Central AC is a necessity in most Florida homes. If you’re building a new home or planning to upgrade the HVAC systems in an existing one, the cost to install central air will be something you’ll want to know. So, in today’s post, we’re going to tell you more about what to expect when it comes to paying for central air, as well as a number of factors that influence the price of this service.
What is Central Air?
If you live in a climate like Florida, central air is likely something you enjoy on a regular basis. You know it helps keep you cool and comfortable, but just exactly what is central air and how does it work? Before we dig into the cost of installing these systems, let’s first go back to basics.
Central air refers to the concept of heating the whole home or building, as opposed to just certain areas of it.
- To do this, the fan in your indoor unit pulls the warm air from inside of your house into return air ducts.
- Then, the air passes through filters where dust and other pollutants can be removed.
- Once this happens, the air passes over the cold evaporator coil. This coil is home to liquid refrigerant which absorbs the heat and in turn, cools the air.
- Next, the blower fan sends the newly cooled air back into your home!
What’s included in a central air conditioning system?
It’s also important to note there are two types of central air conditioner systems: split systems and packaged systems. The type of system you get is something that will influence the central air costs to install, and we’ll talk more about this in a moment.
As for what’s included in each system?
Split systems have an outdoor unit that’s home to a fan, compressor, and condenser coil. The indoor portion is where you’ll find the furnace or fan coil, which is also the location of the fan to circulate cool air and the evaporator coil. Additionally, copper tubing is used to transport the refrigerant between the outdoor and indoor components of your central AC system.
In the case of a packaged system, the compressor, fan coil, fan, and condenser coil are all found in the same solitary outdoor unit.
Now that we’ve completed this crash course in central air, let’s move onto some of the factors that affect how much you’ll pay for it.
(Are you curious about the most reliable central AC units for Florida homes? We have a whole post on that subject right here)
Factors the Influence the Cost to Install Central Air for Florida Homes
The size of your home
We’re starting with this factor because it often plays the biggest role on AC installation cost. Your central AC unit needs to have enough power to cool your entire home, and the bigger your home is, the more powerful it must be.
We have a whole post right here on calculating AC sizing. In it, we include this quick ‘what size air conditioner do I need calculator:’
Width of room * length of room * 25 = approximate BTUs.
The post also explains what we mean by BTUs:
“BTU stands for ‘British Thermal Units.’ It’s the standard unit used to establish how much an air conditioning unit will be able to cool a room or space within an hour. (BTUs are the standard measurement unit, no matter if you’re wondering ‘what size central air conditioner do I need,’ ‘what size portable air conditioner do I need,’ or ‘what size whole house air conditioner do I need.’”
As energy.gov explains, SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio refers to:
“The ratio of the total heat removed from the conditioned space during the annual cooling season divided by the total electrical energy consumed by the air conditioner during the same season. So, the higher the SEER rating, the less electrical energy your air conditioner uses to cool your home. Purchasing an air conditioner with a higher SEER rating could be more expensive, but save you more money on your electricity bill.”
As this definition explains, SEER rating also plays a role in the cost of your AC.
Air conditioner speed
We can’t forget to include the type of cooling your air conditioner offers when it comes to pricing!
For example, a single-speed AC unit has minimal functions. Namely, turning on and off. These single-stage ACs can effectively cool your home, but they’re considered more outdated and lower quality than newer options. As such, they tend to cost less.
Next, we come to two-stage AC units. They are a nice middle ground when it comes to cost and efficiency between single-stage and variable speed A/C units. If you choose these over single-speed units, they can in turn help you save on energy bills each month.
On the other hand, variable-speed AC which uses compressors that allows you to more than simply turn AC on or off, tends to cost more to install. That being said, they also offer a lot more flexibility and the ability to customize the cooling in your home.
(Take a look at this post next to read all about the different types of AC)
This cost isn’t directly related to the actual installation process, but it’s still worth mentioning when we talk about AC cost. You might be tempted to opt for a cheap AC unit, but this decision could cost you in the long run. Often, lower-quality options will break down or need repairs more often. So, even though you’re saving money during the installation process, the repair costs can end up costing you more than choosing a higher-quality option from the get-go.
The AC company you hire
Finally, the central air costs to install will also depend on the air conditioning experts you choose to get the job done.
Fair pricing is the key here (which we’ll talk about in a moment). Choosing the cheapest option could mean you’re hiring a company without much (if any) experience. Alternatively, you also want to know you’re not paying far above market price for a company that overcharges you.
When you choose an AC company, something else to look for is whether they offer warranties. For example, AC Care Heat & Air offer a two-year Parts and Labor Warranty on all replacements!
How Much Does it Cost to Install Central Air?
Now to the question you’ve been waiting for: how much does it cost to install? We can’t give you an exact price in this post because it depends so much on all of the factors we just listed. However, we can provide you with a range of what to expect: $4,500 to $6,500. Keep in mind, if your home is much larger or smaller than an average home, the costs are likely to change.
Air Conditioner Financing
As pricey as AC can be, it’s also an incredibly important and often necessary component of a home. To make it more affordable, many AC companies offer financing. That way, you’re able to pay in more manageable installments while still getting the cooling you need.
So, don’t let the cost to install central air scare you off! Including when it comes to opting for a more modern or high-quality option.
In some cases, people put off the expense, hoping they can get an older system through one more season. However, your new air conditioning system will be more efficient and reliable. As technology improves, these cooling units can do more with less.
If your existing AC unit is showing any of these signs…
- Unit not maintaining the correct temperature
- More than 10 seasons of operation
- Frequent repair calls
- Rising utility bills
It’s time to call us! Or, if you are building a new home and you want to ensure your central air is installed by experts, we’re who to call for that too.
Click here to contact us today!
For further reading: