How Much Does It Cost to Install an Air Conditioner?

by Team HomeServe
exterior air conditioning unit

Central Air Conditioner Installation Costs at a Glance

  • Average total cost: $3,000-$7,000
  • Average cost per square foot: $2.50-$6
  • 1.5-ton AC unit: $2,050-$3,330
  • 2-ton AC unit: $2,450-$3,800
  • 3-ton AC unit: $3,050-$4,500
  • 4-ton AC unit: $4,250-$5,800
  • 5-ton AC unit: $4,750-$7,300
  • Average labor cost: $450
  • New ductwork: $1,800-$3,300

Air conditioning is essential for your comfort during hotter weather, but many homeowners are daunted by the potential costs of installing or upgrading a central air conditioning system.

This May Also Interest You: What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

Knowing how much air conditioner installation costs can make planning this home improvement project more manageable.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a New Central AC Unit?

According to Fixr, the average national air conditioner installation cost is around $7,000. However, prices could range between $3,000 and $7,000, depending on your existing system and which AC unit you choose.

You can use average air conditioner installation prices per square foot to get a clearer idea of how much your project is likely to cost for your property. Generally, you should expect to pay between $2.50 and $6 per square foot, depending on whether you need new ducts installed and your AC model.

What Is the Average AC Unit Size?

What size air conditioner you need depends on several factors, including your room's square footage. Three-ton units are the most common size for residential properties, and the average cost for a 3-ton central air conditioner ranges between $3,050 and $4,500. However, a basic 3-ton model could cost as little as $2,000, while a premium model could set you back around $6,000.

How Much Do Other AC Sizes Cost?

Most home central air conditioners are sized between 1.5 tons and 5 tons. A 1.5-ton air conditioner is suitable for cooling a single-bedroom or small mobile home and should cost between $2,050 and $3,300 installed. A 2-ton central air conditioner is generally the correct size for a small home, costing between $2,450 and $3,800.

Toward the larger end of the scale, a 4-ton air conditioner is the correct size for many larger houses and costs between $4,250 and $5,800 installed. Large properties in warmer climates may require a 5-ton central air conditioner, for which you should expect to pay between $4,750 and $7,300 on average.

More Related Articles:

What Are the Labor Costs to Install an AC Unit?

As of 2019, the average American home measured about 2,300 square feet. On average, you should expect to pay around $450 in labor costs to install central air conditioning in a house measuring 2,000 square feet or larger. You may need to pay about $120 extra if you need to upgrade the electrical circuit. However, bear in mind that labor fees vary considerably depending on where you live and the complexity of the installation.

What Factors Affect Air Conditioner Installation Costs?

One of the primary factors affecting air conditioner installation costs is your chosen unit's seasonal energy-efficiency rating (SEER). Generally, the higher the SEER, the more it will cost to purchase and install your air conditioner. However, efficient air conditioners cost less to run, potentially making them a more cost-effective solution long-term.

Another major factor influencing the cost of installing an AC unit is whether your home has existing, usable ductwork. Installing central air conditioning with existing ductwork is significantly cheaper, which means that it's generally more affordable in a modern home. You should expect to pay between $1,800 and $3,300 extra in materials and labor costs if you need to install ductwork alongside your new AC.

You should also consider your local climate when estimating how much air conditioner installation costs. You'll generally need a more powerful unit if outside temperatures get very hot where you live, and larger units tend to cost more.

Although you can get a rough idea of what size air conditioner unit you need based on your home's square footage, other factors such as ceiling height and how much daylight each room gets can also make a difference. Therefore, the most accurate way to decide which air conditioner to buy is to arrange a home evaluation by an expert contractor to calculate your home's requirements.