Window Air Conditioning Cost

In this guide

Installation process and considerations
Modes
Power needs
Energy efficiency
Unit brands and prices
Labor and materials
Enhancements
Additional Considerations

How much does it cost to install window air conditioning?

Window air conditioning systems function similarly to central HVAC units, but they differ in that they are hung in windows. They are usually used for cooling the one room that they are installed in, not an entire home. Additionally, they are typically used only seasonally.

Several factors can influence the cost of installing a window A/C: labor needed, unit power, unit efficiency, and your room size. This guide assesses the average cost of installing a window air conditioning system.

Installation process and considerations

Installation of window A/Cs is a fairly simple process that begins with screwing mounting brackets onto the lower part of the window frame. Then, the A/C unit is placed onto the mounting brackets, and the window glass lowered until it touches the unit’s top. Gaps between the unit and window frame must then be filled with foam weather stripping.

There are some benefits and drawbacks to installing a window A/C in your home. The biggest ones are listed in the table below:

ProsCons

Affordable alternative to central A/C

Quick and easy installation

Suitable if you need cooling for one main room

Less efficient than central A/C

Prone to gaps in insulation

Can't cool more than one room

Modes

Window A/Cs usually have multiple modes of operation. Most will at least have cooling and fan-only modes, while some may also have a heating mode. Choosing a unit with an added heating mode can increase the price by 50%:

  • Cooling mode: this mode actually cools the air, and there are controls for the level of cooling you wish to achieve.
  • Fan-only mode: this creates airflow without cooling, since the A/C’s compressor isn’t active in this mode.
  • Heating mode: instead of cooling the air, the A/C switches to adding heat.

Power needs

An A/Cs cooling capacity is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). BTUs are traditional units of work equal to 1055.06 joules. Simply put, BTUs represent the amount of work needed to heat 1 lb. of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. The amount of BTUs your window air conditioner should have depends on the square footage of the room it’s installed in. Units with higher BTUs usually demand higher prices.

Adjustments: Rooms exposed to a lot of sunlight may need a BTU increase of 10%, while shaded rooms can get by with a 10% decrease. If there will usually be more than 2 people in the room, add 600 BTU per person.

Square Feet to be CooledBTUs RecommendedAverage Unit Price
100-1505,000$150
250-3007,000$200
400 - 45010,000$300
700-1,00018,000$500
1,000-1,20021,000$600
1,500-2,00030,000$830
2,000-2,50034,000$900+

Energy efficiency

Energy Efficiency Ratings (EERs) are assigned to most A/C units. They range from 8 to 11.5 - the higher the number, the higher the efficiency. Units with ratings of 10 or higher are best for lowering your energy consumption. Many new A/C models are being made that have high efficiency ratings and prices comparable to standard models.

Unit brands and prices

The average window air conditioning unit price ranges from $130 to $600. Specific prices vary depending on brand, power level, and efficiency. Common brands and their price ranges are as follows:

Labor and materials

HVAC technicians usually charge $50-$70 per hour, and the installation of a window A/C usually only takes less than 2 hours. The installation can also be completed by a handyman, who will likely charge a flat fee of $100. You can DIY window A/C installation to save money.

Basic materials needed include mounting brackets, a power drill, screws, and foam weather stripping. Foam weather stripping kits for window A/C installation can be bought for $5. Mounting bracket sets cost $30-$45. If there are large gaps between your unit’s sides and the edges of your window frame, you will need to add side panels ($10-$20).

Enhancement and improvement costs

Adding an outlet

An electrical outlet needs to be in reach of the window where you’re going to install your unit. If there are no electrical outlets near the window where your A/C will be mounted, you can have one installed for $200-$750. Be aware that different A/C models may use different plug designs. Compare the type of outlet you have to the type of plug on an A/C unit before purchasing it. You can check an A/C’s product packaging to ensure that your chosen unit and your outlet are compatible.

Adding a dedicated circuit

If you plan to use another appliance on the same circuit that your window A/C will be hooked up to, you may need to add a dedicated circuit to handle the high voltage levels. The average cost of this is $155-$180.

Window coverings

You can give your window privacy after installing the A/C by adding coverings like curtains ($30), shades ($50), or blinds ($45).

Additional considerations and costs

Window suitability

Check your window frame prior to installation to make sure it’s sturdy enough to bear the weight of the A/C. It will need repairs if it’s too weak. Window frame repair typically costs $170-$600. Keep in mind that not all window A/Cs fit all window types. You’ll need to check the measurements of your window and your A/C unit to ensure they fit together.

Energy efficiency

Putting your A/C in a shaded window will help it operate more efficiently. You won’t need as much power to cool the room - shaded rooms can get by with a 10% decrease in total BTU (rooms exposed to a lot of sunlight may need 10% more BTU). Windows that are most likely to be shaded are those that face north.

Mind how you use your other appliances to keep your A/C running efficiently. Operating dishwashers and other large appliances can generate a lot of heat in a room, meaning your A/C will have to work harder if they’re both on at the same time. We recommend running these other appliances during the cooler hours of the day.

Maintenance

You will need to do regular maintenance to keep your window A/C running smoothly and avoid costly repairs. Regularly check your unit to make sure it is clear of any obstructions. Don’t cover the vents with objects. You should clean the air filter monthly, gently washing it with soap and letting it dry before putting it back in your unit. Also wash the water pan. Check to make sure insects, nests, and other debris aren’t stuck in any part of the A/C. The condenser coils should also be cleaned at the beginning of every cooling season.

You can DIY your maintenance, or hire a professional. HVAC technicians usually charge $50-$70 per hour. Many HVAC companies offer maintenance visits for a flat fee of $70-$100. A handyman can also perform this basic maintenance ($60-90 per hour).

Permanent vs. temporary installation

Note that window A/Cs are typically meant to be installed only temporarily. They are intended to be removed and stored after the cooling season has ended.

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

Labor cost by city and zipcode

Compared to national average
Arlington, TX
+6%
Arvada, CO
-3%
Ashland, OR
-6%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Boerne, TX
+7%
Boston, MA
+40%
Brighton, CO
-10%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Cambridge, MA
+40%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Chula Vista, CA
+8%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Conyers, GA
+9%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Dublin, GA
-30%
Durham, NC
-1%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Mill, SC
-13%
Hartsdale, NY
+35%
Hoboken, NJ
+23%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Jersey City, NJ
+23%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lebanon, PA
-16%
Lewisville, TX
+17%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Middleburg, FL
-19%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Montclair, NJ
+31%
Nashua, NH
+33%
New York, NY
+77%
Norfolk, VA
-6%
North Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Norwalk, CT
+46%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Pasadena, CA
+15%

Labor cost in your zipcode

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Methodology and sources