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Three Ways To Save On Central Air Conditioning

Apr 15

Central air costs between $3,000 and $7,500 on average. To save money, choose the right contractor, install during the off-season, and take advantage of any available rebates or tax credits.

Summer heats up fast when the only thing keeping you cool is a fan. Central air conditioning may be able to solve all of your sweating problems, but the cost might be exorbitant.

According to HomeAdvisor, the typical cost of installing central air conditioning, including the unit, is between $3,000 and over $7,000. The price, however, varies significantly depending on where you live, the kind of system you need, and the condition of your existing air ducts.

What elements have an impact on the cost of installing central air conditioning?

The cost of an air conditioner is just a small part of the total cost of installing central air conditioning. A pre-installation examination, potential air duct installation or modification, and work performed by a certified heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional will all cost money.

Prior to installation, an assessment is performed

A Manual J load assessment is the first step in proper installation, according to a New York-based HVAC business. This calculation is used by contractors to figure out how much heat your house absorbs during the day and how large an air conditioner you'll need to keep it cool.

In an ideal world, a home energy evaluation would include a load estimate. This examination reveals air leaks and other issues that drive up the expense of operating an air conditioner. Although an energy audit might be expensive, your utility provider may be willing to give discounts or reimbursements.

The ductwork and design

Following the Manual J load estimate, your contractor should evaluate the air conditioner's supporting systems, especially the ductwork, to ensure that they are capable of handling central air.

A contemporary air conditioner's airflow is frequently too much for existing ducts to handle. There may not be enough area in your house to run a refrigerant line outside, as well as room for an air conditioner coil and appropriately sized vents.

Any modifications or additions needed to accommodate the new system will almost surely raise the overall cost of central air conditioning installation, but they will save you money on energy costs and keep your rooms cool.

The air conditioning system in the building

It's time to pick an air conditioner once you've evaluated your home's performance and support systems. Depending on the size and construction of your house, you may choose from the following options:

  • Air conditioners with a split system
  • Packaged central air conditioning systems are a kind of central air conditioning system that includes everything you
  • To create heat, heat pumps are employed

The price of a central air conditioner is determined by its size and kind. An air conditioner's cooling capacity is measured in tons, and most household systems are between 1.5 and 5 tons. Bigger isn't always better; while deciding on the size of your air conditioner, apply the load calculation outlined earlier.

Don't buy an air conditioner simply based on its SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Despite the fact that a high SEER air conditioner costs more, according to Minnick, it will still waste energy if it is installed incorrectly or if your house has many leaks. Ensure that your contractor evaluates the home's performance before proposing a unit.

installation and labor

The size and location of an HVAC contractor have an influence on the cost of installing central air conditioning, according to Todd Washam, director of industry and external relations for the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, or ACCA. Don't get too hung up on finding the lowest bidder, however.

"If it's lovely and cheap, it won't be quick." And it won't be excellent if it's fast and inexpensive," Washam claims.

Nearly half of all HVAC systems are designed wrongly, according to the Energy Star website of the Environmental Protection Agency, reducing their efficiency by up to 30%. So it's worth investing the time and money to choose a reputable HVAC provider.

Follow these steps to find a qualified HVAC contractor:

  • Examine internet evaluations and get advice from friends
  • You may seek for contractors on the ACCA website (and use this handy checklist to guide the conversations)
  • Comparisons should be made between at least three different firms' estimates
  • Inquire regularly about their credentials and standards

3 central air conditioning installation cost-cutting suggestions

1. Calculate your cooling needs

If you're an empty nester or only home at night, consider a ductless mini-split air conditioning system. An outdoor compressor and condenser, as well as internal blower vents that may be installed on practically any exterior wall, are included in these systems.

According to Fuentes, although ductless systems are not technically central air, they may be a cost-effective solution to cool certain zones inside a larger house, such as a TV room or a bedroom.

2. Ensure proper timing

During the warmest and coldest months, Washam explains, HVAC contractors are always busy. During the off-seasons – spring and autumn – personnel are less busy, so you may obtain a better bargain or a quicker response time.

3. Check for equipment tax breaks and refunds

To promote the adoption of high-efficiency air conditioners, local governments, utility providers, and manufacturers offer financial incentives. Use the Energy Star rebate finder to locate money-saving possibilities in your ZIP code.