The typical installed cost of central heating and cooling ranges from $12,800 to $18,500.
When all options are considered, from entry-level equipment for small homes to high-performance heating and cooling systems for large homes, the cost spectrum is wider – $7,400 to $22,600.
There’s plenty of price information here plus system efficiency and performance details that will assist you in understanding your options.
Stating the Obvious – Prices Have Gone Up
Given the recent increases in the cost of “everything,” you might be shocked but probably aren’t surprised that central heating and cooling prices are 22% to nearly 40% higher than they were just a couple of years ago!
One large heating and air conditioning company in Arizona mentioned in a blog post that wholesale prices on the Trane equipment it buys are up 38%. Bosch systems are up 28%. Those costs – plus higher labor and transportation costs for local installers – are all passed on to us, the homeowner or property owner.
OK, let’s get on to price breakdowns and a Buying Guide that will give you the details needed to be an informed consumer.
The cost of central air conditioning equipment will hit record highs this year. While not surprising given the cost of “everything” these days, it is daunting when we look at the central air conditioning prices for complete systems fully installed.
Central AC Installation Costs
Before you think, “these prices can’t be right!” please understand that we draw from a range of credible sources including manufacturer pricing, local HVAC contractor estimates, and actual receipts shared by homeowners.
$4,800 to $14,000 – AC Equipment Only – Use the Old Furnace or Air Handler: Keep in mind that replacing the entire system is the best strategy for efficiency, durability, and indoor climate control because installed components are matched to work together.
$7,700 to $22,000+ – Complete System: These systems include either a central AC plus a gas furnace or a heat pump plus an air handler.
$14,200 – Most Popular System: If we had to pick a single cost estimate for the average-size, 2-stage split central air conditioning system, this would be it.
Costs from Goodman to Trane
Goodman is consistently the most affordable option. The smallest and least efficient complete Goodman central air systems begin at around $7,700 to give us the low end of the total range. Goodman’s most efficient and largest systems top out around $20,000 installed.
Trane is refreshingly open about cost, a rarity among manufacturers. Using numbers from its Pricing Guide, the cost of a complete central air conditioning system is $9,200 to $22,300 – and those prices don’t include variable capacity ACs and heat pumps. You could easily spend $24K on a Trane, Lennox, or Carrier central HVAC system.
Why so high?
All major manufacturers have announced price increases of 12% to more than 20% combined in the last two years. Wholesale costs for materials, labor, and transportation have all gone up for the manufacturers.
Factor in similar cost increases for local HVAC companies, and all of us consumers are getting socked with a sticker shock.
Quick Answer – What is Central Air Conditioning?
We should make sure we are on the same page as this discussion continues.
All system types are described below. But they have one thing in common: They include components to cool the air in your home and to distribute it through ductwork or through indoor units installed in various rooms or zones.
The most common central air conditioning systems include a condensing unit (AC or heat pump) outside and a furnace or air handler with a blower fan inside. Refrigerant cycles through coils housed in each component, so that heat is absorbed from the inside air and released outdoors to lower indoor temperature.
The 10 best central air conditioners have a proven track record of reliability based on consumer data.
This buying guide includes the list of top central AC brands and models including Carrier, Lennox, Trane, Armstrong Air and more. A comprehensive price list, full reviews, and product details are included below.