The decision to have a new air conditioner installed is a big one. However, if your current system doesn't cool your home well enough, a new system might be a good idea. Experts recommend replacing an air conditioner that's more than eight years old and needs repairs. If you're in that position, keep reading for the costs associated with having a new system installed.
Air Conditioner Unit
The cost of the AC unit will represent a large chunk of the overall bill. The brand of the unit will determine part of that cost, but not significantly. A bigger factor is the SEER rating.
SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. To determine the ratio, manufacturers measure the unit's total cooling output in BTUs during a season and divide that number by the unit's total electric energy input. The higher the rating, the higher the energy efficiency. But the higher ratings also come with higher prices.
Size of the Home
Another measurement related to air conditioner units is the ton. This measurement doesn't indicate how much the unit weighs but rather the unit's cooling capacity. The larger cooling capacity the unit has, the more BTUs it produces, meaning the more space it can cool. Naturally, larger units cost more.
The size of your home determines how big of a unit you need. Generally speaking, one ton of cooling capacity equates to 400 square feet. However, several factors go into this determination, including the state of your home's building envelope and amount of insulation. Ask an HVAC pro for a size recommendation.
A central air conditioning unit needs a system of ductwork to deliver the cool air to all the rooms in your home. When HVAC technicians come to your home to size it, they should also examine your existing ductwork, if you have any. They'll make recommendations based on what they find.
If your home has existing and usable ductwork, you won't have that associated cost. However, if the ductwork isn't functional as-is, they may have to make repairs or add insulation, which adds to the cost of installing your new air conditioner. The installation of new ductwork and insulation also adds to the cost.
In addition to the above considerations, you may incur some other costs. One is related to materials. If the HVAC techs have to do any retrofitting for the unit, they'll charge you for needed materials. Moving your unit to a new location also impacts the installation cost.
Look into whether you need a permit from your local building department because you have to pay for that, too. Finally, a common additional cost is the removal and disposal of your old unit.
Talk to you local HVAC professionals to learn more about the AC installation process.