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Three Strategies For Central AC Cost Savings

Sep 19

On average, central air costs between $3,000 and $7,500. Pick the best contractor, install in the off-season, and use any applicable tax breaks or rebates to save money.

When all you have to keep you cool in the summer is a fan, it becomes hot quickly. All of your sweating issues may be resolved by central air conditioning, but the expense might be prohibitive.

The average price to install central air conditioning, including the unit, is between $3,000 and over $7,000, according to HomeAdvisor. However, the cost varies greatly based on your location, the kind of system you want, and the state of your current air ducts.

What factors affect the price to install central air conditioning?

The entire cost of installing central air conditioning is far more than the price of an air conditioner. It will cost money for a pre-installation inspection, possible air duct installation or modification, and work done by a licensed heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) specialist.

Before installation, an evaluation is carried out

According to a New York based HVAC company, the first step in appropriate installation is a Manual J load evaluation. Contractors use this calculation to determine the amount of heat your home absorbs throughout the day and the size of the air conditioner you'll need to keep it cool.

In a perfect world, a load estimate would be included in a home energy assessment. This inspection turns out air leaks and other problems that raise the cost of running an air conditioner. Despite the fact that an energy audit may be costly, your utility company could be prepared to provide reductions or refunds.

The design and ductwork

Your contractor should assess the supporting systems of the air conditioner, particularly the ductwork, after the Manual J load assessment to make sure they can accommodate central air.

The airflow of a modern air conditioner is often too great for the capacity of existing ducts. There may not be enough space in your home for an air conditioner coil, the right-sized vents, and a refrigerant line to be run outside.

The total cost of installing central air conditioning will almost certainly increase if any alterations or additions are required to fit the new system, but you will save money on energy expenditures and keep your rooms cool.

The building's air conditioning system

Once you've assessed the functionality and support systems of your house, it's time to choose an air conditioner. You may choose from the following alternatives depending on the size and architecture of your home:

  • HVAC systems that use a split system
  • One kind of central air conditioning system that contains everything you need is called a packaged system
  • Using heat pumps to generate heat

The size and kind of a central air conditioner affect its cost. Tons are used to quantify the cooling capacity of an air conditioner, and the majority of home units range from 1.5 to 5 tons. Apply the load calculation when choosing the size of your air conditioner since bigger isn't always better.

Never purchase an air conditioner based only on its SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Even if a high SEER air conditioner is more expensive, if it is put improperly or if your home has several leaks, Minnick claims that it will still waste energy. Before suggesting a unit, make sure your contractor assesses the functioning of the house.

Assembling and labor

According to Todd Washam, director of industry and external relations for the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, or ACCA, the size and location of an HVAC contractor affect the price of installing central air conditioning. However, don't be too focused on getting the lowest price.

"It won't be fast if it's nice and inexpensive." And if it's quick and cheap, it won't be great, says Washam.

According to the Energy Star website of the Environmental Protection Agency, over half of all HVAC systems have improper designs, which may reduce their efficiency by up to 30%. Choosing a trustworthy HVAC company is thus worth the effort and money spent.

To locate a certified HVAC contractor, adhere to these steps:

  • Examine online reviews and consult friends for guidance
  • The ACCA website offers a contractor search function (and use this handy checklist to guide the conversations)
  • At least three distinct businesses' estimations should be compared
  • Inquire often about their qualifications and standards

Three ideas to reduce the price of installing central air conditioning

1. Determine your cooling requirements.

Consider a ductless mini-split air conditioning system if you are an empty nester or only home at night. These systems come with an outside compressor and condenser as well as inside blower vents that can be mounted on almost any external wall.

Although ductless systems are not technically central air conditioning, Fuentes claims that they may be a cost-effective way to cool certain areas of a bigger home, such a TV room or a bedroom.

2. Ensure accurate timing.

HVAC contractors are constantly busy, says Washam, even in the hottest and coldest months. Personnel are less busy in the spring and fall off-seasons, so you can get a better deal or a speedier answer.

3. Look into tax credits and reimbursements for equipment.

Local governments, utilities, and manufacturers give financial incentives to encourage the use of high-efficiency air conditioners. You may identify opportunities to save money in your ZIP code by using the Energy Star rebate finder.