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Central Air Conditioner Cost


How Much Does a Central Air Conditioner Cost?

 
average costMedium: $3,500-$4,000high costHigh: $7,000-$8,000
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Central air conditioning not only lowers temperatures throughout a house, it dehumidifies and filters the air, leaving it cleaner and more comfortable to breathe.

Typical costs:

  • Adding central air conditioning to an existing forced-air heating system in a 2,000-square-foot house averages $3,500-$4,000, and can be done by two technicians in 2-3 days, with little or no change to the existing ducting; if ducts must be added, the work time doubles, as does the cost to $7,000-$8,000 or more, according to ThisOldHouse.com[1] .
  • Estimates for a older, smaller house of 800-1,000 square feet with no existing duct work run $2,100-$6,000, or as high as $10,000 or more, depending on the type and quality of equipment installed, the amount of space available for installing ducts and vents, and the local economy.
Related articles: Ductwork, Room Air Conditioner, Ductless Air Conditioner, Ceiling Fan, Upgrading an Electrical Panel, Replacement Windows

What should be included:
  • The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute provides a brief explanation of how central air conditioning works[2] . The California Consumer Energy Center offers detailed information on central air systems[3] and specifics on ducts and vents[4] .
  • Most central air conditioning systems are a split system, with the heaviest, noisiest, heat-generating components installed outdoors, and an evaporator coil indoors. The evaporator is connected to a blower (often part of a furnace) which distributes the chilled air through the home's vents. ThisOldHouse.com[5] gives an overview. The other option is called a packaged central air conditioner; the condenser, compressor and evaporator are all in a cabinet which is installed on the roof or next to the house.
  • HVAC is a common industry term; it stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. A HVAC contractor does what's called a load calculation, taking into account the size and shape of the house, the amount of insulation, the local climate, the house's exposure to the sun, the occupants' habits and temperature choices, and other factors to determine what size unit is needed.
  • If an air conditioner is too large for the space, the unit will cycle off and on frequently, creating uncomfortable temperature swings and reducing its efficiency; too small and it won't be able cool the home adequately on hot days and could break down more often.
  • Residential central air conditioning is rated by a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER system. Since 2006, units sold in the US must have a SEER of at least 13.
  • Air conditioning systems marked with an Energy Star[6] meet strict US government energy-efficiency guidelines.
Additional costs:
  • The most common mistake is buying a bigger system than needed; it costs more and doesn't do the job as well as one that's the right size.
Discounts:
  • Some older homes can't accommodate ducts, or the work is extremely difficult and expensive; in those cases, consider ductless air conditioning, also called mini-split systems.
Shopping for a central air conditioner:
  • Major manufacturers include Carrier[7] and Trane[8]
  • The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy lists tips for selecting a new system[9] and choosing a contractor[10] .
  • Sears[11] sells central air conditioning equipment with installation service.
  • HVAC contractor referrals are available through Air Conditioning Contractors of America[12] and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association[13] . Or search for contractors with North American Technician Excellence certification[14] .
  • Get several estimates. Ask about training and experience. Check references, search for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[15] and make sure the contractor is properly bonded and insured, as well as licensed in your state[16] .
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments

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Replacement Central Air
Amount: $6,000.00 for the cake
Posted by: tcm777 in dallas, TX.Posted: February 27th, 2014 09:02AM
I live in dallas. replacing a 25 year old unit. 2200 SQ feet. Cant seem to get an estimate under 6K. Is this out of line? Seems really high. Old one works still but wanted more energy efficent and not to keep paying $$ every year to keep old one running. But still repairs are under 500 each year.
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condenser fan motor replacement
Amount: $800.00 for the cake
Posted by: a user in Phoenix, AZ.Posted: September 3rd, 2013 05:09PM
is $800 overpaying for a replacement and reinstall of a CFM for about a 2 ton unit?
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2.0/2.5 ton Goodman A/C Unit
Amount: $2,550.00 for the cake
Posted by: Shawnee1895 in Cincinnati, OH.Posted: June 4th, 2013 06:06AM
I received two estimates for Goodman A/C unit and both include compressor, coil and labor, with 1 year labor and 10 years on a/c unit. 2.0 ton at $2450 and 2.5 ton at $2550. These are registered/licensed A/c installers. Date: June 2013 (NOT 2012)
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Central 5 ton unit including Air Handler & Duct Modification
Amount: $4,600.00 for the cake
Posted by: Johnny D in Wesley Chapel, FL.Posted: October 3rd, 2012 06:10AM
Contractor: Home DepotBTUs:
They started out at 6500.00 and after much debate I had the price lowered to 4600.00 Total including taxes
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replaced HVAC
Amount: $9,300.00 for the cake
Posted by: Nice and chilly in Menifee, CA.Posted: October 2nd, 2012 01:10PM
Contractor: A-PlusBTUs: heating-80,000
Replaced whole system with 3.5 ton 15 seer XR15 and XL80 furnace
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Trane XL16i paired with Comfort cool XV80 Gas furnace
Amount: $8,300.00 for the cake
Posted by: Satisfied in Austin in Austin, TX.Posted: October 2nd, 2012 01:10PM
Contractor: BTUs: 4 Ton
I think the price was comparable between contractors and was very please with the HVAC company and their installation contractor. I will use them again when the second unit expires. I love the two stage system!
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Maryland Heating & Air LLC
Amount: $3,800.00 for the cake
Posted by: CarrieA in Baltimore, MD.Posted: August 25th, 2012 10:08AM
Contractor: Maryland Heating & AirBTUs: 30,000
Full Goodman system including Furnace and both coils (indoor and outdoor) digital thermostat, humidifier, new copper, electric and low voltage wiring, connected to existing ducts, equipment, parts, labor, and disposal of old unit. 2 guys, 6 hours, work is clean and professional and the technicians were so nice. Highly recommend this company.
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Need help with making a decision
Amount: $750.00 for the cake
Posted by: ugh in chattanooga, TN.Posted: August 15th, 2012 02:08PM
Contractor: Reliableh H and ABTUs:
Fan motor replaced which immediately blew 80 amp breaker outside. Replaced breaker, then 100 amp breaker inside started to trip. Reliable said to get an elecrician...electrician found nothing replaced 100amp as Relaible had suggested, then found that compressor leads were melted...I think the guy who exchanged the motor messed something up...What do you think....now advising new unit. Have 5 ton 96 carrier now.
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A/C quote
Amount: $10,000.00 for the cake
Posted by: a user in syosset, NY.Posted: July 17th, 2012 10:07AM
I received a quote for a Trane 4 ton split system ac seer 16 including new duct work to the registers.is this a reasonable price?
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Trane XB14 5-ton w/ new evaporator coil (July 2012)
Amount: $4,500.00 for the cake
Posted by: Dave in Htown in Houston, TX.Posted: July 7th, 2012 11:07AM
Contractor: BTUs: 60000
Just had a Trane XB14 5-ton AC unit (R410a) installed w/ a new evaporator coil. 10-year warranty on all equipment/parts.
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Advice sought before replacing Carrier unit
Amount: $6,150.00 for the cake
Posted by: Chris in Columbia in Columbia, SC.Posted: June 24th, 2012 04:06PM
Contractor: BTUs: 60,000
Quoted $6150 to replace 11-yr old Carrier packaged unit with gas pack and electric A/C with a 2.5 ton 14.5 SEER Carrier packaged unit R410a. Limited Extended warranty for 10 yrs parts & labor for additional $600. (Price includes current Carrier instant rebate). Does this seem reasonable? The 15 SEER Carrier unit was quoted at $7525. Not sure if the additional money would be worth the higher SEER. Any thoughts?
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3.5 Ton American Standard
Amount: $3,200.00 for the cake
Posted by: Esteban in Bolingbrook, IL.Posted: June 20th, 2012 12:06PM
Contractor: Home Comfort SystemsBTUs: 3.5 Ton
Seemed like a fair price. R410A, naturally. 13 SEER. Purchased 6/2012.
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Replace 3 ton central air / furnace
Amount: $13,393.00 for the cake
Posted by: Bren in cranford, NJ.Posted: June 4th, 2012 08:06AM
Contractor: American StandardBTUs: 80,000
Seeking to replace central air. Contractor bid seems real high for American Standard top of line 20 SEER
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i put in electric furnace and A-C for only
Amount: $2,700.00 for the cake
Posted by: im your man in Indianapolis, IN.Posted: May 27th, 2012 03:05AM
Contractor: mikes not trying to get richBTUs:
Indianapolis 3174887248. Im just as good as the Guy who wants double ..
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Quote given
Amount: $7,100.00 for the cake
Posted by: MEW in Fort Walton Beach, FL.Posted: May 8th, 2012 06:05PM
Contractor: One Hour Heating and Air ConditioningBTUs: 2 Ton
I am glad I decided to shop around. One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning of Niceville FL I was quoted a $7141 for a 15 seer Amana Air Conditioner; $5995 for a 14 seer Amana; 5295 for a 13 seer Amana, all with 10 year parts/labor warranty. I asked the salesman about trying to get the 15 seer for $6000 with 12 months no interest. He tried to call his manager once or twice to see if he could "get me a better deal" but when I said I'd still like to shop around, he snapped his phone shut, puffed his chest ever so slightly and said, "Well I'm not going to call and ask him if you're not willing to buy now." Looking online, I think I might even see if I can just get the compressor and burnt out cording on my 2003 Rheem repaired... your thoughts?
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Replacing 3.5 T in Tyler Tex
Amount: $3,800.00 for the cake
Posted by: R Lee M in Tyler, TX.Posted: March 16th, 2012 05:03PM
Contractor: BTUs: 3.5T
Packaged unit outside 1700 sg ft house. Quoted at $3,800 for Trane 3.5 T unit with 5 year warranty. rnrnDoes that sound right in East Texas ?
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Am I Paying Too Much?
Amount: $5,800.00 for the cake
Posted by: Single & Unsure in Humble, TX.Posted: February 7th, 2012 03:02AM
Contractor: 1 Hour A/C or MasterBTUs:
I am replacing a 12SEER 4-ton a/c unit and gas furnance with a 16 SEER Amana a/c unit and Amana 5 ton gas furnance for $5800 plus tax with Master Mechanical or 14SEER 4 ton a/c unit and gas furnance for $7450 plus tax at 1 hour.
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York 13 SEER 4 Ton AC and 95.5 % efficient Furnace
Amount: $8,000.00 for the cake
Posted by: Nandhu Sriram in Overland Park, KS.Posted: January 7th, 2012 11:01AM
I received a quote for 13 SEER YORK 4 ton AC and 95% AFUE furnace for 8100, is that too much ?
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All My Prices in Fort Myers Florida area.
Amount: $3,999.00 for the cake
Posted by: Joe Corbett in Fort Myers, FL.Posted: December 20th, 2011 09:12AM
Contractor: Corbett CoolingBTUs: 24,000 BTU-60,000 BTU
2ton Price $3999 16 SEER
2.5ton Price $4499 16 SEER
3ton Price $4999 16 SEER
3.5ton Price $5499 16 SEER
4ton Price $5999 16 SEER
5ton Price $6499 16 SEER
This offer includes all equipment, materials and labor for a complete air conditioning system. We install central air conditioner systems that include both inside and outside units, heater, digital thermostat, permit, hurricane tie down kit, emergency float switch, drain pan, connected to your copper, ducts, drain and electric. Includes taxes and permit fees.
Electric whip, plastic slab, circuit breakers included. (as needed).
Proper removal and recycling of your old equipment.
Some restrictions may apply.
239-303-0101
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Central Air 3 ton
Amount: $950.00 for the cake
Posted by: Bob, Heating in Chicago, IL.Posted: October 16th, 2011 09:10PM
Contractor: BTUs: 36000
3500-4000 what is this unit nade from, gold plated.
your pricing is absurd. A 16 seer 3 ton cost under $1900.00.
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Central AC + air cleaner
Amount: $3,800.00 for the cake
Posted by: cjmcgee in Atlanta, GA.Posted: August 24th, 2011 12:08PM
Contractor: Reliable AirBTUs:
Purchased a Train XR13 air unit
a new coil
an Aprilaire air cleaner
and had some duct work fixed
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TRANE 3T XR-15
Amount: $0.00 for the cake
Posted by: Shaunna in Carrollton, TX.Posted: July 13th, 2011 10:07PM
Contractor: ?BTUs:
replacing a 16 yr old Carrier 3T unit with TRANE XR-15 3T, with variable blower, furnace and coil, new metal supply horizontal plenum, new whip, contractor asking $5,900 plus tax, why will I be TAXED when it is HOME Improvement? can contractor do that?
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New Kenmore Air Conditioner and Furnace
Amount: $8,400.00 for the cake
Posted by: Kevin Mueller in Kannapils, NC.Posted: July 7th, 2011 08:07PM
Contractor: SearsBTUs: 24000
Replacing existing 1.5 ton A/C and Old Gas Furnace with new 2.0T 16 seer Kenmore A/C and 90% Eff Furnace. Is this price excessive?
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Price
Amount: $2,500.00 for the cake
Posted by: a user in Oxford, MI.Posted: July 7th, 2011 05:07PM
Contractor: BTUs: 3-ton
OMG...Hard to believe the prices paid. Lighting storm took ours out to dinner and stuck us with the bill. $2500. for a new one or $1600. to replace the condencer/compressor...We're going with new, the unit is 10 yrs.old. Homeowers paid most of the bill.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,194722,00.html
  2.  www.ahrinet.org/air+conditioning+system.aspx
  3.  www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/heating_cooling/heating_cooling.html
  4.  www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/heating_cooling/ducts.html
  5.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/print/0,17071,1073752,00.html
  6.  www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=CA
  7.  www.residential.carrier.com/
  8.  www.trane.com:80/residential/
  9.  www.aceee.org/consumer/cooling#new
  10.  www.aceee.org/consumer/how-choose-contractor
  11.  www.searshomeimprovements.com/?o=2&t=102
  12.  www.acca.org/consumer/find-a-contractor/
  13.  www.smacna.org/directory/memberbylocation/directory_location.cfm
  14.  www.hvacradvice.com/
  15.  search.bbb.org/
  16.  www.contractors-license.org/
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