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Technician working on an air conditioner - Jarboe's Plumbing, Heating and Cooling

Factors that Affect Air Conditioner Cost in Louisville

Is this your Louisville air conditioner’s last summer? If it’s over 10 years old and you’re seeing us often for air conditioner repairs, it’s in your best interest to prep for air conditioner replacement now. Of course, it’s no small project – air conditioner cost is a major concern!

Unfortunately, there’s no quick and easy answer that covers air conditioner cost – each home and family have different needs and preferences! Don’t be tempted to search air conditioner cost online, because the prices you see are for equipment only, not installation, and that equipment that comes up isn’t necessarily even the model your home needs.

The right way to learn air conditioner cost and to correctly budget for your air conditioner replacement project is to call your trusted Louisville HVAC contractor for an estimate. Jarboe’s is happy to help you out – we match you with the right new air conditioner to handle your home’s cooling needs, and account for installation to give you an accurate air conditioner cost.

Air conditioners aren’t a one size fits all deal – if they were, there wouldn’t be so many different models on the market. There are different capacities, efficiency ratings, and features that affect air conditioner cost. Plus, some homes have more installation needs than others, which also affects air conditioner cost. In this blog, we examine those factors to help you understand how they impact the price you pay for air conditioner installation.

When it’s time to replace your Louisville air conditioner, give us a call to schedule an estimate to learn an exact air conditioner cost for your project.

Average Louisville Air Conditioner Cost

Yes, we did just tell you to call us to learn the exact air conditioner cost of your project. But, we also know that most Louisville homeowners like to have a rough idea of what to expect beforehand. It’s no secret that air conditioner replacement can be pricey, and the last thing we want is for you to be blindsided when you see our estimate.

With that in mind, the national average air conditioner cost is $4,630 for equipment and installation. The average is the middle of the road air conditioner cost, and prices range both higher and lower. The majority of homeowners pay somewhere between $3,350 and $5,910 when they have a new air conditioner installed.

The actual air conditioner cost you are quoted may be more or less than these numbers, and that’s largely dependent on the factors we detail in this blog. As you read on, consider that average air conditioner cost as a baseline, and evaluate your home’s needs in the areas before to get an idea if your air conditioner cost is likely to be more or less.

Capacity’s Effect on Louisville Air Conditioner Cost 

Air conditioners are measured in tons, and this doesn’t mean their weight, but their capacity! Why does the HVAC industry measure air conditioner capacity in tons if the equipment doesn’t weigh tons? The answer is actually a little bit of cooling history.

Prior to the modern air conditioning systems we know and love today, buildings used actual ice for cooling. The amount of ice needed to cool a building was measured in tons. Today, the ton measure reflects the mount of heat needed to melt down a block of ice weighing one ton.

One ton of cooling capacity for air conditioners equals 12,000 BTUh. The BTUh measure is how many heat units (BTUs, British Thermal Units) can be removed by that air conditioner in an hour. Air conditioners in homes start at 1.5 tons and increase in .5-ton increments to 5 tons. Generally, lower capacity units are the cheapest, and the price increases as capacity increases.

How do you know what capacity you need? It depends on your home’s cooling load, which is the amount of heat that needs to be removed to achieve a desired temperature. Cooling load is affected by many factors, which an HVAC technician takes into account when he or she determines the appropriate unit size for your home.

Unfortunately, some homeowners have the misconception that installing larger capacity equipment than they need will deliver better cooling. Or, that they can save money by buying a smaller unit than their cooling load warrants. Air conditioner capacity doesn’t work like that. Under and oversized units cost more to operate because they don’t operate efficiently. They’re more likely to break down and have a shorter service life because of issues that result from this inefficient operation.

Energy Efficiency’s Effect on Louisville Air Conditioner Cost 

The energy efficiency of a cooling unit is another factor that weighs greatly on air conditioner cost. An air conditioner’s energy efficiency is reflected by a SEER rating, which stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio – this basically tells you how efficiently the air conditioner uses the energy it consumes to remove heat. 

For homeowners in our Kentucky service area, the minimum SEER available for split system air conditioners is 14; for Indiana homeowners, the minimum is 13 SEER. These are legally mandated by the Department of Energy. Split system air conditioners are a very common configuration in Louisville area homes – these air conditioning systems have indoor and outdoor components.

13 or 14 SEER is the lowest you are able to purchase and install, depending on the state you live. There are air conditioners on the market that go all the way up to 26 SEER. As far as air conditioner cost goes, the lower the SEER, the lower the unit’s efficiency and generally the price. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit and the higher the air conditioner cost. 

You are able to install any SEER air conditioner as long as the legal minimum is met. There are advantages to paying more in air conditioner cost upfront for a more efficient unit. Since the air conditioner is more efficient, it requires less energy to cool your home than a unit with a lower SEER rating. This means energy consumption in your home is lowered, and also your utility bills.

Features’ Effect on Louisville Air Conditioner Cost 

Air conditioners don’t just differ from one to the next on capacity and efficiency – features matter! There are basic models and then there are enhanced air conditioners that are packed with different features. Why would a homeowner want a unit with more features? Air conditioner manufacturers design air conditioning units with features that improve energy efficiency as well as the user experience.

Where air conditioner cost is concerned, basic models are the lowest in price and as you add features, the price of the unit typically increases. Some features you’ll see as you shop for a new air conditioner may include:

  • Communication capabilities: Some air conditioner manufacturers equip certain models with proprietary communication technology and the unit is able to communicate with a hub that tracks system details and alerts you if necessary. 
  • Sound reduction: Every air conditioner makes some noise as it turns on, cycles, and shuts off. Some homeowners find this noise disruptive, so manufacturers have created air conditioners that utilize innovative technology and enhanced component insulation to lessen the unit’s operating noise.
  • Warranty: Air conditioner warranties cover the system for a period of time, in case certain components fail. Extended warranties are available through many brands which lengthen your warranty term and increase your protection.

Installation Effects on Louisville Air Conditioner Cost 

Capacity, energy efficiency, and features are all factors that effect the unit portion of air conditioner cost. You also need to factor in the cost of installation. When you receive a quote from an HVAC contractor, the price includes both the unit cost and the installation cost for a project total. Air conditioner installation is absolutely something that needs to be done by a professional – it is dangerous and often unnecessarily costly to DIY it.

The air conditioner cost for installation is the price you pay for the contractor’s labor, time, and expertise. In simple air conditioner replacements, there is not much more needed. However, some homes require additional work to allow the new air conditioner to properly function.

Additional work that a Louisville home may need during air conditioner installation is commonly related to the duct system. In an older home that’s never had central forced air conditioning before, there likely isn’t an existing duct system so a new duct system must be installed. Some homes that already have ductwork still need new ducts, due to the age of the system or if it was inefficiently designed. Many homes benefit from duct sealing to improve the overall efficiency of the HVAC system – as much as 30 percent of heating and cooling energy escapes through gaps in the duct system in the average home!

Get an Estimate for Louisville Air Conditioner Cost from Jarboe’s

The only way to get an accurate quote on air conditioner cost for your Louisville area home is to work with an HVAC professional. Jarboe’s is happy to provide you with an estimate for air conditioner cost! We take the time to evaluate all important factors and determine the right air conditioning unit that meets your demands.

Schedule an estimate for air conditioner cost and get the ball rolling on your air conditioner replacement project – contact Jarboe’s today and work with our NATE-certified cooling technicians.