Central Air Conditioners Prices

A central air conditioner is either a split-system or comes as an AC unit. A split-system central air conditioner contains a condenser and a compressor, located within an outdoor metal cabinet, while the evaporator is in an indoor panel.

How do central air conditioners circulate air?

Cool air is circulated through a system of supply and return ducts. Supply ducts and registers, like in floor or wall openings, release the cool air from the system to the entire house. While the cool air becomes warmer, it is then transmitted back to the return ducts and registers, circulating back as cool air. The process goes on continuously to produce cool air.

Dehumidifying is one thing air conditioners can help you with. However, in a very humid climate, it may not give you low humidity. Thus, it may cost you more when it comes to energy use. One common alternative to this is a dehumidifying heat pipe.

However, the big question here is, how much does a central air conditioner cost?

Prior to buying one, you should look for a model that is efficient or should be high in efficiency. A central air conditioner is rated, based or according to its SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, which indicates the relative amount of energy for specific cooling output. An older AC system will have a SEER rating of six or less.

If you need to purchase a new central air conditioner, consider one with a high SEER rating for greater savings. Also look for a label that indicates the ENERGY STAR®, which is among the new residential central air conditioner standards which went into effect January 1, 2015.

The usual amount homeowners pay for their central air conditioning unit is around $500 to $4,000. Additional costs then come after, depending on the ductwork and professional fees on the installation.

Speaking of additional costs, the things you have to remember are first, they can be expensive, and second, you have no choice since it is a complicated process and you need to have an expert to do this rather than  doing it yourself.

Installation professional fees

Since this is not a do-it-yourself project, you will need to seek help from a professional to do the job and these services are not offered for free. The person to handle the job must be licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because he or she will be handling harmful chemicals, known as refrigerants, needed to cool the air. There are two types of these licensed professionals that you can look for, either an air conditioning contractor or an assistant with the knowledge of wiring, ductwork and metal bracket mounting.

Keep in mind that along with the installation process, there could running expenses like costs for materials used in the installation like chemicals. Ask the contractor and check whether there are ways to lessen the expenses. Like what type of unit is less expensive, yet efficient, or is it possible to just use the existing ductworks?

To roughly give you an idea of the costs of central air conditioners, including ductwork and installation, prices may run as follows:

  • For a central AC with existing forced-air heating system

$3,500 to $4,000 done by two technicians in 2-3 days for a 2,000 square feet house. However, if it has an additional ducting, it could run around $7,000-$8,000 or more.

  • For an older and smaller house, measuring 800 to 1,000 square feet

$2,100 to $6,000, or it may go up to $10,000, but that still depends on the type and quality of equipment to be installed and amount of space that is available for the ducts and vents.


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