How Much Does Central Air Cost?

Central Air Cost – Central air conditioning, or central air, is used to lower temperatures around an area, and filters and dehumidifies the air, making it more comfortable and cleaner to breathe in. 

A central air conditioning system can be used to distribute cool and clean air throughout an office or home space using a duct system.

Benefits of Central Air

  • Central air conditioners can provide the flow of cool air into every single room of an entire house.
  • It dehumidifies and filters the air, allowing for people to breath in cool, comforting and healthy air indoors.
  • They are available in a variety of sizes and types, to suit the needs and requirements of each household.

Factors Determining the Cost of Central Air

When considering the purchase of central air, the following factors need to be kept in mind:

Type of System

Central air conditioning systems are of three main types:

  • A split system – In this system, the cooling air compressor is located outside, while the air handler unit which takes on the responsibility of distribution of cool air around the house is placed inside.
  • A package system – In this system, the air handler and compressor are both placed outside. Normally, one is placed on the roof, while the other is placed onto the ground.
  • A mini-split system – This system is also called a ductless mini split system and is not really the same as central air, but when several are installed, they can serve the same purpose and function. It is more suitable for older houses that do not have any cooling additions of about 1,200 square feet and for houses without ductwork.

Efficiency of the System

A central air’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) is used to express how much of cooling is provided by a unit in relation to the amount of energy that is used by it. If a unit has a high SEER rating, it signifies that it’s more efficient and therefore, it becomes less costly to run. A rating of 13 is minimum in accordance with the federal SEER and a unit is considered highly efficient if it has a rating of 16 to 23 SEER.

Level of Noise

Some people may prefer central air conditioning units that are very quiet and noise free and these units are the ones that cost more. Louder units can start reaching a point of annoyance which may also lead to increased complaints from neighbors. This is why noise level should be kept in mind before considering the purchase of a central air system.


Charges will be much higher if ductwork is an additional requirement during the installation of central air conditioning. If ductwork already exists, then the costs will not be included and the charges will be quite reasonably priced.

Size of the Systems

Size is an important factor in determining the cost of a central air conditioning unit. A set up should be selected on the basis of whether it is powerful enough to be able to cool an entire house on hot summer days, but should not be so very powerful that humidity is not adequately removed from the house.

British Thermal Units (BTU) or tonnage per hour is an expression of the size of a central air conditioner. A manual J load calculation is performed by cooling contractors and professionals to help homeowners in the evaluation of the size of a system that is best suited for their homes and their various needs.

Central Air Cost

It should be noted that even though a unit with high efficiency costs about 30% to 40 % more than a unit with a minimum SEER rating of 13, the extra percentage of Central Air Cost will be made good and recouped over the system’s lifetime in energy savings.

Multi-split central air conditioner$1,500 to $3,000
Central air conditioning (with existing duct work in a 2,000 square foot room)$3,000 to $5,000
Central air conditioning (in a 2,000 square foot room if additional duct work is required)$6,000 to $10,000 or more

The Central Air Cost of air conditioning units are based on average estimates of values. Actual costs will vary depending upon the factors mentioned in the considerations above. It is recommended that the installation process be left to the professionals as they know the proper methods and safety precautions of installation.