How much does it cost to install window air conditioning?
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Window Air Conditioning Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
Having a window air conditioning unit keeps a single room in your home cool during the hotter months of the year. If you do not need air conditioning regularly or your home does not have central air, a window AC unit may be right for you. Window air conditioning units come in several sizes, which are directly tied to the size of the room you are cooling. They come with a wide number of features, creating a range of prices for purchase and installation.
The national average cost for installing window air conditioning is between $350 and $1,150, with most people paying around $546 for the installation of an 8,000 BTU window air conditioner for 340 sq.ft. At the low end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay around $277 to install a 5,000 BTU window air conditioner for 150 sq.ft. At the high end, you can pay up to $1,709 for the installation of an 18,000 BTU window air conditioner for 1,000 sq.ft.
Window AC Installation Cost
|Window Air Conditioning Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$546|
Window Air Conditioner Price by Size
The average cost of a window air conditioner ranges from $60 to $700, depending on its size. Your window air conditioner is sized to cool a specifically sized space. This is measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units, which is the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Both heating systems and air conditioners use BTUs for size. With heating systems, you must consider the size of the space and the climate. With window air conditioning units, consider the size of the area you are cooling and its ambient heat factor. The larger the space you are attempting to cool, the higher the number of BTUs you need.
For example, a bedroom with a lot of shade and a single occupant is easier to cool than a kitchen of the same size with several appliances and is used by the entire family. Therefore, to accurately calculate how many BTUs are needed to cool the room, start with the room’s size and recommended BTUs and add 10% to that number for each of the following factors relevant to that space: rooms located on the second floor and rooms that see direct sunlight during the day. In addition, if you have a room with more than two occupants, add 600 BTUs for each additional occupant that uses the space. Finally, kitchens need roughly 4,000 more BTUs than other spaces. For example, a sunny kitchen with four occupants needs approximately 7,000 more BTUs than a bedroom.
The following chart determines the base BTUs per square foot and the average unit cost for that size. Keep in mind that you want to be close to this number. Going over is better than going under. You do not want to go above 20% over your calculated figure because this means the unit is too large, turns on and off more frequently, costs more money, and wears out faster. A unit that is more than 10% smaller than the figure you calculate cannot adequately cool the space. Keep in mind window units are meant to cool only the room where they are located. So, if you want to cool multiple rooms, you need multiple units.
|Room Size||Base BTUs Needed||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|150 sq.ft.||5,000||$60 - $150|
|250 sq.ft.||6,000||$70 - $250|
|300 sq.ft.||7,000||$200 - $500|
|550 sq.ft.||12,000||$350 - $500|
|700 sq.ft.||14,000||$400 - $500|
|1,000 sq.ft.||18,000||$500 - $700|
Window AC Price by Ton
Window air conditioners range between $60 to $1,000, depending on their size, measured in BTUs or tons which refer to its cooling capacity. One ton can remove around 12,000 BTUs of heat each hour. Most commonly, units run 1.5 tons or less. The size you need depends mostly on the square footage of the space. For a 150 to 500 square foot room, a 0.5 to 1 ton window unit is sufficient. For larger spaces that are 1,000 square feet or more, a 1.5 ton unit is required. The chart below illustrates the cost of a window AC unit based on tons and BTUs.
|Window AC Tons||BTUs||Cost (Materials Only)|
|0.50||5,000 - 9,000||$60 - $500|
|1||10,000 - 14,000||$350 - $500|
|1.5||15,000 - 18,000||$500 - $700|
|2||19,000 - 24,000||$750 - $1,000|
Window AC Unit Cost by Type
The average cost for a window air conditioning unit ranges between $250 to $800, depending on the type. Window air conditioning units come in a few main types: Smart Air, Energy Star Rated, and Window Heat Pumps. Each type differs in its features, pros, cons, and costs. The table below highlights each type and its respective cost, followed by a subsection explaining each type.
|Window AC Type||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Smart||$250 - $500|
|Energy Star||$300 - $700|
|Window Heat Pump||$500 - $800|
Smart Window AC
Smart air conditioners hook up to your WiFi, allowing for remote temperature control from an app. They also hook up to your home automation system and work with Alexa and other devices. Smart air conditioners are a great option for many reasons. They are better at saving energy. They allow speed or temperature changes from anywhere in the home, and some smart units learn habits and adjust as needed. A few cons of smart window AC units are that they are accessible by people outside of your home and if your WIFI goes out, your unit may stop functioning. The average cost for a smart window AC unit is between $250 and $500.
Energy Star Window AC
An Energy Star rated AC unit is more efficient than other models, often with varying speeds and more options. They are a popular choice among homeowners for various reasons, including their variable-speed fans that better control room temperature. Energy Star rated models help save money on your energy bills. Rebate opportunities may be available to offset the cost. One of the main disadvantages of this type of unit is that they cost more than other models. The average cost for an energy star window AC unit is between $300 and $700.
Window AC Heat Pump
If you want the option to heat or cool a room in your home from one unit, get a window heat pump. These units extract heat or cold from the air outside and transfer it indoors. These units provide many benefits, including that they are quieter than traditional air conditioning units. One unit provides heating and cooling needs, and there is no need to remove the unit at the end of the season. Some cons of window AC heat pump units are they may require a special outlet that can increase installation costs, are not as efficient at heating the room as it is at cooling it and are more expensive than a standard window AC unit. The average cost for a window AC heat pump unit is between $500 to $800.
Window AC Price by Brand
The brand of the air conditioner is another huge factor affecting how much you will pay, ranging from $150 to $1,000. Some brands on the market use the same parts but have much higher or lower costs than other brands. Sometimes this can be due to name recognition or the lifespan of the unit. Other brands use higher quality parts, resulting in higher quality products and a higher cost. It is important to do your research before purchasing the perfect unit for your home. It is recommended to consult with a local HVAC professional to see what brand they recommend for your home. The chart below lists many of the common brands of window AC units and their respective cost range, followed by a subsection explaining each.
|Window AC Brand||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Hitachi||$150 - $650|
|Daikin||$200 - $700|
|Samsung||$200 - $700|
|LG||$250 - $1,000|
|Panasonic||$250 - $1,000|
Hitachi Window AC
The cost of a Hitachi central air conditioner unit is between $150 and $650. Hitachi is a good option when looking for an air conditioner that is efficient and budget-friendly. Their units are very effective when it comes to cooling. Their units have Twin Turbo Technology to increase the heat exchange at high temperatures and ensure optimum cooling and not overload the unit. Hitachi units are easy to install and maintain, allowing you to enjoy the fresh air while worrying less about the electricity bill.
Daikin Window AC
Daikin, founded back in 1924, prices itself as one of the leading manufacturers of air conditioners on the market. They specialize in all types of heating, cooling, and ventilation products. Their air conditioners are efficient and very quiet. Daikin delivers its products and system solutions to all people and regions around the world. The average cost for a Daikin window AC unit ranges between $200 and $700.
Samsung Window Air Conditioner
The cost of a Samsung window AC unit ranges from $200 to $700. Samsung considers budget and efficiency. They have many units available with the latest features but at reasonable starting prices. Samsung units are available nationwide and easy to find, with many local installers and service techs available.
LG Window AC
The cost of an LG window AC unit ranges from $250 to $1,000. LG is known for innovation and aesthetically appealing window AC units. They have more than 20 units for a great selection of size and feature options. LG has incorporated some mini-split technology into some of its window units, producing quiet, efficient, and comfortable cooling. LG is one of the first brands to use R32 in its units, a refrigerator with a lower global warming potential. Most LG models include multi-speed fans, airflow in many directions, timers, and remotes. LG does not make AC units for casing or sliding windows.
Panasonic Window AC
The cost of a Panasonic window AC unit is $250 to $1,000. Panasonic is one of the preferred brands by many technicians. Panasonic is a nationwide brand carried by many air conditioning installers, so you can easily find installers and service techs. They carry a range of different models, with different tonnage and ratings. They have good warranties and last for years.
Labor Cost to Install Window Air Conditioner
Regarding labor costs, most professionals charge between $50 to $150 for the project, depending on the difficulty level and whether the installation is permanent or not. For a standard installation of an 8,000 BTU window air conditioner for 340 sq.ft, expect to pay around $50 to $150 in labor and $200 to $1,000 in materials, for a total cost of between $350 and $1,150.
Many window air conditioning units can be installed by the homeowner. The units are equipped with kits that make the installation simple. However, if your window and air conditioning unit are not a good fit for one another, professional installation makes them more secure. The unit is installed by a handyman, an HVAC tech, or in some cases, by the store where you purchased it. In most installations, the unit is positioned in the open window. The kit is attached to either side of the unit, sliding outward to the window sill. It is either nailed into place or simply tightened by extending the sides. Then, the window is lowered down onto the top of the unit to hold it in place.
Most window air conditioning installations are designed to be temporary. They are put in at the start of the season and removed when the weather turns cold again. However, there are times when a permanent installation is the best solution. Low-profile units hang below the window, accessing only a small part of the window itself so that it does not block the light. These units need to be permanently installed in their setup. This type of installation takes longer and is more expensive than using a ready-made kit to hold the unit in place. Temporary installations using a kit cost between $50 and $75. Permanent installations for discrete units and vertical units cost closer to $100 to $150 to install.
How Much Does it Cost to Run a Window Air Conditioner?
The cost of running a window air conditioning unit averages between $41 to $103, depending on many variables, including the unit size, its SEER energy rating, and the cost of electricity in your area. You need to know how many AMPs your unit draws, which depends on its size and efficiency. You also need to know its wattage consumption. Many units plug into a 120-volt outlet, but larger units require a 240-volt outlet, which changes the wattage.
When you know your AMPs and your wattage, multiply these together to get your total wattage consumption. After this, convert it to kilowatts by dividing it by 1,000 to determine how many kilowatts per hour your AC consumes. Kilowatts per hour (kWh) = (Amps x Watts)/(1,000). Next, find the electricity rate in your area. This is listed on your electric bill. Multiply the cost per hour by the number of kilowatts per hour (kWh) that your AC consumes to get the cost of running your air conditioning unit for one hour. The table below shows the average costs of running a window unit each summer. Your cost may be much higher or lower, depending on your SEER rating, the electricity cost in your area, and how many hours each day and days a year you run the unit.
|AC Size||Yearly cost|
|5,000 BTUs||$41 - $50|
|6,000 BTUs||$47 - $60|
|8,000 BTUs||$62 - $72|
|10,000 BTUs||$78 - $90|
|12,000 BTUs||$93 - $103|
Window AC Maintenance
Most window units are fairly low maintenance, except for annual or biannual maintenance, for a cost of $65 to $150. The maintenance must be performed by a licensed AC company to maintain the unit’s warranty. During these maintenance visits, an HVAC technician inspects the unit, cleans or changes the filter, and cleans out the drains. The technician checks the coolant levels to make sure they are at a working level. A homeowner can follow some tips to maintain their AC unit. Some tips include regularly checking the filter for dirt and debris and removing any overgrowth and brush from the base of the exterior unit. It is recommended to change the filters every three months.
Portable AC vs Window AC
Window air conditioning units are not the only option for a single-room air conditioner. You also have the option of using a portable unit. Window air conditioning units cost less than portable ones, averaging between $350 and $1,150. They are not as large or likely to get in the way and can sometimes be left in the window all year-round. Some units may need to be removed and reinstalled seasonally, making them slightly more difficult to use. Window units come in many sizes and appearance options and are very efficient at cooling a room. Compared to portable units, they take up no floor space, reduce clutter, are smaller, and easier to put away for storage. On the downside, most window AC units are visible from the outside and need to be installed and taken back out if not designed for year-round use. Improper placement can cause them to fall from the window and damage them.
The cost of a portable air conditioner is between $300 and $1,500 . Of the two types, these units are easier to use because they do not require installation. They are typically on wheels and are easy to move around. Portable air conditioners are good for apartments and condos where window units are prohibited. Like all air conditioners, they come in many sizes that cool various room sizes. Along with the many benefits of portable units, there are a few downfalls. Portable units are large and bulky, requiring a significant amount of floor space and take up a lot of storage space when not in use. These units are heavy and difficult to move and maneuver into storage. Unlike window units, they are not as efficient at cooling a space.
|AC Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Portable Air Conditioner||$300 - $1,500|
|Window Air Conditioner||$350 - $1,150|
Window AC vs Wall AC
Another option for a room air conditioner is a wall-mounted AC unit. These are identical in most ways to a window unit, but they install directly into the wall rather than into the window. Compared to window AC units that need to be installed and then taken back out if not designed for year-round use, wall AC units are meant to be left in place year-round, even when not in use. Both types come in many sizes and appearance options, do not take up any floor space and are very efficient at cooling a room. Wall AC units and window AC units are around the same cost to purchase. Wall AC units, however, require more specialized installation, making them a little more expensive, which includes cutting an opening into the wall, securing the unit, and caulking the opening. The average cost to install a window AC unit is between $350 and $1,150, while a wall AC unit costs between $3,150 and $9,000.
|AC Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Window Air Conditioner||$350 - $1,050|
|Wall Air Conditioner||$3,150 - $9,000|
Window Unit vs Central Air Cost
If you live in an area with hot weather at any time during the year, you may want to invest in a central air conditioning unit. Central air uses a single unit to cool the entire house equally. However, if you only need to spot cool or cool specific rooms, consider a window unit. Window ACs cool a specific amount of space near the window. They can cool very large, open spaces, but they cannot cool multiple rooms from one unit. To cool an entire home, you need multiple units. In addition, most window units are not designed to stay in the window year-round. This means you have ongoing maintenance and costs in removing and replacing them. The average cost for a window AC unit is between $350 and $1,150. A central air conditioning unit costs between $5,000 and $12,000.
|Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Window Air Conditioner||$350 - $1,150|
|Central Air Conditioner||$5,000 - $12,000|
Window AC Repair Cost
The average cost to repair a window air conditioner ranges from $50 to $125. Repairs range from simple to difficult, from cheap to expensive. When pricing repair costs, the goal is to evaluate whether you’ll save more money fixing the unit over replacing it. Some common types of window air conditioner repairs include thermostat failure, recharging the unit, replacing small parts that have worn out, and cleaning the unit if dirt is causing it to freeze. Window air conditioning units are fairly inexpensive and may be more cost-effective to replace if more than one issue occurs with the unit or the motor dies. However, if you buy a high-efficiency unit with increased BTUs, the repair cost may be worth it.
Window AC Recharge Cost
If you choose to have your window unit professionally recharged, it costs between $100 and $200. If your air conditioner stops producing cold air, it needs new refrigerants. This is known as recharging the unit. Refrigerant recharge is usually done after a leak is repaired as the levels are low. In most cases, you should not need a recharge if the unit is working properly. If you frequently need to have the freon recharged, this indicates an underlying problem and may require replacing the unit or system. Most window units are recharged by the homeowner using a refrigerant kit and the necessary equipment for less than $100.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Window AC Thermostat
Making any additions or changes to your heating or cooling system is a good time to get a new thermostat. Thermostats set the temperature of your home and determine when your furnace or AC unit turns on and off. Many different thermostats are on the market, some programmable or manual with or without Wi-Fi or smart systems. The average cost to install a thermostat is between $150 and $400.
Window AC Accessories
Most window air conditioners come with a full set of accessories for installation. Some of these accessories include a cover ($25 to $60), skirt ($25 to $75), insulation ($10 to $25), side panels ($20 to $30), and brackets ($100 to $150). If these accessories become damaged and need replacing, they can be purchased separately. Each accessory serves a different purpose in keeping an air conditioner up and running efficiently.
If you do not have an outlet near your unit, you will need to have one installed for an average price between $120 and $200. Some air conditioning units require a 120-volt outlet, while others may require a 240-volt outlet. Many different types of outlets are found in homes, some of which are required for specific appliances. If the wrong type is used, it could lead to appliance failure or even a fire. The installation of an electrical outlet can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, which is why the installation is best left to a professional electrician.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- DIY. Almost all window units are DIY installations. Simply raise the window and remove the screen, set the unit on the sill, and extend the side kit to fit snuggly. Lower the window to hold it in place while you tighten the sides.
- Estimates. Always get at least 3 estimates from every HVAC contractor. This allows you to compare costs and services and make a more informed decision about who should do the work.
- Window types. Not all window units fit every window. Some are designed for casement windows and are too tall for double-hung, while others may be sill-style units that need a specific mounting. Always check to see what type of window is recommended for the unit you purchase.
- Blinds or shades. If you want to ensure privacy for your window, consider installing a blind or shade that lowers without blocking the air conditioning unit the way that curtains or drapes do.
- Regulations. While most homeowners can install any unit type, if you live in a condo or apartment or have a strict HOA, you may be limited in what types of units you are allowed to use. Always check with your management or the HOA board before investing.
- Replacement. In most cases, replacing a unit with one of the same size is identical to the cost of installing a new one. There are slight variations in cost, depending on the size and style of the unit. For example, replacing a small, temporary unit with a larger permanent unit increases the project size. However, replacing a unit with one of the same size and style has the same costs as installing a new one.
- Electrical requirements. The contractor's job is to inform the homeowner of any necessary upgrades on electrical circuits or building structures. This should be done during the initial inspection.
- Window AC enclosure. AC units are a big, bulky appliance that can be an eyesore, especially when sitting in the middle of a garden, patio, or other space. An enclosure unit can be used to hide your AC unit and add instant curb appeal. One of the most common ways homeowners hide their air conditioner is by enclosing the unit behind a fence, screen, or even latticework. An AC unit should never be boxed within a solid structure as it requires ventilation to function efficiently.
- Does Lowes install window air conditioners?
Yes, this is done per store, and each has its own costs.
- Does Home Depot install window AC units?
Yes, this is done per store, and each has its own costs.
- Are window AC units hard to install?
Window AC units are not hard to install. Most are installed in just a few minutes.
- How much does it cost to install an air conditioner in the wall?
The average cost to install a wall unit is around $500, including the unit.
- How much does it cost to install a window air conditioner?
The average cost of the unit and installation is around $546, with installation being $50 to $150 of that amount.
- Should a window air conditioner be tilted?
A window AC unit does not necessarily need to be tilted, but most should be supported from below if they are tilted.
- How much does it cost to run a window air conditioner?
This cost ranges depending on the unit size and the cost of electricity in your area. Most cost between $41 and $103 a year to run.
- Is it cheaper to run a window air conditioner or central air?
Window units only cool a single room, while central air cools the entire home. When installing a window unit in each room, it costs more to run than central air. However, cooling a single room with a window unit is less expensive than cooling the whole home with central air.
- Do window AC units use a lot of electricity?
This depends on the unit size and its SEER energy rating. Most people find they cost between $41 and $103 to run per year.
- How much does it cost to replace an air conditioner?
The average cost to replace an air conditioner is between $2,000 and $9,000.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.