Central Air Conditioning Installation Cost Factors
Replacing an old central AC with a new, high-efficiency unit will usually save you money in the long run (assuming it is properly installed and maintained). But the up-front cost to install a new home cooling system still matters, even if the investment is sure to pay off in the form of lower energy bills and value added to your home.
When you’re ready to buy a new cooling system, it pays to get several estimates from reputable HVAC contractors as part of your research. Just make sure you’re comparing estimates fairly: the devil is in the details.
Questions For A/C Installation Contractors
Here are the six factors that impact the cost of a new central air conditioner, and the questions you should be asking your HVAC contractor about them so you can make a fair comparison:
- The size of the unit – The size of a central air conditioning system is typically measured in tons (a one-ton unit can output 12,000 BTUs in an hour – about enough to cool 400 square feet of floor space). When it comes to size, remember: bigger isn’t always better. The key is to find an air conditioner that is matched to the heating load of your home.
Key question: What sized unit is included in this estimate?
- Ductwork issues – Does your estimate include replacing or repairing ductwork? That can easily add a chunk of money to your bid. Installing or repairing ductwork requires expertise to do right, and you pay for that expertise.
Key question: Does this estimate include work on my duct system? If so, what kind?
- Equipment brand – Is your air conditioner the equivalent of a Rolls Royce or a Kia? Both will get the job done, but their costs will be much different. The key is to find an air conditioning brand that offers you the most value within your budget range.
Key question: What brand of air conditioner is included in this estimate? Can I substitute other brands?
- SEER value – The price of a cooling system increases by about 8-10 percent for every one-point increase in SEER rating, all other things being equal.
Key question: What is the SEER rating of the air conditioner in this estimate, and how will moving up or down the SEER ladder affect my monthly bills?
- Special project considerations – What accommodations will have to be made to install your new central air unit (preserving elements of a character home, ductwork repairs, working in tight crawlspaces, etc.)? If your installation requires more time or attention to do the job right, it will cost more.
Key question: What special accommodations will my installation require? What’s included in this estimate?
- The quality and experience of the contractor – You may pay less up front for one HVAC contractor than another, but boy does it pay to go with experienced, licensed, bonded, and reputable contractors in the long run.
Key question: Why should I choose you as my HVAC contractor?
If it’s time to invest in a new central air conditioner, don’t worry – Dixon Energy will help you make a choice that meets your needs and budget. Contact us today for a FREE, no obligation estimate on a central air conditioning installation in northern NJ!