In total, you can expect an average air conditioner replacement to cost anywhere from $3,500 to $10,000 for a small home (generally one story, up to about 2,000 square feet), depending on what extra services are needed at the time of the replacement. Larger homes, usually multi-story and up to about 3,500 square feet, can expect to pay anywhere from $6,000 to as much as about $20,000, especially for zoned air conditioning systems. Custom homes that often require unique and specialized setups, can expect to pay a minimum of around $10,000 and can go as high as $35,000 to $50,000, depending on the scope of the features needed and how many added features are needed.
We at Airrific Air Conditioning and Heating know that after a while, air conditioners grow old, wear out, and need to be replaced. Generally, a well maintained air conditioner can be expected to last 10 to 15 years, and sometimes even more, but even the most diligently cared-for units will eventually give out, prompting you as a homeowner to need to make the substantial investment in replacing your unit.
When this time comes for you, the first question you probably have is how much this replacement is going to cost. We’ll be frank: replacing your air conditioner isn’t cheap, and thus it isn’t something you should take lightly. However, knowing about how much installing a new system in your home should cost you will help you get the best deal in terms of both a high-quality system and reliable, trustworthy installation and inspection service. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will affect how much an air conditioner replacement service will cost.
Type of Air Conditioner
The cost of your installation will depend on the type of air conditioner you’re installing. A whole-home air conditioner, often called a “central” air conditioner or heat pump will usually be the most expensive, but single-room systems such as a window or mini-split are also options.
How large or small your home is will adjust the cost of your air conditioner replacement. Smaller homes don’t need units that have as large of a capacity as bigger residences or some commercial installations, and therefore their cost will usually be lower.
Do you need a duct cleaning or duct replacement along with your new air conditioner? Are you looking to zone your air conditioner in order to give yourself better control in order to save energy? Both of these extra services will add to the cost of your air conditioning replacement. However, they could prove to be well-worth the investment when you consider how much you could save in terms of your energy costs in the long run.
Every air conditioner has an energy-efficiency rating known as a SEER rating that will tell you about how much electricity you can expect a unit to use. About a decade ago, the average SEER rating was roughly 10. Today, 14 is the minimum, and you can buy ultra-efficient units that have ratings up in the 20s. As you might expect, a more-efficient unit often means a higher price tag, but much like the added services, the extra cost might mean extra savings in the long run.
New Air Conditioner Costs
There are two major costs associated with a new air conditioner: the cost of your new unit, and the labor to install it. While you might be tempted to ask if you can save money by replacing your air conditioner on your own, we strongly advise against it. An air conditioner is a complex piece of equipment, requiring numerous precise connections in order to function properly, and even one or two small mistakes can damage or even destroy your brand new unit. Let a professional with years of experience and certification handle the installation for you.
However, Nathan Barber of QuoteWizard, a home insurance comparison tool says, “updating your air conditioner may help you save some money on your home insurance monthly insurance premiums as well. There have been many instances where an outdated air conditioner has caused a fire risk with outdated electrical systems. By updating your air conditioner system, you can be assured that the wiring and electrical setup is safe and secure. Let your home insurance company know that you updated your system and you may receive a kickback on your monthly home insurance rates because you are showing them you are proactively trying to reduce possible risks to your home.”
Here is a breakdown of how much a new air conditioner will cost:
- New A/C Unit: A unit itself is generally going to run you about $1,500 at the absolute minimum, with most hovering around $2,000 to $2,500. Some more-advanced air conditioning units, including multi-zone units, high-efficiency units, or those with variable speed and/or smart-home technology built in, will likely run up around the $3,000 mark, or possibly as high as $4,000 to $5,000. Larger units (those that can handle bigger spaces) may run in that range or even higher if you choose to opt for a more feature-loaded model.
- Labor: Labor is perhaps the most varying cost in your air conditioning replacement. If you’re just having your air conditioner replaced, labor can start at around $500. However, if you need ductwork done, insulation replaced, or new wiring installed, the cost can climb quickly. On average, most homeowners can expect to pay around $1,500 to $2,000 in labor, and perhaps more if the installation project is going to require a second technician to come to your home.
- Added costs: If you’re having ductwork replaced, you’ll have to pay for the new duct materials that are going to be installed in your home. Replacing air conditioning wiring, refrigerant lines, or insulation will also add to your materials cost. Finally, many new air conditioners won’t come pre-charged, or filled with refrigerant, which means you’ll need to purchase an initial charge.