Here's How Much an A/C Costs in Cincinnati

Technician working on an air conditioner or heat pump -Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling & Plumbing

Air conditioner cost is no spare change – the purchase of a new air conditioner plus installation in your Cincinnati home is a significant investment. To determine air conditioner cost, there are a lot of factors in play – what you pay for the total project is different than what it costs your neighbor due to these factors.

Air conditioners are not a one size fits all appliance – there are many different models on the market, and they all have something different to offer. Internet searches on air conditioner cost don’t provide you an accurate price expectation because the unit cost does not account for installation, and you don’t really know if that particular unit is right for your home!

The right way to determine your actual air conditioner cost is to contact us for an estimate. Our NATE-certified air conditioning installation technicians know what factors must be considered to not only determine the right AC unit for you, but what installation needs are required so the new air conditioner performs as expected.

In this blog, you won’t find a hard number for air conditioner cost. What you will find is a detailed discussion on how air conditioner cost is affected by specific considerations. We hope that this information guides you as you plan a rough budget for air conditioner replacement in the early stages. For an accurate air conditioner cost, please contact you so that our pros are able to visit and provide you a quote!

Average Air Conditioner Cost

As we said before, a quote from your HVAC contractor is the best way to determine the actual cost of air conditioning installation. Still, not all homeowners are ready to get involved with a contractor – perhaps you are in the early stages of planning an air conditioner replacement. In this instance, some information on the average air conditioner cost is greatly helpful.

Central air conditioner cost for the average home is about $4,630. To arrive at the average air conditioner cost, costs both higher and lower exist. Most homeowners report paying between $3,350 and $5,910 for air conditioner cost. Always keep in mind that the factors involved in these installations won’t necessarily be the same as yours – depending on your choices and needs in the areas below, you may pay more.

No homeowner in Cincinnati enters into an air conditioner replacement project lightly – air conditioner cost is significant! As you shop equipment, it’s helpful to know a baseline as well as the other factors that impact price. The information below helps you adjust your budget to fit your home’s needs.

How Capacity Affects Air Conditioner Cost

When you hear about a 3-ton air conditioner, this does not mean the unit itself weighs that much – tons is the measure of an air conditioner’s capacity, or ability to cool. For you history buffs, this term actually comes from the way buildings were cooled before modern air conditioning! They used ice, and each building needed a certain number of tons of ice to keep cool.

When you hear “tons” in reference to an air conditioner, it is a measure noting the amount of heat needed to melt a block of ice that weighs one ton. For air conditioning, one ton is equivalent to 12,000 BTUh. This measure is the amount of British Thermal Units (BTUs, a heat measure) that the air conditioner is capable of removing from a home over one hour.

To determine the right air conditioner capacity for a new unit, an HVAC technician first configures the home’s cooling load. Cooling load equals the total amount of heat that needs to be removed from the home. While square footage of the home is a factor, it’s not the only factor – you cannot accurately size an air conditioner just by house size alone.

How does capacity affect air conditioner cost? The general rule is the higher the unit’s capacity, the higher the air conditioner cost. Air conditioners for homes start at 1.5 tons and go as large as 5 tons. If your home’s cooling load warrants a 3-ton air conditioner, have a 3-ton air conditioner installed – don’t go bigger! A bigger air conditioner doesn’t deliver better cooling. Also, don’t go smaller in attempts to save on air conditioner cost. Oversized and undersized air conditioners are unable to efficiently cool homes, they consume more energy, and experience other operating problems that hinder performance.

How Energy Efficiency Affects Air Conditioner Cost

Energy efficiency of a unit is a major consideration that affects air conditioner cost. Energy efficiency in air conditioners is measured with a SEER number, which stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. For new air conditioner installations, the minimum SEER legally required in Ohio and Indiana is 13 for split system air conditioners (the systems with inside and outside components, not packaged AC units). For those of you in our Kentucky service area, the minimum SEER for new split system air conditioners is 14.

Air conditioner SEER goes up to 26 in today’s product market. You can pick a 13 SEER unit, or you can pick one that is 20 SEER – energy efficiency isn’t like capacity, going bigger does not hurt performance or home comfort. However, higher SEER does affect air conditioner cost. Generally, lower SEER units are cheaper while higher SEER units are more expensive.

So why would a Cincinnati homeowner want to pay more for a higher SEER air conditioner when a 13 or 14 SEER unit is all that is required? Well, the higher the SEER, the more efficient the air conditioner. The more efficient the air conditioner, the less energy it uses to cool. The less energy it uses to cool, the lower your energy bills.

How Features Affect Air Conditioner Cost

So, why are there so many different air conditioners on the market? Well, features are a big differentiator between all the available equipment options. Features also have an impact on air conditioner cost. The general price rule is the more basic a unit, the lower the air conditioner cost. Units loaded with features have a higher cost.

Why would you consider an air conditioner with more features if it costs more? These features have a great value, depending on what is most important to you. Air conditioner features improve user experience and boost the system’s energy efficiency.

Features that may impact the air conditioner cost you pay include:

  • Communication capabilities: Some AC manufacturers develop units that are equipped with the company’s communicating technology, which relays information such as system performance, system errors, and even maintenance reminders for users. The technology may also produce data accessible by homeowners to evaluate energy consumption at home.
  • Sound level: All air conditioners make some noise when they cycle, which is bothersome to certain homeowners and not an issue to others. Certain air conditioners incorporate specific compressor technology or use enhanced insulation to dampen component noise and lower the overall volume of operation.
  • Warranty: A warranty is an important thing to have when you invest in a new air conditioner, as it protects you for a certain period, should certain problems with your system occur. Some air conditioners are available with extended warranty periods, which increase air conditioner cost.

How Your Installation Affects Air Conditioner Cost

Capacity, energy efficiency, and features all affect the air conditioner cost of the unit. But, that’s just for the equipment – your total air conditioner cost includes installation as well. Never attempt to install an air conditioner yourself if you don’t have the specialized training to do so.

In many cases, air conditioner cost for installation involves the price for the contractor’s labor to put in the new unit. But, some installation projects need more work so the new air conditioner is able to properly and efficiently function. This additional work boosts the total air conditioner cost you pay.

Work that may be necessary for your air conditioner installation includes:

  • Duct sealing: Gaps and disconnections in your home’s duct system allow up to 30 percent of HVAC energy to escape in the average home. This means up to 30 percent of your heating and cooling never makes it to your living areas, which increases your utility costs and forces your new air conditioner to work harder to replace the loss. Have your HVAC contractor inspect your ducts and perform duct sealing or other needed repairs so your new air conditioner is able to run at its best.
  • Duct installation: If your home doesn’t have a duct system, which is a very real possibility in an older home without AC, you need ducts if you want to install a new forced air cooling system. The ducts allow cooled air to circulate into your living areas. If your ducts are older than 10 to 15 years of age, it may be time to replace them.

Get a Quote for Air Conditioner Cost from Thomas & Galbraith

At Thomas & Galbraith, our Cincinnati air conditioning team knows how to help you find the right cooling system for your needs. When you schedule an estimate, we visit your home, discuss your needs, and examine the house to determine cooling load and match you with the right equipment. Get a quote for air conditioner cost and know exactly what to expect – contact us today to schedule an estimate.

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