How Much Does A Central Air Conditioner Cost?

A central air conditioning system is a system that distributes cool air throughout a structure. A split system air conditioner has both outdoor and indoor units. The outdoor unit creates and distributes the cool air. The indoor unit is a furnace that provides hot air. The two units work in tandem to control the temperature inside the structure. Central air conditioner prices depend on whether the structure needs duct work to be installed. Ducts are pipes that control the flow of air through a structure. The addition of ductwork will double the central air conditioner cost.

Central Air Conditioner Replacement Cost

New central air conditioner cost for an average home of 2000 square feet is between $3500 and $4000.  These central air conditioner prices are accurate if the ductwork does not need to be changed or replaced.

Replacing an air conditioning unit has several benefits for homeowners. New air conditioning units are attractive to home buyers, and can be the difference between whether a house sells or not. Newer units also tend to be more energy efficient. Air conditioners with an Energy Star rating qualify homeowners for certain income tax credits. If ductwork needs to be installed, as with a home that did not previously have central air, then the central air conditioning cost can more than double to $10,000 for the same 2000 square feet home.

Central Air Conditioner Unit Prices

Central air conditioner prices can also be affected by the brand of the unit that is being installed. Some brand names like Trane carry with them added value. This is especially true among home buyers, and the name of the unit is usually one of the first questions a prospective buyer might ask of a seller. The price of the unit is only part of the total cost of replacement. Several hours of labor is involved as well, and it usually takes two or more people to complete the project properly. People who are replacing their units should consider the possibility of eventually selling their home. If this might happen soon, then consider a brand name that carries some weight and value, even though the central air conditioning cost of these units might be higher.

Central Air Conditioner Brands

There are several air conditioner brand names, and they all have different reputations. Two of the most well-known brand names are Carrier and Trane. Rheem, Lennox, and Goodman are other popular brand names. Ask any two air conditioner repair technicians, and they will both tell you a different brand name is the best. You can definitely pay a premium on central air conditioner prices for a brand name unit. If you plan on staying in your home for the life time of the unit, then a brand name is not needed.

Ductless Air Conditioners

Ductless air conditioners are designed for houses that lack ductwork or the space for installing ductwork. They can be less expensive than central air conditioners when the installation of ductwork is factored in, and they are quieter and less conspicuous than window units. It can cost $5000 to $7000 to install a ductless air system in a 2000 square foot home. Central air conditioner prices including duct installation for the same size house range around as much as $10,000. With a ductless system, the compressor is outside. Refrigerated lines run into the house and connect to one or more air handlers that can be mounted to the ceiling or hung on the wall.

Energy Efficient Air Conditioners

There are federal tax breaks to help pay the central air conditioning cost for the installation of an energy efficient unit.

Energy efficient units are given an Energy Star designation. Energy Star designations can also be applied to other appliances such as computers, refrigerators, lighting, and home electronics. Many governments offer these tax incentives to encourage people to buy these units, lessening a countries dependence on imported fossil fuels. Certain air conditioning units and heat pumps with a SEER of 14 or higher can qualify for a $300 tax credit. The program started in the early 1990’s, and the logo is attached to products that use 20% to 30% less energy than government standards require.

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Carrier Central Air Conditioner Prices

Carrier is one of the world leaders in air conditioning. They also manufacture units under the brand name Payne. A five ton Carrier high efficiency central air conditioner costs between $1600 and $2500. This price is just for the unit, and does not account for labor or any ductwork that might need to be installed. Five ton units are large enough to cool a 2600 square foot house. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America have a publication called Manual J. It is the industry standard for calculating heating and cooling loads, and is required by most building codes. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America, or ACCA, is a non-profit organization for air conditioning professionals.

Trane Central Air Conditioner Prices

Trane, a division of the corporation Ingersoll Rand, is another industry leader. The Trane XR15 is noteworthy because it will get you a SEER of 17. SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. It rates the energy efficiency of the unit. It is calculated by dividing the cooling output (BTU’s) of the unit by the total electric energy input measured in watt hours. All units sold in the United States must now have a SEER of at least 13. A SEER of 14 qualifies the unit for Energy Star tax credits. Increasing a units SEER rating results in substantial energy savings. For example, replacing a SEER 9 unit with a SEER 13 can save the homeowner $300 a year in energy bills.

Goodman Central Air Conditioner Prices

The Goodman brand is relatively new, as they started manufacturing central air units in 1982. The company believes in offering high quality at relatively low central air conditioner cost by maintaining a low overhead and offering the best warranties in the business. Goodman central air conditioner prices range from $750 to $2100. A 4 ton 16 SEER unit that would qualify for an Energy Star credit retails for about $1900. Their 18 SEER Comfort Net unit has a 10 year limited warranty on both unit replacement and parts. It also has a limited lifetime warranty on the compressor. The tax credits can provide real savings. The maximum credit for a 16 SEER split system unit is $300.