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cost of air conditioning installation

How Much Does It Cost to Install Air Conditioning?

Are you considering installing air conditioning in your home or workspace? Perhaps you have no cooling option, and you’re tired of relying on fans to try to make the space livable or workable. To make this decision, you want to have a good idea about how much it will cost to install air conditioning.

The potential cost can range greatly. The installation cost for residential air conditioning can range from free to approximately $15,000. This is installation alone, and doesn’t include the air conditioner itself, which could be several thousand dollars more. Commercial installations can be even more, although they’re impacted by the same factors.

Why is there such a wide range in costs to install air conditioning? The installation cost factors depend on the type of unit or units you are installing. Here’s a breakdown of some different cost variables.

Types of Air Conditioning Units

There are typically three types of air conditioning units people install in their homes.

There are more, but they are less common, so we’re focusing on the main ones.

Window Air Conditioning Units

window air conditioning unit - no installation costWindow air conditioning units are small and relatively inefficient. As the name implies, they generally sit in your window, with the hot side of the air conditioner (AKA the condenser) outside and the cool side of the air conditioner (AKA the evaporator) on the inside.

Because the two sides of a window air conditioner are so close to each other and only separated by the window or another thin material, they don’t work very efficiently. Much of the waste heat accumulates near the unit and can reenter your home. In addition, they have only a very small blower, so they can usually only cool the area right in front of the air conditioning, up to potentially cooling that entire room. These also have the disadvantage that they have to be located where the window is, which is often a less efficient placement for cooling.

Installation Cost Variables for Window Air Conditioning Units

The cost to install a window air conditioning unit could run from free to a few hundred dollars.

If you are buying a window air conditioning unit, you might not have to pay for installation. Some small units are designed to support themselves on your window ledge. Larger units might need to have a shelf built or be attached to the window frame. Although you might be able to do this installation yourself, failure to properly install a window air conditioning unit can lead to it falling, causing injury and/or damaging the unit.

Ductless Split Systems

In a ductless split system, the hot and cold sides of the air conditioner are separated by your wall. Ductless split system air conditioners are designed to cool your home room by room. This means that you have to buy separate air conditioning units and pay for installation for each.

These can potentially be the most efficient air conditioning system to run. Because they have separate hot and cold sides, separated by your wall and distance, the heating and cooling parts don’t interfere with each other. Plus, these units have separate thermostats, so you can pick how cool each room will be. Unused rooms can stay warm until you need them. In addition, people in your home get to choose their own desired level of cooling. This means that you’re not overcooling and everyone can stay comfortable.

Installation Cost Variables for Ductless Split Air Conditioning System

One of the biggest cost variables for installing a ductless system is how many units you want to install. Since each unit is really intended to cool just one room, the cost can multiply greatly depending on how many rooms you want to cool. However, each unit can cost $1-3,000 to install.

The cost will increase if your walls are hard to work with. Each room might be slightly different in terms of cost – some will be harder to reach or work in than others. In addition, you might need electrical upgrades to support the high-power demand of the air conditioning unit. That could mean multiple upgrades for all the different air conditioning units.

Central Air Conditioning

cost of installing central air conditioningCentral air conditioning is designed to be set up at one location in your house and spread the cool air through ducts to every room. The temperature is also typically controlled at a central location. Like other split systems, this benefits from having the hot and cold sides of the air conditioner separated. In addition, many people like having their entire home cooled to the same level.

The disadvantage is that these can be less efficient. Air can get heated as it travels through ducts before it reaches the rooms you want to cool. You are also likely cooling a lot of space that you’re not using.

Installation Cost Variables for Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning installation cost can vary widely, from about $3000 to $15,000 or more.

The cost of installing central air conditioning can be affected by many things. The biggest variable is whether you have ducts in your home or if your existing ducts are capable of handling the cool air. Many homes count on the fact that heat rises in designing duct systems. This means that the ducts might not be good for delivering cool air to upper levels. Then you will have to add new ducts to your home. Maybe you don’t currently have central heating in your home and therefore have no ducts. This can greatly magnify the cost of installation by $10,000 or more.

Most central air conditioners rely on the blower in your furnace to push the air through your home. However, if your furnace isn’t compatible with your air conditioner or can’t handle the load, you might need to replace it when you get your air conditioner. Finally, you might need electrical upgrades to support your new air conditioner. However, unlike with a ductless system, this is only necessary where the central unit is located.

Looking for a Cooling System with No Installation Required?

As you can see, installation can add greatly to the cost of air conditioning. This might make you look for a cooling solution that doesn’t require installation.

Portacool evaporative coolers might be the perfect choice for you. These cooling units do not need to be installed; you just wheel them where you want them to be. However, they are powerful cooling units, capable of cooling up to nearly 6,000 square feet!

If you are looking for a cooling solution with no installation required, visit a local or online retailer to buy a Portacool evaporative cooler today. Or you can request large orders using our contact form.