Central Air Conditioner Prices and Cost Guide
Cost Comparison of AC Brands, Unit Sizes, Repair Costs, Replacement Cost, and Different Efficiency Central Air Systems.
The information we display on this site is updated weekly with central air conditioner pricing we compile from industry information, consumer submissions, and data gathered from readers and contractors across the web who have chosen to share it. The price range to have central air installed can vary widely by location, your home and many other factors. This page is meant to be your replacement cost guide and help you get started in understanding those costs.
How Much Does a Central Air Conditioner Cost?
Central A/C unit cost is typically between $3,940 – $8,290 for a standard efficiency central air conditioner installed by a licensed HVAC company. The main cost factors are the cooling capacity (BTU’s) or size of the central AC unit, the SEER or efficiency rating of the system, factors associated with your home like location of the A C unit, the state of the rest of your HVAC system, and the brand of central air conditioner installed.
Average Price: $5,640
Average Cost Range: $3,870 – $7,150
Average Central A/C Unit Prices by Brand
For the purpose of this price list of leading central air conditioner brands, we used a baseline of a standard efficiency 2.5 ton central ac unit and matching evaporator coil, from the different leading brands below. A 2.5 ton unit is the approximate size installed in most 1400-1800 square foot homes. All central ac unit prices online are approximate, based on the latest pricing sheets we have. Prices updated to reflect 2022 new pricing and economic conditions.
Central AC Unit Brand
AC & Coil Cost
AC & Coil Installed Cost
Upper Tier Brand Pages: Carrier | Trane | Lennox | American Standard
Average Tier Units: Bryant | Heil | Amana | Gibson | Rheem | Ruud | York
Central AC Unit Pricing By Size
Central air conditioner units are manufactured in specific sizes ranging from 1.5 – 5 tons of cooling capacity for home use. An HVAC contractor can (and should) perform a load calculation on your home to tell you the exact size for your house. Many states now require a load calculation for both new and replacement ac units, to have the system permit and inspection completed. If the AC Contractor does not pull a load calculation, use a different contractor! (free quotes)
Average A/C Unit Prices by Size or Capacity
Central AC Unit Size
AC & Coil
AC & Coil Installed Cost
|1.5 Tons, 18,000 btu||$1,340||$2,695|
|2 Tons, 24,000 btu||$1,490||$3,190|
|2.5 Tons, 30,000 btu||$1,725||$3,395|
|3 Tons, 36,000 btu||$1,970||$3,690|
|3.5 Tons, 42,000 btu||$2,380||$3,750|
|4 Tons, 48,000 btu||$2,560||$3,950|
|5 Tons, 60,000 btu||$2,720||$4,290|
A/C Unit Prices by Efficiency
High efficiency central air systems can save you a considerable amount of money on energy. Gone are the days of 7-10 seer home ac units, and the lowest efficiency central air conditioner units you can purchase from a manufacturer is 13 seer, and those are limited to specific units. In most cases today, you’ll get a 14-17 seer minimum efficiency unit. The highest efficiency central a/c units are rated at 24 seer, and other brands use solar panels to assist in providing electricity during peak use. Of course, the AC unit prices with higher seer ratings are much more than their lower initial cost counterparts.
SEER General Meaning – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (Higher is better, like mpg in a car) While the initial cost of a high SEER A/C unit is more, the operating costs, especially over a long period of time are much less.
For the purpose of this SEER Efficiency Comparison, we chose a 2.5 ton central air conditioner unit and matching evaporator coil. Manufacturers recommend you only install matched systems to achieve the ARI ratings listed.
Central Air Conditioner Prices by Efficiency Performance
Central Air Efficiency Ratings
AC & Coil
AC & Coil Installation Cost
|13-14 SEER (Standard Efficiency)||$1,735||$3,270|
|15-16 SEER (High Efficiency)||$2,360||$3,960|
|17-18 SEER (High Efficiency)||$2,600||$4,950|
|19-21 SEER (Super High Efficiency)||$3,450||$6,190|
|22-24 SEER (Highest Available Efficiency)||$3,980||$8,250|
Note: Some of the higher SEER central air conditioners (18-24 SEER) like those offered by Lennox, may require the addition of a solar panel to your roof, to assist in providing renewable green electricity to power the ac during peak use. When you estimate central air cost for your home, be sure to add in incidental costs that will accumulate for items that you may be interested in. In addition, if you choose to look at the solar alternatives, keep in mind the added cost for an electrician, panel costs, improvements to the roof, etc.
Price Breakdown of a Replacement AC Unit Cost
The list of items below represents the parts and supplies cost to replace a home ac unit. The price list is broken into two separate tables. The first table shows the components most often required to replace a home ac unit. The second table shows parts that are often changed, though not required if they are not needed, or not part of the overall change-out.
Parts Most Often Replaced on an AC Unit
HVAC Unit Component or Part Name
The AC condenser is the large box-like unit that is outside the home.
|$1,400 – $2,950|
AC Coils are most often indoor components (Except on packaged units) that are connected through a refrigerant lineset, and mounted to an air handler or furnace.
|$240 – $420|
The lineset is a set of copper tubes wrapped in insulation. These allow the movement of refrigerant to and from the condensing unit to the indoor evaporator coil. They are not always replaced if the new and old unit have the same size requirements and type of refrigerant, but preferred by most contractors.
|$190 – $420|
|30 AMP Electrical Breaker & Box
The outdoor breaker has to meet current code requirements in order to pass inspection. It’s very common to have the breaker replaced when a new ac unit is installed.
|$165 – $390|
|Installation Permit and Inspection
In most areas of the US, a permit to install and and inspection after the installation is required by local code laws. This is to assure proper sizing ahead of time and safety requirements completed during the install.
|$115 – $340|
Optional, Not Required AC Parts / HVAC Equipment Costs
HVAC Unit Component or Part Name
|Air Handler or Furnace
An air handler or furnace (gas, oil, electric) is the unit attached to your indoor coil, that moved the air through your duct system. Often, a gas furnace is matched to the AC unit.
|$750 – $3,250|
|Drain Pan & New Safety Float Switch
Most local code calls for a drain pan with a float switch under any unit installed inside a home. This is to prevent flooding, should the drain line clog or become obstructed. When water builds, the float switch automatically turns off all systems, and prevents them from damaging ceilings and floors.
|$85 – $250|
|Thermostat (Standard or Programmable)
The thermostat is the brain of the HVAC system in your home. Often, contractors prefer to replace them at the time of a complete system replacement. They range from simple thermostats to very intelligent, programmable communicating thermostats.
|$35 – $450|
|Condensing Unit Pad
In order to assure the outdoor unit stays level and on solid ground, it’s common to replace the outdoor unit pad. These can be plastic, composite, or concrete. In areas close to the beach or prone to flooding, it’s common to build the unit pad several feet off the ground.
|$60 – $150|
|Evaporator Drain Line or Condensate Pump
The drain line is a PVC pipe that allows the condensate water from the coil to drain outside or into your home drain system. On some units, a condensate pump is needed to assure the proper drainage of condensate water.
|$65 – $400|
|Duct Cleaning, Replacement or Modifications
It’s not uncommon for a new unit to require changes to the HVAC duct system. This could mean a second return duct (air taken from the home, through a filter and back to unit), or the addition of supply ducts to various rooms for added cooling or heating needs.
|$280 – $400 / each|
A/C Price Comparison by Type of AC Unit
Type of Air conditioner
|Portable AC Units||$400 – $1,100||N/A|
|Ductless / Minisplit Air Conditioners||$450 – $6,500||$750 – $4,500+|
|Window A/C Units||$150 – $400||$50 – $250|
|Floor Mounted / PTAC AC||$1,200 – $2,900||$650 – $2,200|
|Central A/C Units||$1,650 – $6,500||$1,500 – $6,000|
|Geothermal Systems||$$2,500 – $6,500||$5,000 – $40,000|
|Dual Fuel Heat Pump Systems||$1,950 – $8,500||$750 – $5,500+|