The short answer to this question is that the cost of installing central air mainly depends on the size of your home. However, most homeowners in South Florida can expect to pay anywhere from $3,990 to $6,000 + for a central AC installation.
The longer and more precise answer, though, is that the size of your home is only one of several factors that determine the cost of a central AC installation.
In this blog, we’ll help you prepare for your AC installation by explaining the following main factors that determine the overall cost you’ll pay:
Want an exact estimate for your AC installation?
If you live in the Miami-Dade, Broward County, and surrounding areas, trust Freezing Mechanical Air Conditioning to provide an honest, accurate, and free quote for your project. With more than 25 years of industry dedication, we provide superior AC installation services from start to finish. To schedule a free estimate, just click below or call us at (305) 363-7021.
The Square Footage of Your Home
One of the most significant factors that affect the cost of your AC installation is the size of your home. Generally speaking, the larger your home, the more your AC installation costs. That’s because a larger home requires an AC with a larger cooling capacity.
A central air conditioner’s cooling capacity is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). BTU is a form of measurement that measures energy. In the case of an AC, the BTU rating refers to how much heat energy the system can remove from your home in an hour.
Residential AC BTU ratings typically range from 24,000 to 60,000. For context, 1 BTU is equivalent to roughly the amount of heat energy produced by burning through one kitchen match.
Don’t be surprised, though, if you hear AC sizing referred to as “tonnage” or “tons.” The two sizing methods go hand in hand with “1 ton” equating to roughly 12,000 BTUs. For example, a 2-ton AC is a system that has a BTU rating of 24,000, a 3-ton AC has a BTU rating of 36,000, etc.
The only way to know what AC tonnage or BTU rating you need to adequately cool your home is to hire a licensed tech to assess your home. Not only does a qualified tech look at the size of your home, but they also look at other factors such as insulation levels, number of windows/doors, number of occupants in the home, etc.
Beware of any tech who tries to size your AC over the phone. Instead, make sure the tech you hire comes to your home and performs a thorough in-home assessment before providing an estimate. The cost of an improperly-sized AC can be incredibly expensive in the long run, so make sure you hire a company that is dedicated to providing the right size AC for your home.
The Efficiency of the AC Unit
Once you know what size AC you need, you’ll also want to consider the unit's efficiency. Two ACs of the same size but with varying efficiency ratings can yield dramatically different results in comfort and monthly utility bills.
AC efficiency is measured by its SEER rating. The higher the SEER rating, the higher the efficiency of the AC system and the higher the cost of the unit. However, a higher SEER rating also means lower monthly energy bills, which sometimes means that you end up saving money in the long run with a higher efficiency rating.
AC SEER ratings range from 14 to 24+. Technically, there are ACs still available with SEER ratings lower than 14, but the federally-mandated minimum rating for new AC installations is 14 SEER.
A good technician will explain that you want to weigh the upfront cost difference for higher-SEER units against the potential energy savings that the unit can provide you throughout its lifetime. Going too high in SEER might mean that you never fully gain back the higher upfront cost via monthly energy savings, so make sure that your tech is transparently walking you through the math before you choose your AC system efficiency.
The Current AC Configuration
If your home currently uses central heating and cooling, the cost of the AC install will be lower. Suppose your home is not currently configured for central cooling. In that case, the installation cost will be higher due to the extra labor and materials to build out the necessary components for central AC (ductwork, refrigerant lines, etc.).
But even if your home is configured for central cooling, if your current configuration is old or needs significant repairs to the ductwork, this can add to the overall cost.
Remember that skimping on the cost of ductwork repairs will have consequences. Faulty or leaky ductwork means that less conditioned air (that you pay for) makes it into your home, affecting your comfort levels, your AC system’s health, and your monthly bills.
During an in-home assessment, a tech will inspect the state of your AC system configuration to determine the health of all components and whether or not repairs or replacement of certain components are needed to complete the installation.
The AC Installation Contractor You Hire
The quality of the contractor you hire affects the upfront cost of your AC installation and your ongoing monthly energy costs.
The higher the quality of the contractor, the more they typically charge for their labor. However, you get what you pay for when it comes to AC contractors. For example, beware of techs who offer much lower prices than others. This might mean that they are underskilled or may not even be licensed or qualified to install an AC system.
When you choose Freezing Mechanical, we offer licensed and highly-qualified installation experts who are trained quarterly by various manufacturers on how to install systems accurately, safely, and efficiently. When your AC installation is handled by a well-trained professional like ours, you get peace of mind that the system will last much longer than one that is installed improperly.
If you’re in the process of choosing an AC installation contractor, we have a few tips that will help you weed out any potentially unqualified technicians:
- Ensure that the company you choose has been in business for at least 5-10 years
- Check that the company and their techs are licensed and insured (ask the company for their license number)
- Check the company’s review sites like Google to ensure that they have good ratings
- Make sure that the tech/company you choose offers a good warranty on their labor (typically, a 1-2 year labor warranty is good)
Want an Estimate for Your South Florida AC Installation?
Trust Freezing Mechanical to handle your AC installation project with care and precision. We’ve handled countless AC installations over our 25 years of experience and have perfected the art of a seamless, high-quality installation service from start to finish. Our techs undergo quarterly training with manufacturers to ensure that they are experts in all aspects of an AC installation.
We begin every AC installation project with a free and honest AC installation estimate. To get your free estimate, click below or call us at (305) 363-7021.