One of the first questions people ask is "How much does central AC cost?" This is a difficult question to answer, so we will do our best to explain some general guidelines on price.
Central AC comes with various benefits over smaller window units. In addition to being quieter and less visually intrusive, a central air system cools multiple rooms at once, and can even be more energy efficient. But be prepared to pay a price for these luxuries. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of central air hangs at a little more than $5,000, but can easily vary between $3,000 to $7,000 depending on numerous factors.
Existing Central Heating System
If your home is already equipped with aforced air heating system, expect to shave some money off the average cost; the ducts are already in place and probably require little alteration, and an existing furnace blower can push through the cool air. Homeowners might pay $3,500 to $4,000 to add central air to a 2,000-square-foot home that already has ducts and a blower in place.
Take caution though. Older ducts could be leaky, which would end up reducing the overall efficiency of your new system. Similarly, if your home is poorly insulated, the system will need to work harder to keep the spaces cool. Eventually this will catch up to you in the form of energy bills. Checking ducts and insulation and making repairs will add to the overall cost of this project, but some homeowners take a DIY approach here, depending on the severity and complexity of the air leaks.
A larger home is going to require a more powerful (and more expensive) system than a smaller home. An AC’s power is measured in BTU, with 12,000 BTU per hour being equal to 1 refrigeration ton. To cool 500 to 600 square feet of space, you’ll need roughly a ton of cooling, and in terms of your system’s power you should expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 per ton.
When it comes to central air conditioner types, you have two primary options. A packaged unit combines the condenser, compressor, and evaporator in one large unit. This unit either sits on a roof or at ground-level area outside near the house. On the other hand, a split-system central air conditioner places the condenser and compressor outdoors, while the evaporator is nestled indoors. Because the components are not all in one place, the installation process can be more expensive for a split-system.
Professional Installation Required
Unless you happen to be certified to work with refrigerant by the EPA, you’ll need the entire system professionally installed. Depending on the system you settle on, as well as the size of your house and state of your ducts, expect to pay over $2,000 for an installation process that will probably last several days. Compare quotes from different professional contractors in your area.
Energy incentive programs
Certain states offer energy incentive programs, which can reduce the costs of your new central air. A little research might reveal savings awaiting homeowners who decide on a system with a high SEER rating.