the law makes sure your home is up to code, but this law varies by state, so check your state’s permit laws.
  • DIY. Do not install a central AC unit on your own. Only professionals should handle this project. You may install a window unit yourself because window unit installation does not require a professional license or the handling of refrigerants. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to seek professional installation, even for a window unit. This way, you ensure the project goes well.
  • Hidden circuit installation. Labor costs may rise in case of a hidden circuit installation in a finished environment. If your installer has to remove structural pieces to reach a circuit to power the AC, that process can add time to the labor process, increasing costs. If the installer is unequipped for this part of the job, they may hire a laborer or subcontractor.
  • Rebates and subsidies. Look for rebates and subsidies for energy-efficient models. These help save money. The government offers these options as incentives for people to choose energy-efficient options.
  • Warranty. Your AC unit’s warranty can protect you from high repair costs if something goes wrong with your unit. Many AC units come with a 10-year warranty, but this number varies, so look at the fine print before you commit.


  • How much does it cost to install different heating and cooling systems?

Separate heating and cooling systems cost up to $8,000 for the heating system and $10,000 for the cooling system. However, this varies depending on several factors, including the system type, home size, and condition.

  • What are the top factors that affect the cost of HVAC installation?

The amount of ductwork, the materials used, and your location all play a big part in the cost of HVAC installation. In addition, the energy efficiency of the unit, its size, and how much insulation your home has also play a role.

  • Can you negotiate your HVAC installation costs with contractors?

Yes, you can negotiate to try to get the best deal possible. You can also get estimates from multiple contractors to see which offers the best pricing.

  • What are the top brands of HVAC systems?

Carrier, Lennox, and Bryant are some of the top HVAC brands. However, there are many good, reputable brands on the market. Speak to your HVAC installer about what they may recommend for your home.

  • How do you find a local, reliable cooling and heating installer?

Start by using a search engine, and then look for reviews to narrow down your choices. You can also ask friends and neighbors who have used an HVAC service whether they recommend the contractor they used.

  • Can I add AC to my existing heating system?

You can add AC to any existing heating system. However, it is easiest and least expensive if you add central air to a forced air heating system. Even if you have another heating system, you can add a cooling system with or without ducts.

  • Which is better: ductless AC or central AC?

This depends on many factors. Central air deals with humidity by removing it from the air, so it can be a good choice if you live in a hot and humid climate. However, ductless systems are good for dealing with heat. They also make a great choice in cold climates because you can use them to add supplementary heat in the winter.

  • Is a ductless system worth it?

Ductless systems can be a great addition to homes without ducts. They can cool and heat your rooms, depending on the time of year and your needs. They can also be extremely efficient, meaning you can lower your energy bills when using them versus other systems.

  • Do mini splits qualify for tax credit?

Yes, when you install a new mini-split system in your home, you can qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $500. Speak to your accountant about what installation qualifies and what verification or proof you must provide.

Cost to install air conditioning varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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