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How Much Does a Central AC Unit Cost?


Posted On February 28, 2024

When it comes to staying cool during the scorching summer months, a central air conditioning unit is a popular choice for many homeowners. But before you invest in this cooling solution, it’s important to consider the various factors that can affect the cost of a central AC unit.

In this article, we’ll explore the key considerations you should keep in mind when purchasing an air conditioner and delve into the factors that can impact the overall cost.

8 Things to Consider When Buying an Air Conditioner

Let’s take a look at the key considerations you should keep in mind when purchasing an air conditioner. Each of these factors can have a significant impact on both the upfront and long-term costs of your cooling system.

  1. Room size and cooling capacity: Smaller rooms may only require a unit with lower cooling capacity, while larger spaces will need a more powerful and expensive unit to achieve optimal comfort.
  2. Energy efficiency ratings: Air conditioners with higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings tend to be more expensive upfront but can save you money in the long run by consuming less energy.
  3. Installation requirements: If your home doesn’t have existing ductwork, you may need to factor in the cost of installing air ducts, which can add to the overall expense. Additionally, if your space is limited, special modifications may be required, further increasing the installation costs.
  4. Noise levels and additional features: Quieter units with advanced features like programmable thermostats and air purifiers tend to come at a higher price point. However, these features can enhance your overall comfort and air quality.
  5. Maintenance requirements: Different units have varying maintenance requirements, and it’s important to consider the cost and frequency of maintenance when budgeting for your new system. 
  6. The warranty: Warranty coverage is an important factor to consider, as it can provide peace of mind and potentially save you money on repairs.
  7. Budget: While a more expensive unit may have better energy efficiency, it may stretch your budget initially. On the other hand, a cheaper unit might result in higher energy bills over time.
  8. Environmental considerations: Some air conditioners use refrigerants that are harmful to the ozone layer, while others use more environmentally friendly options. Opting for an eco-friendly refrigerant may come at a higher cost upfront but can contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.

5 Factors Affecting Central AC Unit Cost

Now that we’ve discussed the key considerations when purchasing an air conditioner, let’s delve into the specific factors that can impact the cost of a central AC unit. Understanding these factors will give you a clearer picture of what to expect when budgeting for your new cooling system.

1. Unit Price

The upfront cost of the central AC unit itself is one of the primary factors affecting the overall cost. Higher-quality units from reputable brands tend to come at a higher price point, but they often offer better energy efficiency and a longer lifespan.

2. Compressor Type

The type of compressor used in the central AC unit can influence its cost. Single-stage compressors are generally less expensive but may be less energy-efficient compared to two-stage or variable-speed compressors, which can result in long-term savings on energy bills.

3. Size

The size of the central AC unit, measured in tons, affects the cost. Larger units with higher cooling capacities will naturally be more expensive than smaller units. It’s crucial to choose the right size for your space to avoid unnecessary costs and ensure optimal cooling performance.

4. Brand

The brand of the central AC unit can have a significant impact on the cost. Well-known and reputable brands often come with a higher price tag due to their established reputation for quality and reliability. While opting for a reputable brand can provide peace of mind, it’s essential to consider your budget and specific needs.

5. Professional Labor & Installation

In addition to the cost of the unit itself, you’ll also need to factor in labor and installation costs. Professional installation ensures that your central AC unit is properly set up and maximizes its efficiency.

Looking to install a central air unit? Rogue Valley Heating & Air is ready to help. Give us a call to get an estimate for your central AC installation in Grants Pass, Medford, and all of Southern Oregon.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Air Conditioners

What is the average cost of a central air conditioner? The average cost of a central air conditioner can vary depending on various factors, including the size, energy efficiency rating, brand, and additional features. On average, you can expect to invest anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500 for a new central AC unit, including installation.

What factors can affect the price of a central air conditioner? Several factors can impact the price of a central air conditioner, including the size of the unit, energy efficiency ratings, brand reputation, installation requirements, and additional features like noise levels and programmable thermostats.

Are there any ongoing costs associated with a central AC unit? Yes, there are ongoing costs associated with a central AC unit. These include regular maintenance, filter replacements, and potential repairs. It’s important to factor in these costs when budgeting for your new air conditioner.

Can I install a central AC unit myself to save money? Installing a central AC unit is a complex task that requires professional expertise. It’s recommended to hire a licensed HVAC technician to ensure proper installation and maximize the efficiency of your cooling system.

Are there any energy-efficient incentives or rebates available for purchasing a central AC unit? Depending on your location and the specific unit you choose, there may be energy-efficient incentives or rebates available. It’s worth researching local utility programs and government initiatives to see if you qualify for any financial incentives for purchasing an energy-efficient central AC unit.

How long does a central AC unit typically last? The lifespan of a central AC unit can vary depending on various factors, including usage, maintenance, and the quality of the unit. On average, a well-maintained central AC unit can last between 12 to 15 years.

Can I finance the purchase of a central AC unit? Many HVAC companies offer financing options to help homeowners manage the upfront cost of a central AC unit. These financing plans allow you to spread out the cost over time, making it more affordable.

What should I look for in a warranty for a central AC unit? When considering the purchase of a central AC unit, it’s important to review the warranty coverage. Look for warranties that provide comprehensive coverage for both parts and labor. Additionally, pay attention to the duration of the warranty and any specific terms and conditions.

What are some energy-efficient features to consider when buying a central AC unit? When selecting a central AC unit, consider features like a high SEER rating, variable-speed compressors, and smart thermostats. These energy-efficient features can help reduce energy consumption and lower your utility bills.

What steps can I take to maintain my central AC unit and prolong its lifespan? Regular maintenance is key to prolonging the lifespan of your central AC unit. This includes cleaning or replacing filters, keeping the outdoor unit free from debris, scheduling professional tune-ups, and ensuring proper airflow throughout your home in Grants Pass or Medford.

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