If you are interested in adding air conditioning to your home this summer, one of the first questions you will ask is “how much will a new air conditioner cost?” The answer to this question is not as easily determined as it may be for other home appliances. There are multiple factors that can sway the cost of an air conditioner installation, such as size required, installation procedure, electrical requirements, etc. In short, asking “how much will a new air conditioner cost” is about the same as asking “how much is a bag of groceries?” It depends on what goes into it, right? Let us outline what this process looks like.
What Size Air Conditioner Will Properly Cool the Home?
One of the first things we determine during a comfort consultation, is what size heating and/or cooling equipment is needed for the home? We use a load calculation program called Manual J, which takes into account cubic footage of the home, square footage of exterior walls, square footage of windows, insulation values, the home’s directional orientation, and weather data for your area. Window sizes and directional orientation play a huge role in determining the size of air conditioner required. South and West facing windows take on much more solar gain than North facing windows, and can make a big difference in cooling loads.
How Will the Air Conditioner be Installed?
Air conditioner installation is an elaborate process. First, we need to determine a location for the outdoor unit. Questions such as “Where would you like to see the air conditioner?” “Are there property line set back requirements in your area?” “How will we route the refrigerant lines to the air conditioner?” will all need to be answered. Once we have a spot picked out for the air conditioner, we need to look at the furnace. We will need to install an indoor evaporator coil at the furnace, which will connect to the outdoor air conditioner using refrigerant lines. This indoor coil is the part that actually cools down the air as it flows. At times we have to raise the furnace to allow for the indoor coil, which can add to the cost. During this evaluation process, we also look at how long the refrigerant lines will need to be, and how we will route them, as well as looking at the electrical panel to make sure it will be able to handle the new air conditioner.
Which Air Conditioner Would You Like?
Once the air conditioner’s size and installation process is determined, we then look at the air conditioner options that are available. There are many different types of air conditioners varying in efficiency and operation. There are base efficiency air conditioners which will cool the home adequately, but will cost more to run; and there are high efficiency air conditioners which will use less electricity to cool the home. Some air conditioners also have different modes of operation. Single stage air conditioners always run at their full capacity, and are either on or off. There are also two stage air conditioners, which have a low and a high setting. Two stage air conditioners will run on low if they can cool the home from there, and will automatically kick into high cooling if needed. The latest technology are variable capacity air conditioners, which have a wide range of operation from low to high, and will vary to provide the exact amount of cooling that the house is requiring at any given time.
Now, How Much?
Now that you know more about the process of selecting an air conditioner for your home, I hope you can see why it is not easy to answer “How much will a new air conditioner cost?” There is a lot that goes into making sure we have the right air conditioner for you and your home. Once we have answered all the questions above, we provide you with an air conditioner installation proposal, which will generally feature a few systems to choose from. At this point we can talk about financing options, and any other incentives that might be available. The entire described process costs you zero, but can be the difference in having a comfortable home this summer, or not. If you would like an in home comfort consultation, please contact us today!