Summer’s heat has driven your poor old air conditioner over the edge, and now you’re faced with the prospect of having to buy a new one. But you have so MANY questions! Here are the most common questions we’re asked about purchasing a new air conditioning system…
How Much Does a New Air Conditioner Cost?
Homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 up to $15,000, or more, for central air conditioning. Pricing depends on the unit, any additional installation items, and the cost of the installation.
Are There Different Options for System Replacement?
The cooling part of the HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system works with the furnace or air handler inside the home. The three main components are the outside condenser unit, the indoor coil, and the furnace or air handler. The total cost of the job depends on the type of system you choose.
When looking at replacing the cooling system at the highest efficiency level, most customers will replace the furnace or air handler at the same time as the condenser and coil. A full system replacement can cost from $5,000 on the low end to $15,000 on the high end.
You also have the option of replacing only the indoor coil and outside condenser. A basic condenser and coil replacement can cost between $2,500-5,000, based on the size and type of equipment.
It’s Such a Big Investment – How Could I Possibly Get My Money’s Worth From a New System?
When you invest in a high-efficiency cooling system, it eventually will pay for itself in lower energy bills. The minimum efficiency rating for cooling system equipment is 13 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) – this will be your lowest-cost equipment. If your current system is more than 15 or 20 years old, it’s probably about 9 or 10 SEER, so 13 is a significant improvement over that.
The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient and more expensive the system will be. To put it into perspective – a 20 SEER system uses half the electricity as a 10 SEER system. Based on how much electricity you use for cooling, you can figure out the period of time it will take to recoup your money from a more efficient system.
For a lot of people, the length of time they plan to stay in their current home plays a big part in deciding on equipment. Investing in the best system available may not make sense if you plan to move in two years, but a newer, high-quality HVAC system is a great selling point when putting your home on the market. We find that most of our customers choose a “middle of the road” system. A good quality Carrier 16 SEER cooling system, paired with a 96 percent-efficient furnace, generally costs $7,000-$9,000, based on the size of equipment.
How Do I Determine What Type of Unit Is Needed for My Home?
The size of your home will determine the type of air conditioning system you will need. Other determining factors include window quality, insulation, and whether you have a single-story or a two-story home. Different types of units include window units, split systems (ductless or central systems that are installed as inside and outside units), a central system (usually combined with the heating system to cool a whole house), and portable units.
What Should I Check or Research Before Buying a New Air Conditioning Unit?
It really comes down to the efficiency factor and how much you want to spend — the rest is the installing contractor. Around 90 percent of the problems that pop up with HVAC systems can be traced back to poor installation or lack of service on the unit. Spend time researching the installing contractor – cheap isn’t worth a system that doesn’t work properly for the next 15 years and will probably cost more money in the long run.