Central Air Conditioners; What Determines Cost?

american_air_conditionerThere are quite a number of cost factors you need to consider if you are planning on buying a central air conditioner. Among them are the central air conditioner’s cooling capacity (which has a very large influence on the price of the central air conditioning unit), the installation cost, and the cost of energy usage. And the only way to get a good picture of how much buying, installing, and operating a central air conditioning system will cost you is to discuss all those factors with qualified air-conditioning contractors.

Let’s take a look those three factors in more detail.


Whether or not you can readily install a central air conditioning system in your house should be on top of your considerations.

Can your house readily accept a central air conditioning system? Does it have a usable ductwork in place? If not, does it have a forced-air heating system that the air conditioner can piggyback on? If you answered no to all of these questions then be prepared to pay for high installation costs.

Retrofitting is not at all cheap. Actually, it is too expensive in most cases. The thing about retrofitting is that it involves a tremendous amount of work which includes gutting out your house. So, on top of the standard cost of installation, you also need to pay for extra working hours and extra materials for tearing down your walls, ceilings, and floors and putting your house back together. And no, unfortunately buying and installing a central air conditioner is not a do-it-yourself project.

Cooling Capacity

Before you actually go and shop around for central air conditioning units, you need to first take careful measurements (the square footage) of your house. The size or area of your house dictates to a large extent the cooling capacity of the air conditioner you need to buy.

Additionally, you should also take note of how much insulation you have installed, how many and how large the windows are in your house, how high is the ceiling and window shading, how your house is oriented in relation to the cardinal points (e.g., which room is facing which direction), the number and type of lighting fixture you have, the presence of heat emitting home appliances, the location of your house, and the local climate. Each of these factors can also have an influence on how much cooling capacity you are going to need.

Talk with the air conditioning contractor about all these and other things that can influence or contribute to the change in temperature inside your house. These things will allow the contractor to provide you with an air conditioning system that will perfectly suit your needs and situation which, in turn, will let you save on electric bills and maintenance costs over time.

Energy Consumption

Central air conditioners are generally more energy efficient than either portable or window air conditioners. But still can push your electricity bill through the roof, especially in hot climates.

There are actually two main things to look at here. One is the cooling capacity, which we have already talked about earlier. And the other is energy efficiency.

You can ask your contractor how much it will cost you if you will have your air conditioner running for an hour. From that you will be able to compute for its possible impact on your electricity bill.


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