This article is not about the central AC. For information on mini-split ACs and window ACs, please visit our Best Mini Split AC Guide.
How much does it cost to have a central AC installed? This central AC price guide answers that question in detail. The extensive discussion includes 4 key factors:
The price is affected by every factor. The average central air conditioner cost to install costs $5,000, but that information isn’t enough. It could be a small, inefficient AC unit that costs $5,000 to install. Or it could be a larger, more expensive AC model that’s suitable for larger homes in North.
Factors That Affect AC Unit Pricing
Let’s take a look at the 4 most important factors in central air conditioner costs. This information will enable you to choose the best ac unit for you home.
Air conditioners of different brands may not offer the same quality. Here’s a list of the best companies, divided by their market share. We have grouped brands in parenthesis which share the same parent company and basically the same product range.
Budget brands are those with the lowest cost and longest durability (12-16 years): These include Payne (Aire-Flo), Airtemp, Goodman, Ameristar, and Airtemp.
Standard brands – (moderate cost, 15-18 year durability): Some examples are (Heil and Arcoaire), ComfortMaker, KeepRite, KeepRite, and Tempstar), and (Daikin, Amana, and Luxaire), (Broan, Westinghouse and Tappan, Frigidaire and Nordyne), Bosch
Premium brands – (highest price, 18-25 year durability): Lennox, American Standard and Trane, Carrier, Bryant and Day & Night are some examples.
Air conditioners manufactured by many sister brands can be identical in every other way except the name. The following air conditioner lists are from Heil and Tempstar.
It’s interesting that all the brands within this group are owned and controlled by United Technology Corporation. United Technology Corporation is the parent company to Bryant and Carrier, which falls under the premium category. This shows UTC’s desire to capture customers in different market segments. Lennox is doing the same thing with Aire-Flo, Ducane, and Aire-Flo.
All brands produce units in at least one of the following performance categories, regardless of their niche.
Basic performance: These central air conditioners are single-stage units with a SEER efficiency rating 13-15. They can cause noise and temperature fluctuations in your home. All brands sell “Basic” ACs.
This two-stage central AC conditioner has a SEER rating of 16-19. It offers better performance. They operate at low (about 65 percent capacity) and are more quiet than single-stage units. They can dehumidify your home more effectively. Brands make high-performance air conditioners.
These central air conditioners have variable capacities, which are sometimes called variable-speed or modulating by certain brands. These units use compressors that vary in modulation by very small degrees, between 25 percent-100 percent capacity. The units are quietest, most efficient and most adept at controlling humidity. They also produce the best temperatures. Variable capacity ACs have SEER ratings of up to 26. These units are made by premium brands and standard brands.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) is the acronym. SEER, which is similar to gas mileage ratings but for electricity, refers to how much cooling the unit produces. The unit’s efficiency is determined by its SEER.
The following article will help you choose the most efficient rating for your needs.
4. Size (Ton).
Every model of residential AC is available in different sizes. Some are priced at 18,000 Btu and others at 24,000 Btu. This indicates how much heat the units remove per hour. Most central air conditioners increase incrementally by between 6,000 and 12,000 Btu. The largest residential unit is 60,000 Btu.
Sizes are also referred to in the industry as “tons”, a term which dates back to when tons of ice were used to cool buildings. 12,000 Btu is the cooling capacity of an air conditioner to one ton.
2022 Central Air Conditioner Prices
(Updated Feb 5, 2022
Air conditioner prices are increasing due to several factors including higher manufacturing costs, tariffs, and the fact ACs today are more efficient than ever.
So, here is 2022 central air conditioner pricing for all brands and ACs. Prices range from 1.5 ton/18,000 to 5 tons/60,000 BTUs.
These 2022 air conditioner price quotes are what you need to know.
All prices are included in the table – it is a complete system.
We have separate columns to price them:
1). All you need is the equipment
2). Installed the whole system.
Many top brands such as Trane and Carrier sell their products in packages. The package includes both the equipment and installation. These products can only be obtained from HVAC contractors and local brand dealers.
We will itemize the equipment and installation so you can see where your money goes.
What is Central Air Conditioning?
A central air conditioner system can be more than the condensing units – it also includes the outdoor unit commonly referred to as an air conditioner.
When you sign a contract to purchase a new air conditioning unit, the contract should (at minimum) contain the following.
Condensing unit – outdoor unit
Indoor coil – Housed in or near the furnace/air handler
The refrigerant line is used to connect the indoor coil to the coil in condensing unit.
Fill the system with refrigerant if it isn’t already filled or if its refrigerant set is longer than usual.
Central AC Prices by Unit Size
This chart can help you reduce your costs if you know the size unit that you have or require.
The above estimates are only a rough guide to the home size. However, a professional technician can calculate the AC unit that you will need. This includes 10+ factors such as home size and style, construction materials and door/windows. Climate is also important.
Central AC Installation Cost and Extras
What does it cost for a central AC conditioner to be installed?
Central Air Conditioner Installation Costs for Labor: $1,400 to $3,500
These factors are all considered when determining the cost of your project.
Brand name – Bryant and Carrier were more expensive than Heil and Day & Night, even though the equipment was almost identical. All brands are owned and controlled by United Technologies Corporation (UTC).
Distance between the condensing device (outdoor unit), and the indoor coil
Dimensions of the coil and AC unit: Larger systems will require more refrigerant. It is also more expensive.
Whom you hire (general AC installor or brand-certified Installer)
Installation company size (smaller companies may have lower overhead rates and sometimes charge less).
AC installation cost will vary depending on where you live.
This price includes everything: removal of any old AC equipment, installation of new indoor coils, replacement and topping-off the system with refrigerant, if necessary.
Itemized AC Installation Costs
Here’s an overview of the cost of installing a new central air conditioner or replacing one that has been installed. Refrigerant line and refrigerant are all included in the above-mentioned costs.