If you’re in the market for a new central air conditioner in AZ, you’re probably wondering how much it will cost you when all is said and done.
On average, the price to install a new central AC unit can range from $4,000 to $18,000.
The range varies greatly because there are lots of factors that affect the price. Those factors can be grouped under 3 main components:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these 3 components.
AC Contractor / AC Installation
Choosing the right contractor is important because they are responsible for 2 crucial steps:
- Performing the initial inspection—During this inspection, your contractor will perform what’s called a “load calculation”. This takes into account various aspects of your home (size, shape, insulation, local climate, etc.) and uses them to determine the size of the AC unit(s) needed.
- Installing the AC Unit—The labor required to install your AC accounts for the bulk of the overall price. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much you’ll end up paying for contracted labor because some companies charge per hour and some charge flat rates.
- Beware of contractors who use the rule of thumb estimates to determine your AC size instead of performing a load calculation.
- Shop around (but don’t skimp)! Get several quotes for installation prices and inspections and don’t assume the lowest priced contractor is the best option.
- Choose a contractor that is qualified so that if things go south, you don’t end up having to pay. To play it safe, the company should be licensed, bonded and insured.
- Beware of contractors that charge hourly. The price they give you is likely just an estimate that may end up costing you much more if they take longer than expected.
These “add-on” prices can include:
- Duct installation—Your home’s ducts may need to be replaced or you may need new ones added.
- Duct cleaning and sealing—Your home’s ducts may be leaking and dirty. You may choose to have your AC contractor take care of these problems at the same time that they replace your system.
- Insulation—Insulation may need to be added to your attic to save you money and keep you cooler.
- Adding/moving electrical lines—Your contractor may need to move or upgrade your AC’s electrical lines.
- Hi-tech thermostat—A high-tech thermostat can let you do cool things like automatically adjust to save you money or even letting you set it from your smartphone!
- Add-on warranty—Your contractor may offer add-on warranties on your new AC system that will cover any unforeseen problems in the future.
- Look for an AC contractor who does additional work like this (electrical, ductwork) themselves. You’ll likely save money by not having to hire several different contractors.
- Make sure, no matter what, that you at least have a 10-year warranty on the equipment and labor. Then, if the job wasn’t done right, you aren’t stuck paying for it!
Here are the top 4 factors that affect the price of your AC unit:
- SEER—The SEER rating measures how energy efficient an AC unit is and how much it will save you in electric bills. See: How to Calculate The Energy Savings of Different Air Conditioners
- Size—AC’s are sized in “tonnage” (1-ton, 2-ton, etc). The ton refers to the unit’s cooling capacity per hour. See: How to Know What Size AC You Need
- Quantity—Does your home need more than one unit replaced?
- Brand—Bigger brands like York, Trane and Carrier may be more expensive but usually offer better warranties. See: What is the Best Brand of Central Air Conditioner in Arizona?
- Don’t go up a size more than what is calculated for your home. AC sizes are like clothing: the size that works best is the size that truly fits your home's cooling needs. Getting an AC that’s too big results in high electric costs, poor cooling, and a shortened air conditioner lifespan.
- Remember that units with a higher SEER will be more expensive but offer more savings in the long run. Related: SEER Savings Calculator Tools: From Beginner to Advanced
- If your neighbor just had a new AC put in and you decide to compare pricing, don’t get upset if the prices don’t match until you do a little more investigating. Did your quote have all the same bells and whistles as theirs? Same brand? Same size house? Same add-on’s? Etc.
Need help getting started?
If you’re looking for specific pricing on a central air conditioner in Arizona, contact a licensed, bonded and insured contractor like George Brazil Air Conditioning & Heating. Our professional AC techs can guide you through the entire buying process.
Schedule your appointment today for a free quote on your new central air conditioner.