How Much is Air Conditioner Installation?
The moment the AC breaks inside of your South Florida home, you need to explore air conditioner repair costs. When the unit is old, outdated, or simply unable to get fixed, you will want a completely new unit installed. Understanding the cost of air conditioner installation will make it easy to move forward.
Explore the Costs
The costs for an air conditioner installation will vary dramatically based on the size of your home, whether you have an existing system, and what kind of system you want to update to. To make it easier for you to identify the costs, it’s best to break them up into a few categories.
A system evaluation is the first step involved with getting a new air conditioner installation. Whether you already have one or not, you have to have a contractor come out to evaluate your home.
The evaluation may be free or it may be a small cost which will, then, be applied to the installation.
During the evaluation, a Manual J Load calculation will be performed. This provides an in-depth look at your home, the total square footage, where windows are, what orientation your home faces, and more. It will also look at indoor and outdoor temperatures in your area and what kind of heat gains are anticipated.
The reason for such a detailed calculation is to recommend what size HVAC (heating ventilation air conditioning) unit you would need. It’s never a good idea to simply replace a unit with the same size. Building codes can change and one of the reasons why your current unit may be breaking all the time is because it’s undersized for your home.
Additionally, the evaluation will include an energy audit to identify where there may be air leaks or other issues. This will ensure that all of the problems you are experiencing are being properly addressed with the installation of a new air conditioning unit. When an energy audit is conducted, it has the potential to save you several hundred dollars over the course of the year in energy bills.
Ductwork and Design
The age of your home and existing air ducts will need to be considered. Older homes may have ducts that aren’t equipped to handle the airflow of today’s air conditioning units. If you have never had central air due to budgetary constraints or the presence of ductless mini-systems, there will also be the need to install ductwork and refrigeration lines.
There will be a few different factors to determine what the cost of ductwork is going to cost you:
- Linear feet of ductwork
- Material used (polyester, aluminum, or galvanized steel)
The average cost to replace ductwork is going to be around $1100.
Larger homes will require more linear feet of ductwork. For example, a 1000 square-foot home may only need 150 linear feet while a 3000 square-foot home would need 350 linear feet – and that difference can add up significantly.
Flexible polyester is going to be the cheapest material, but it will also have the shortest lifespan. Flexible aluminum is durable but not as energy efficient. Galvanized steel is considered the material of choice because of its high level of durability, though it is also the most expensive option.
When you have ductwork installed and you maintain it with periodic cleaning, they can last up to 25 years. If, after testing, your ductwork is old, it can be worth the investment because you may lose efficiency of up to 40%.
Beyond the actual installation of ductwork, there may be a charge for designing the ductwork. If you have unique architecture that has to be considered or you’re having more than one unit installed (such as one for upstairs and one for downstairs), you may need the HVAC company to get creative.
The HVAC Unit
There are a lot of different components to an HVAC unit. Most contractors will recommend two or three units that they feel will be a good fit for your space. They’ll be ranked as good, better, best so you can decide how much you want to spend.
There are a few things you’ll want to consider when shopping for a unit.
Tonnage: The tonnage is the size of your unit, which is chosen based on square footage as well as where your climate zone is. Due to the excessive heat in Florida, you will often want a slightly larger unit than you would if you lived in the Northeast.
SEER Rating: SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is commonly known as the efficiency rating. Most units have a minimum rating of 13 while the maximum is 25.
Brand: The brand can tell you about the overall reputation. Some of the top brands include Trane, Amana, Carrier, Lennox, and Rheem.
Features: Look for features that add to the efficiency and overall use, such as whole-house humidification, air cleaning capabilities, a programmable thermostat, and more.
Warranty: Many units have limited warranties in place that last five or 10 years. Even past the warranty, many units are designed to last for 20 or more years.
Maintenance Requirements: Find out about filter replacement frequency and other maintenance you need to perform.
In the end, it’s best to talk to the HVAC contractor once they make a recommendation. Find out why they are telling you to go with one unit over another. By asking questions, you can learn more about what to expect out of the unit. You may even be able to learn about more efficient systems.
Remember that a new AC unit installation is an investment. When your unit is capable of cooling your home down more efficiently, it will save on your energy bill each month. More efficient units can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the year.
When you receive a quote from an HVAC contractor, it should detail all of the different costs. In addition to any ductwork and the unit itself, there should be an installation cost.
Installation typically means parts and labor.
Some HVAC companies will charge a lot more for air conditioner installation than others. Most of this has to do with skill, though some can be as a result of greed, too. This is why it can be advantageous to make some effective comparisons between contractors before you begin working with them.
In most instances, it will take anywhere between four and eight hours to install an AC unit. There will typically be two technicians working together to make this happen. They will remove the old unit and installed the new one. If ducts are being installed at the same time, it may be a more time-consuming process.
The number of hours that it will take from start to finish will impact the total installation cost.
Tips to Reduce Air Conditioner Repair Costs
When you find your air conditioner not cooling enough, you have to work quickly to find a solution. Some costs are variable, so there are tips to help you get an AC repair Fort Lauderdale residents can afford.
Get a Maintenance Plan
A maintenance plan is a great way to make sure that your HVAC system is being serviced throughout the year – and to keep air conditioner installation at bay for as long as possible. A typical maintenance plan in South Florida will involve an HVAC technician coming to check out your system twice a year. They will check it out in the spring before you begin using it for the hottest summer months. Then, they will check it again in the fall in anticipation of some of the cooler months.
In addition to making sure that your HVAC system is being serviced, maintenance plan customers often get priority. You may even be able to get emergency service without paying overtime rates.
Manage Repair vs. Replacement Costs
There is a delicate balance between paying for an air conditioner repair versus getting a completely new system and air conditioner installation. If your air conditioner is not cooling the house below 80 on a regular basis and you have made a number of repairs, it may be better to pay for a full replacement. This way, you can get the latest and greatest system. As for costs, you can typically find a finance option that will fit within your budget.
Consider the cost of your unit. If it’s already 15+ years old, you’ll benefit significantly from a modern system.
Look for Rebates and Tax Credits
Your goal should be to spend as little as possible on a new HVAC system and air conditioner installation. Considering that approximately half of the energy you use in your home goes to heating and cooling, it pays to choose an energy efficient system. ENERGY STAR is a great way for you to get federal tax credits in order to make your investment more affordable.
You will also want to talk with your HVAC contractor about various rebates that may be available from different manufacturers and organizations. Some of these can save you $100 or more on your system.
Work with an HVAC Pro
Not all HVAC contractors are created equally. While you may find technicians who can handle an air conditioner repair near me, they may not have the necessary qualifications to provide you with comprehensive air conditioning repairs as well as unaffordable installation.
This is why it’s advantageous to do a little bit of research. By looking for a nationally recognized HVAC contractors, you can be sure that they have the necessary reputation.
There are a few things that you should look for:
- Better Business Bureau rating
- Professional standards (Facebook page, website, branded truck, etc.)
- Home assessment
It’s also a good idea to look at the level of customer service that they can offer. Are they open 24/7? Are they able to dispatch someone out to you quickly? These are the kinds of things you want to know so that you aren’t stuck with major AC problems throughout the year.
Once you’ve explored a few HVAC contractors in the area, you should feel confident with one so that you can begin to explore customized air conditioner repair costs.
Call to get an assessment set up. They should be able to schedule a contractor to come out and assess your HVAC system and conduct all of the necessary evaluations.
A Final Look
Air conditioner installation doesn’t have to cost a fortune. As long as you’re willing to do the research and work with a reputable company, you can get the cool air that you need while getting a price that you can deal with.
A good HVAC unit is a great investment, allowing you to save money on your electric bill. When it’s hot, you can stay comfortable as cold air swirls around you. On the chillier nights, you can turn on the heat knowing that it can take the edge off. Now, you simply need to find out what a custom cost will be for a unit in your home.