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Average Cost to Install Central Air Conditioning

The central AC system is not easy, nor cheap, to initiate because the installation is more complex than any other air conditioning system. There are many factors that contribute to determining the cost. In general, however, there is the average cost of installing a central air conditioning system to calculate.


1. Pre-Installation


The central AC system requires ductwork and special electrical wiring. If your house is already equipped with those, you can pretty much reduce the AC installation cost. Otherwise, pre-installation work would cost you around $3,000 to $9,000 to set your house up with the necessary ductwork and wiring.


2. Unit Price


The price of the AC unit, which covers most of the installation costs, may vary. It depends on specifications such as:


● Size – Bigger houses will require bigger AC units, which are more expensive to buy. You can’t opt for the undersized one because it will fail to cool your house, making it useless and wasteful. Most US houses are around 1,000 to 1,500-square-feet wide. Hence, they generally require 25,000 to 36,000 BTU. The AC unit on this size would cost around $1,500 to $3,500.


● Efficiency – Higher SEER ratings mean the units will run more efficiently. Although the unit price may be rather expensive, it could help you save more money on the operational cost. Therefore, it is a smart investment to get your central AC with SEER ratings as high as you can afford. The lowest SEER rating (13) usually costs around $1,500 to $3,000, while the highest SEER rating (24) would cost around $5,000 to $7,000. On average, people choose ratings between 15-16, which cost around $2,000 to $3,500.


● Brand Premium – brands like York and Carrier would cost more than the affordable ones like Heil or Rheem. But, if you choose the medium-level brands like Lennox or Goodman, those average 3-ton units would cost around $2,000 to $4,000.


3. Labor Cost


The central AC system is too difficult to DIY unless you have the skill for it. Most people would just leave it to professionals because the service includes permits, insurance, and warranty. The labor cost may vary, depending on job complexity. In general, the installation work will require you to pay anywhere between $400 to $800.


4. Installation Timing


HVAC contractors are mostly busy during the summer when people need their AC the most. Thus, their service fee tends to be higher around that time. If you get the installation project done during winter, the overall cost could be 20% cheaper.


Overall Cost


To sum it up, the average cost to install a central air conditioning system in US households is around $5,000 to $7,000. This number is based on the estimation that the house is about 1,600-square-feet and has no ductwork. The AC unit used as an example is the Lennox brand or something similar, with SEER ratings of 16.
It is rather reckless to get a central AC system installed without calculating the estimation cost first. You don’t want to be caught off guard when receiving the final bill. Besides, calculating the average cost of installing a central air system also helps you to see where you can scale back on your budget.

ECM Can Lower Average Cost of Installing Central Air


ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re having issues with your HVAC system, we’re on-call and ready to assist you with your air conditioning needs. So if you’re in need of an HVAC Contractor, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an air conditioning service call diagnostic! Our HVAC experts will diagnose any issues that may be occurring with your HVAC system and help to repair your AC issue on the spot.



Best of all, because ECM is the largest HVAC company in South Florida our local warehouse facility that is 69,000 SQFT houses over $1 million in inventory and fully stocks our 127 vehicles on the road, making us one of the very few AC service companies capable of repairing most issues right on the spot. That means no waiting and no downtime without air conditioning for you & your family in the blistering Florida heat!



Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC team online.

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