Cost Guide: What to Pay for a New AC Unit [2021]

Are you sweating over the cost of a new AC unit? Picture this: it’s a scorching summer day, and your old air conditioner decides to call it quits. You’re left wondering, “How much should I shell out for a replacement?”

In this article, we’ve got your back. We’ll break down the factors that influence the price of a new AC unit and guide you on making a smart investment. Stay cool and save money with our expert tips on finding the perfect balance between cost and quality.

Factors Influencing AC Unit Prices

So, wondering what goes into the price tag of a new AC unit? Let’s dive into the factors that influence those numbers:

  • Size of the Unit: The larger the space you need to cool, the bigger the unit you’ll require. Larger units come with a heftier price tag.
  • Efficiency Ratings: Units with higher SEER ratings tend to cost more upfront but can save you money in the long run on energy bills.
  • Brand and Quality: Well-known brands and higher quality units often come at a premium. Consider the balance between reliability and cost.
  • Installation Complexity: If your home requires extensive ductwork or custom installations, expect the total cost to reflect these added complexities.
  • Additional Features: Smart thermostats, zoning systems, and variable-speed compressors all add to the cost but can enhance comfort and energy efficiency.
  • Location and Season: Prices might fluctuate with demand in your area and seasonal promotions. Shop around and keep an eye out for discounts.
  • Warranty Coverage: Longer warranty periods may mean a higher upfront cost, but they offer peace of mind if any issues arise.
  • Certifications and Rebates: Look out for rebates for Energy Star certified units. They can help offset your initial investment.

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Types of AC Units

When it comes to choosing a new AC unit, understanding the different types available can help you make an informed decision. Here are some common types you might encounter:

  • Central Air Conditioning: This type cools your entire home through a network of ducts and vents. It offers consistent cooling but may be more expensive to install.
  • Ductless Mini-Split Systems: Ideal for homes without ductwork, these units have an outdoor compressor/condenser and indoor air-handling units. They provide targeted cooling to specific rooms.
  • Window Air Conditioners: These units are installed in windows and are a cost-effective option for cooling individual rooms. They’re easy to install but may not be suitable for larger spaces.
  • Portable Air Conditioners: Versatile units that can be moved from room to room. They require no permanent installation but may be less powerful than other types.
  • Smart Air Conditioners: With smart features like WiFi connectivity and programmable settings, these units offer convenience and energy savings.

Each type has its pros and cons, so consider factors like your home size, layout, budget, and cooling needs when choosing the right AC unit for you.

Average Cost of AC Units

When it comes to the cost of AC units, it’s important to consider several factors that can influence the price you’ll pay for a new system. Here’s a breakdown to help you understand the average costs associated with different types of AC units:

  • Central Air Conditioning:
  • Average Cost: Typically ranges from $3,000 to $7,000 for installation.
  • Factors Affecting Cost: Home size, existing ductwork, and energy efficiency rating.
  • Ductless Mini-Split Systems:
  • Average Cost: Installation costs between $3,000 and $10,000 depending on the number of indoor units.
  • Factors Affecting Cost: Number of indoor units, installation complexity, and brand.
  • Window Air Conditioners:
  • Average Cost: Prices can vary from $150 to $800 per unit.
  • Factors Affecting Cost: Cooling capacity, energy efficiency, and additional features.
  • Portable Air Conditioners:
  • Average Cost: Typically priced between $300 and $700 per unit.
  • Factors Affecting Cost: BTU output, portability, and energy efficiency rating.
  • Smart Air Conditioners:
  • Average Cost: Prices can range from $200 to $1,500 depending on the brand and features.
  • Factors Affecting Cost: Connectivity options, energy-saving features, and cooling capacity.

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Considering the average costs of different AC units and how they align with your budget and cooling needs is crucial when making a purchase decision. By understanding these price ranges and the factors that influence them, you can make an informed choice that suits your requirements.

Tips for Making a Smart Investment

When it comes to investing in a new AC unit, research is key. Here are some tips to help you make a smart decision:

  • Assess Your Needs: Determine the size of the space you need to cool to find the right capacity for your AC unit.
  • Consider Energy Efficiency: Look for units with a high Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) to save on energy costs in the long run.
  • Plan Your Budget: Set a clear budget that includes not just the initial cost of the unit, but also installation and potential maintenance expenses.
  • Explore Rebates and Incentives: Check for rebates or tax credits offered by manufacturers or the government to offset some of the costs.
  • Consult with Professionals: Seek advice from HVAC professionals to ensure you’re choosing the right unit for your specific needs.
  • Read Reviews: Before making a purchase, read reviews from other consumers to get an idea of the reliability and performance of the unit you’re considering.

Remember, investing in a new AC unit is a decision that will impact your comfort and energy bills for years to come.


That’s it! Now you have a better understanding of the costs associated with different types of AC units and the key factors to consider when making your purchase. Remember to assess your needs, prioritize energy efficiency, set a budget, look into available rebates, seek advice from professionals, and check reviews. By following these steps, you’ll be well-equipped to make a smart investment in a new AC unit that will keep you cool and save you money in the long run. Happy shopping!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the average costs of different types of AC units mentioned in the article?

The average cost ranges are as follows:

  • Central air conditioning systems: $3,000 to $7,000
  • Ductless mini-split systems: $2,000 to $5,000
  • Window air conditioners: $150 to $500
  • Portable air conditioners: $300 to $800
  • Smart air conditioners: $400 to $1,500

What factors influence the prices of AC units?

Several factors influence prices, including:

  • Brand reputation
  • Energy efficiency ratings
  • Capacity or size of the unit
  • Installation requirements
  • Additional features like smart technology

What tips are provided for making a smart investment in a new AC unit?

Key tips include:

  • Assessing your cooling needs
  • Considering energy efficiency ratings
  • Setting a realistic budget
  • Exploring available rebates
  • Consulting with HVAC professionals
  • Reading customer reviews before purchasing.

Charlie Thomson is Appliance Mastery's expert on laundry appliances. With a degree in mechanical engineering and over 8 years of experience in the appliance repair industry, Charlie is a go-to resource for homeowners who want to tackle common issues with their washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

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