Your home’s central air conditioning system is a critical component when it comes to cooling your home and being comfortable. Understanding how much a new central air conditioner costs, how it works, what to expect with the installation process, and how to hire a qualified contractor are all essential to getting the best return on your home investment.
How Much Does it Cost to Install Central Air?
Central air conditioner installation costs between $3,200 and $7,800 for replacement or for a new AC unit installation with the AC unit alone costing from $1,200 to $3000 based on your home’s specifications and requirements.
When considering a central air conditioner installation or repair there are some things you should know in order to estimate the cost of an HVAC installation project.
Size of your home
Square footage of rooms needing to be cooled
Central AC system brand
Energy efficient level (SEER)
Potential ductwork installation or replacement
Average local costs for hiring a contractor in your area
A central air conditioning unit installation connects a new AC unit to a home’s duct system to cool your home. It is often paired with a heating system such as a furnace to fully regulate your home’s cooling and heating efforts for the perfect temperature across the entire home.
A central air conditioning system comprises three main components referred to as a condenser, a compressor and an evaporator. The condenser along with the compressor resides on the exterior of your home, usually placed on a small, concrete slab where it is easily accessible. The evaporator, including the evaporator coil and air handler or air blower, is strategically located inside the home, usually in a closet dedicated to the unit. The HVAC evaporator might be located in the attic as well. In homes where a furnace is used, the evaporator will reside above it where it connects to the plenum or a duct junction for air distribution.
If you do not have a furnace or other heating source, your central air conditioning system may be equipped with an electrical resistance heating element to provide your home with warm air during the winter months. Since we are talking about a central air conditioner, this article will focus mainly on the cooling aspects of an HVAC system.
In either case, a central air conditioning system falls under the forced central air distribution category, meaning the same ductwork, motor, and blower are used for both heating and cooling your home. Once the unit is activated, hot air is drawn from the house into the return air vent and pulled across the evaporator coil to cool it. The fan and blower assembly provide the circulation to draw in and distribute the conditioned air through the ductwork to cool the house. You can read about the specifics of how air conditioners work here.
When To Plan AC Installation
There is not enough cooling
The cooling in air conditioners may be affected mostly because of dust accumulation in the air condenser, filters and coils which can be cleaned easily without any outside help. If it still isn’t cool enough, contacting an HVAC contractor to check any equipment failures would be a good option.
Mechanical problem with the unit
There can be other reasons for why your AC unit is not working which you might be unable to diagnose. These can be mechanical or technical issues with the unit that only a seasoned HVAC contractor can help with.
Time of year
Spring is the good time to get your new AC unit installed or repair an old unit as the cold weather subsides making way for the warmer days. The installation process would be easier for contractors as they would be working on both the outside and inside units of the air conditioner.
Hiring a Central Air Installation Contractor
Central air conditioners require a high degree of training, knowledge, and experience to properly install. Both of the main components—the evaporator and the condenser—are sealed units; therefore, special training and tools are required to service them.
Choosing the right central air conditioning contractor is as important as choosing the best HVAC system. Before hiring an HVAC contractor, verify that your contractor is licensed and insured. If hiring within the Modernize network, we vet all of our contractors so that you don’t have to.
The BBB (Better Business Bureau) is another great place to vet your contractor, as they will have any complaints, lawsuits, or concerns on file regarding the applicable HVAC contractor. Online reviews are also helpful in determining if your central AC contractor is a great choice. Click here for a full checklist on hiring an HVAC contractor and questions to ask before making your decision. Hiring a reliable local HVAC installer is an important part of your project.
How to Prepare for Your Central AC Unit Installation
There are certain projects a homeowner can do before they have their new central air conditioning unit installed to ensure you’re getting the best return on your investment. Use our step by step guide on exactly what you should expect with an HVAC installation from start to finish.
Central HVAC Maintenance
The benefits of annual preventive central air conditioner maintenance checkups on your central air-conditioning system far outweigh the costs of repair service. With regular preventive maintenance checkups, you can expect:
Peak performance from your central air conditioning system.
Increased energy efficiency as a finely tuned and maintained unit will consume less energy, reducing your energy costs.
Early warning of potential equipment failures in the future.
A peace of mind knowing your home’s central air conditioning system is in A1 condition and using energy efficiently.
You will also want to have your AC coils cleaned regularly, which can be done on your own.
Split Air Conditioning Systems: Split AC systems usually refer to a ductless air conditioner sometimes called a mini-split system. This is a dual central system that combines both an outside and inside AC unit to keep a comfortable temperature in your home.
Heat Pump Split AC Units: A ductless AC heat pump system is a type of split system AC unit that works well with hotter climates, it will pump heat out from the inside of your house to the outdoors. In cold climates, it will pump hot air into your home from outside to regulate temps. Heat pump installations are cheaper, but are best for areas without extremely cold winter climates.
AC Window Units: These are the most simple central air systems and can be installed in a regular window to cool a small area of a home.
Portable Air Conditioners: These air conditioning units are an evaporative HVAC system that can be moved around your home utilizing a split or hose system to make temperatures more comfortable.