How much does installing a new air conditioner cost?

A qualified HVAC company can help you find a new air conditioning unit that suits your house. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Robert N. of Berea, Ohio)

A qualified HVAC company can help you find a new air conditioning unit that suits your house. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Robert N. of Berea, Ohio)

In many parts of the United States, air conditioners aren't just "nice to have," they're necessary during the summer months. Newer A/C units are quieter, more powerful and more efficient than earlier models, and they can in many respects offer greater value. But each step up the cooling ladder comes with a commensurate cost. So how much does it really cost to install a new air conditioner?

Air conditioner basics

The first step in getting a new air conditioner installed is determining what size you need. A/C units are measured in tons, which refers to the amount of heat they can remove from a home in one hour. A one-ton unit, for example, can remove 12,000 British thermal units (BTUs), while a three-ton system will remove 36,000. The larger your house, the more cooling power you'll need: A 1,600 square foot house, for example, might be well-served by a two and a half-ton unit. However, many other variables factor into determining which size will work best in your home. For example, a basement is naturally cooler than first- or second-floor rooms. "You cannot calculate the size and tonnage by square foot alone," says Dave Hutchins, owner of Bay Area Air Conditioning in Tampa, Florida.

Next you will need to hire a contractor. While it is possible to purchase an air conditioner from a wholesaler and install it yourself, the level of skill required is substantial. Also, you must be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to handle refrigerant. For homes that have never had central air, an installation requires new breakers in your electrical panel, wires run through your foundation, new duct work linking to your existing HVAC and the mounting of your unit on metal brackets or a concrete pad.

You'll want to ensure a crucial task like this is done correctly, so avoid time sink (and potential injuries), find a reputable A/C pro and get a free quote on your system. For a basic, two-ton model, expect to pay $3,000; a mid-range unit will run approximately $5,000 and top-of-the-line A/C systems can creep up over $10,000.

Angie’s List members who had similar new air conditioners installed in 2013 reported paying an average of $5,043.64 with a general range of $4,603.43 to $5,483.85, not counting discounts many service providers offer to Angie’s List members.

Other A/C facts

To offset the cost of air conditioning, it's possible to find rebates or tax breaks from federal or state agencies. Unfortunately, federal tax credits expired at the end of 2013 for residential systems that are Energy Star-rated and aren't part of a new home build. You can check the Energy Star website for current tax credit information. State governments may offer rebates if you install a particularly high-efficiency system, but there are often limited in duration, so it's worth checking around before you hire a professional air conditioning company.

In addition, air conditioning manufacturers are phasing out the hyrdochlorofluorcarbon (HCFC) known as R-22, which is an ozone-destroying greenhouse gas. According to the EPA, manufacturers may no longer produce and companies may no longer install any new A/C units that contain R-22. Companies can still manufacture new parts like condensers with R-22 for replacement in existing units. According to Hutchins, "Homeowners can legally buy and install units that are charged with R-22 or any other refrigerant, [but] they cannot buy a jug or cylinder of refrigerant to add to their system." He add, "Some areas require a homeowners 'permit' form the building department, [but] I would not advise a homeowner to do this at all."

What will cost more

Several factors can increase the cost of your air condition installation. If you need a new thermostat, for example, or if the design of your house is such that substantial amounts of duct work are required to link with your existing furnace, you'll pay more than average.

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is also a critical factor. This ratio is a measure of an A/C unit's total cooling output (measured in BTU) during a season, divided by its total electric energy input. The higher the resulting number, the better. Currently, all units sold are over 13 SEER, and some can perform at up to 27 SEER. The advantages of improved SEER ratings are lowered energy costs and cooling times, but they come with a corresponding cost increase. If your hot season isn't particularly long, the increased price may not be worth it.

It's also possible to lower the noise of your air conditioner. Louder units can run over 80 decibels on a hot day, which is painful up close. Many municipalities have passed laws that require new installations to be under a certain decibel level. At 75 decibels, for example, you'll probably hear the unit from the garage or through a window on the same side of the house, while at 70 it will begin to fade into background noise. Most popular brands have high-efficiency, low noise models available for an increased price.

Air conditioning costs depend in large measure on whom you hire, what size of system you need and your A/C unit's overall efficiency.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on June 17, 2013. We've updated it with 2013 cost data and current tax credit information. We've also corrected some information based on your comments and consultation with highly rated companies.


i have a1998 a/c sys .ihave no knowledge in this field.i have about 5 estimate.themore estimate i have the more confused i quote states;replace the existing one by a3tonTrane,XL16i 2stage.XV80 furnace,high efficincy Trane coil and Honeywell8000 thermo.what are the things that come along with this upgrade.Please help asap.thanks

They are going to replace the old, inefficient system with a new 3 ton 16 seer (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) which is pretty good. The unit is also a 2 stage. A two-stage air conditioning system is more energy-efficient and better at maintaining a narrow temperature range and it will save you money on your utility bill. The Honeywell 8000 is a good thermostat and is needed with your unit because it works with 2 stage equipment. The furnace that is mentioned here is a Trane gas furnace that is 80% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). Not sure about the coil other than that it should be a 3 ton coil. Depending on what state you live in and what the temperatures are like during the year will determines if you need a 2 stage unit. If it doesn't get extremely hot 100 degrees+ or below around 15-20 degrees, i wouldn't see a need for a 2 stage unit. That one isn't a heat pump so there really isn't a need for a 2 stage unit unless it gets above the 100's. Although they say that 2 stage equipment is more efficient, if you were to get a 16 seer single stage unit with a TXV instead of a fixed orifice, that unit will be very efficient and good on the electric bill. Installing a 2 stage unit with a furnace + a coil, also being its a Trane can cost alot of money. Don't let them sell you a 2 stage unit if its not needed.

Is $9300 a good price for a 5ton 16 seer trane compressor unit and a variable speed air handler inside?

My current A/C broke down because it wasn't blowing out cold air. I don't know anything about A/C. I called for service and contractor said i have R22. He suggested for me to buy a 4 ton dry unit with M099 start up now because after 2015 they will no longer sell dry units. I researched online and people said R22 is on its way out and I should pick A/C with 410A. What is the difference between M099 and 410A? Should I get dry unit with M099 for $3500 or a totally new system for $8000 (those were quotes from my contractor).

R22 is currently being phased out because it is a ozone destroying gas MO99 is a replacement for R22 (bandaids, patch work) not a long term fix R410A is a true replacement for the long term.

Seems to me after reading many of these posts the A/C business is wrought with corruption and graft. I think many of these issues could be solved by just getting 2 or more estimates or opinions from reputable vendors. A vendor that has been in business for awhile is "probably" going to be legit. A friend of mine would have got ripped off by one of his supposed "friends" who charged him $1800 dollars more than some company he didn't even know. Unfortunately, I am also skeptical of "Christian" businesses, as they have been found to be more prone to fraud in my area of the country and this is from someone who goes to church every Sunday.

I recently moved into a new home in New York with no duct work and I am looking to install central air. The house faces north/south and is approximately 2500 sqft. It is a split level home and would need around 18 vents. I was quoted on a high efficiency mini duct system at $25,000 not including an electrician to ad a breaker panel. I was certainly expecting this to be a major cost but not that much. Does this seem right?

For a job this big, and especially if you're suspicious of the number being quoted, it's always worthwhile to get three bids from different highly rated Angie's List contractors and compare them. It takes more time on the front end, but it's well worth the savings in both costs and potential headaches for a major renovation. Angie's List founder Angie Hicks explains more about why it's important to solicit three bids at Thanks for your question! -- Paul F. P. Pogue 

I need a new condenser and inside heat/and a/c system, I have had a manual J load calc. done recommended for 1482sq ft was 2.5 ton, I live on a bay in just outside Houston Tx, All the contractors are pushing a 3 ton unit because they don't make 2.5 ton unit in variable speed blower, some contractors are saying a variable speed blower wouldn't help if you do not get the complete variable speed system I would just be throwing away money, should I just get a regular system at 2.5. ton if so what brands do you recommend or should I get variable speed blower and 3 ton unit

I have been a service tech for commercial and residential and find your question the same question I would have. I would like to know what the design temps are. I think energy star would be 78 interior or target temperature and the design temp is based on the average out door temp. Do you think 78 would be comfortable on a hot day and do you find the design temperature to be what you have experienced in the past summers. I know Texas can get hot but not sure of the humidity there ....Lets say the temperature goes above design temp don't expect to hold 78 degrees on those days...OK you will save energy cost with the smaller unit for most part... Back here in the east we have a shorter cooling season and it gets hot on those few days in the year. The customer who just paid thousands expects to be cool and doesn't care about the energy saving because the electric bill is still gonna be high anyway..Most ac blower motors have from two to five speed settings anyway. That can help with the humidity but not the capacity It..I guess your question is do I want 4,6 or 8 cylinders.

Go to a company that has an ACTUAL ENGINEER and have this FULLY evaluated and calculated. There is NO such thing as "not having or not making" the proper sized unit. At the VERY least you can get a two stage unit that will run say, 3 and 1.5 ton cycles. or 3 and 2 ton cycles. When they calculate they will take into account your insualatio or the amount that you will have at the end of your project, they will calculate EACH room by overhang of eaves, shading, direction or orientation of outside walls and the number of doors and windows and thier sizes. Each room will be calculated seperately, kitchen will include over and cooking use etc. Laundry room the heat of the dryer etc. They SHOULD also calculate by the average number of PEOPLE the house is designed to house, 5 people generate a LOT of heat. Add two 55 pound dogs and a cat or two and even more ac is needed! The size of each duct and return must be calculated and total flows known in order to properly set up the handler cycles. For instance a south facing master bedroom wiht two large windows, 2 adults and 2 large dogs sleeping in it take a lot more conditioning than a Norht facing small bedroom for a single child. YOU WILL want a variable fan unit no matter what. If you over size the unit it will take too much humidity and freeze the heat exchanger over or cause other problems. Too large a unit will start and stop a LOT and wear parts un-necessarily, it actually makes the hosue LESS comfortable than a smaller unit running constantly. It is better to err to the lower in a little than too big. Yes it means that the unit will run more, but with less air blowing etc. It may get a little too warm in the house at the worst time of day if the unit is too far undersized. All of this is why they have designed 2 stage compressors that run at say 3, 5 ton or 2,3 ton. It just makes a LOT of sense. Have your ducts REPLACED with properly sized ducts and be SURE that you have properly sized air return ducts in EVERY space. There is NOTHING more expensive than losing all your conditioned air and having to heat or cool outside air. THe air conditioned air being erturned to the handler is the ONLY way that you can lower the temperature more than 15 degrees average from the outside temperature. In other words without a return a 100 degree day will only allow the interior to get to 85 degrees or so and run the unit constantly. BEFORE you start the AC project, look at your roof, in the south, meaning houston, (provided you haev a pitched roof with attic space) you want to have thermal reflective barrier inside your attic under the rafters to within 4 inches of the top plates and 4 inches of the ridges. This will REFLECT the radiant heat and severely reduce costs. If your ducts are in the attic they will not be absorbing nearly as much radiant and attic ambient heat. If you have many cold nights a year then also place the reflective barrier over your insulation! This stops heat loss. If anyone tells you "we can't" t means they DONT want to or only deal with certain units or companies. Most of these companies have guys that because they have been doing it for 15 years just take a guess at loads and ac sizing. This is not the way to do things and certainly does not create the cheapest and best cooling for a house. I have seen oversized units installed that cost the home owner more to operate and less comfortable than the proper sized unit, when I say more to operate, I mean over twoce as much! Good luck and if you cant find a good company then find an engineering firm and ask for a referral or pay for the load calculations yourself and have the system drawm and designed by them. Tell them NOT do designate anything but hte ac sizing (or use the words or equivalent), in other words that you will negotiate and choose the unit and contractor, unless the engineer's referral beats the bids you get. Good Luck

I just bought a 2 family home in CT. ifirst fllor is tenant I have the 2nd and third floor. For my unit only I am looking to add a whole new system on the 3rd floor including heat and ac. New duct work as well. That floor is unfinished at the moment but insulated so they have free run to put duct work in. The unit will heat and cool the 2nd and 3rd floor which total about 1800sqft. I was quoted $25k for a high efficency 95% gas system with 2 zones. Are they nuts or am I unrealistic?

I have a 1200 sqf house with full basement, I have a problem with the central air 2 ton... the condenser went bad and leaked all of its coolant.. the unit is approximate 15-16yrs old.. I had a repair man come to look at it to find out about these things.. is it a fair deal to have it replaced for 2600.00,, I absolutely have no idea....any information will be greatly appreciated...

2600 for outdoor unit and new evaporator inside is a good price. If they are just replacing the outside condensor, get another contractor because why would anyone match a new unit up to a 16 year old evap is beyond me and make sure the new unit is a 410 unit. You do not want a dry 22 unit . 22 is going away. Again do not match a new unit to a 16 year old evaporator. And get the 10 year parts warranty. All manufactures offer that now. And it DOES NOT cost extra. You just need to register the equipment Online. The manufacturer DOES NOT charge for it. I know someone who charges to extend the parts warranty. Big time theif Licensed. Pro here

Our home has 10-12 ft. ceilings, and area is about $3500. We bought the house with a SEER 12 or 13 unit that seems to be lacking and that cannot provide the cooling or heating without a very high monthly power bill. What is roughly the cost of a suitable unit with installations to bring down the monthly power cost? Thanks.

You should hire an engineer or heat load calculation specialist and pay for the calcs. Also review your insulation and ….most importantly you did not mention whether you have ceiling fans? Without ceiling fans the house will feel cold in winter and hot in summer in my experience. Modern fans on low speed, blowing up in winter and down in summer are very efficient, more so than the handler blower is. I would look at this as a major project to assure proper insulation and circulation as well as properly sizing the ac system Good luck

My a/c should be replaced. My condo is 1300 sq feet, windows are tinted, live on 3rd floor of a 9 story bldg. the windows and doors are leaky, via a match test, so I use weather stripping to reduce $$ for cooling. I also installed a humidistat and in the summer months, when the apt is not occupied, set t=75, humidistat at 65. Is there anything else I can do in addition to purchasing a new a/c system, to keep my home mold free?

I was just quoted $8000 to replace outdoor condenser only (4 ton unit). The quote doesn't have any sort of breakdown. Seems like a lot considering the base cost of units. Is it?

I don't think so !! 8,000$ Too much . How many seer #1 ? 2 . Are you replacing the air handler also ? 3 . Ask for a complete break down inspection of the unit . Units are always cheaper to the contractor or the tradesman / installer . ok 6,500 for both parts 13 seer ... ...

Help please, our A/c are blowing air but not cold . Should we replace it or it can be repaired?

No you should have atm hvac guy check your Freon levels in the unit

Hi, Great thread...appreciate all the knowledgeable folks out there. Had a few questions. My compressor went bad on my Carrier unit and I'm being quoted ~$4000k to purchase/install a new outdoor condenser [Payne 4 ton 208-230v, 1 phase compressor (RR incl.)] Does this sound like a fair and reasonable price? It seems like a R-410A unit would be more efficient but I'd need to also replace my air handler. The other question I had was, is there simple math to determine the cost advantage of the more efficient R-410A over R22? So if I invest $2000 more to replace the whole system with R-410, I'll recoup my investment in X years? Appreciate any advice and experiences people can share. Thanks

Yes 4k is very expensive for just the outdoor unit considering it is a Payne. You need to find out the efficiency and the refrigerant doesn't make a difference in efficiency. Stick with 410 refrigerant so you don't get bit in the long run purchasing a unit with r22. That refrigerant will be obsolete by 2020.

I was told I had a coolant leak. They put in 4 pounds and said I should have it checked in the next few day for a leak, so they come back and say it is very expensive to get a leak tested like $1000.00. And perhaps I should just have the whole unit replaced. It has only been used for 5 yrs however this home is 12 yrs old. It sat empty for 6 yrs. what would be your suggestion?

First, the JOB of a service tech is to check and FIND the leak. Without knowing what and where the leak is there is NO way to tell you to replace anything! I would write the state licensing bureau involved and file a formal complaint agianst these guys. Would you replace your car if you had a radiator leak? Think about it. You could have a bad accumulator, a bad heat exchanger (radiator like thing) a leak in the copper tubing (which they wont replace normally so your new unit will leak). You could have a leak in the pump itself ..all kids of possibilities. The SOURCE and CAUSE of the leak must be determined. There are dyes and systems to find this leak and any tech should have used it when they first beleived there was a leak. After filing a formal complaint go find a good honest company.

Needs to be replaced. Adding refrigerant is a temporary bandaid.

Finding a leak is expensive due to time it takes them to find it. However, if you really want to look for a leak I'd start at the main connection points and take some soapy water and put over the top of the joints...if you see bubbles coming out after applying you found your leak $2 investment. I'd get quotes from another company. $1000 seams pretty expensive unless you have TONS of piping.

Total bull reply.. the leak may be repairable. May not even be in the unit. Could be a fitting on compressor. And i have never charged a 1000 to finda leak in a residential central ac unit. I am sure my post wont get shown. Get a different contractor. They putin 4 lbs? What does the system hlold. If they put in four lbs and it all leaked out in 1 week with nitrogen you will find that leak in 5 mins Letssee if sone hnesty makes it on here

I suggest you find a different company as this one is definitely trying to rip you off. To find a leak they inject a dye into the refrigerant at a cost of approximately $20. They return, unfortunately you pay for the visit, and check with a black light and yellow lensed glasses. The combination of the light and glasses color cause the dye to glow yellow. If the leak is in the condenser coil, the replacement depending on your unit could be less than $1000, including labor. I have an Armstrong unit and it is around 20 years old, same age as the house which doesn't mean anything, and only recently have I had to have any more major repairs done. The approximate charge of refrigerant is $35 per pound. I would seriously consider a second opinion or even a third. Best of luck to you.

We live in Portland,Oregon and just had freon added. It was $65 per pound. Mechanic just here now checking for leaks. Looks like there's 2. One in the outside unit and one in the inside unit. OUch!!!

If your unit has r-22 you can expect to pay between $75-$100 per pound. I work in the industry. $81 is the national average

81 is the national. Avg.. what a rip. Off. Nobody i woreked for ever charged 80 lb.. even when 22 got at ts highest. Cmon angies lkst i thought ou looked out for the consumer. I am an hvac pro with a small company and 80/lb insults me.. thats like a250% mark up. Customers deserve better...

That's a little steep dude. Average is $80??? I don't know where you live, but it's about $35 a pound where I'm at, and I don't see it could be 3 times that anywhere in the US. I live in the south too.

I paid $100 per pound and I know I was ripped off. Another company said $60 But it was to late by then.

The EPA requires you to be certified for refrigerant handling it is very misleading to state that an homeowner can install thier own a/c system

To correctly size a heating and cooling system a contractor should visibly check out the complete existing system including: furnace / air handler, cooling /evaperation coil, condensing / heat pump unit, refrigeration line set, line voltage wire sizing and length, ductwork sizing and material is is made from and type of insulation protecting it. Measure existing supply air / return air grills and type of grill. That is first step if you have a existing system. If you don't have an existing forced air system the contractor can skip most of the above mentioned. Your home needs to have a heat load calculation done to correctly size the new forced air system to work properly and perform to maximum efficiency levels. Homeowners should get at least 3 estimates from qualified installation contractors and be sure to check out the company you decide to use. Ask for references and check with BBB and the state contractors license to see if the have any complaints against them. Also do a search on the web to see if anyone has commented on the installation the recieved. Good luck... A correctly installed system can be a dream come true ... a system not correctly sized or installed can be a lifetime nightmare.

if you have two ac, upstairs and down. Nobody is upstairs during the day. Should you just run the air before bedtime or is cheaper run all day and keep the temperature down

WHat you are saying MIGHT be true in some circumstances. If the upstairs is block wall exterior then you will lose a lot of money and never be comfortable especially in the south where night and day temps hardly vary. also it depends on how each system is set up. I have seen some that are not "upstairs/downstairs" truly but actually are up rear and down front side etc…having both units wiht up and down ducting. IT is almost always best to limit the temperature in unused areas to some maximum in summer and some minimum in winter, turning the unit off creates exceptional loading at start up and long heat sink times (the time to change the temperature of the walls and floors themselves!). Best to limit the temps to the highesst in summer that YOU find comfortable and lowest in winter etc, with regard to how quickly the house recovers the temperature at use. be sure and assess your insulation and window/door leaks etc! This all helps a lot.

My next door neighbor complains that my compressor makes a sound that disturbs her sleep. The unit is 2 yrs old, and is highly efficient and quiet except for a deep pulsating noise that I have not noticed before. The frequency is low, and actually causes small objects in both houses to vibrate. The installer says the pulsation is normal.....Any thoughts?

I read a lot of questions regarding the size of an HVAC system for a house base on sq ft, and my recommendation is to do a heat load calculation base on a manual j, every home is different. The size and quality of windows, the R factor of insulation, the high of the ceilings, the position of the house, appliances, occupancy, position of house (facing south or east), are some factors to considerate to define how many BTHU the house need to remove the heat. The role of a tumb (400 sq ft per ton) does not to be considerate for your new investment.

Most of the sizes mentioned above are Over Sized! You can fined some free sizing programs on line for sizing A/C.

Many of you folks are asking about A/C sizing (tonnage) needed for particular spaces. There is NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL for A/C. Old school used to use rules of thumb that have long been proven to be severely lacking in accuracy. Many many factors play into A/C sizing: insulation, doors, windows, occupants, exposure to the sun, shading from trees, slab or foundation and the list goes on. Do yourself a favor and have a contractor come in and do a "heat gain calculation" using the ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) Manual J. This is NOT something you can do yourself. Old school it was done on paper and a rather lengthy procedure. New school it can be done on a laptop computer in a matter of a few hours and a print out presented on the spot. Typical software will provide "good", "better", "best" systems and are priced accordingly. If an estimator says something like "you need one ton of cooling for every four hundred square feet" run, fast because he is a hack. I know from where I speak because I have over 44 years in the industry, hold a Massachusetts Master Sheet Meeal License, Refrigeration Technician License and am a full time instructor at a post secondary private trade school.

Maybe you should stick to sheet metal. 400 square feet per ton is a good rule to go by if you do not get a manual j heat load. Before you call other companies "hacks" maybe you should just give good advice. For example, if you are not sure what size unit to purchase, any licensed contractor can do a manual J heat load and take any questions out of the equation. If they do not have the program on a portable laptop, a mere 75.00 is the cost to have a outside company do it for you. There is no good, better or best option. It goes by each individual house with all factors taken into consideration and has only ONE option of what size you need. Best advise- Get at least three quotes and compare prices, dont be pressured into buying, get at least a 10 year warranty, and stay away from companies that immediately want to bad mouth other companies or are "all in one companies" ( a/c, plumbing and electrical all in one company). I am speaking with over 35 years experience and run a very successful company in florida.

My reference to that in my post is for the equipment options. We use Wrightsoft's heat load calculation software with our students and after the numbers are recorded from the structure to be heated or cooled the program selects the equipment from a database and the report comes back with those options. For example "Good" is a minimum SEER condensing unit w/coil and an air handler w/o an ECM (variable speed motor). "Better" would have a higher SEER system w/variable speed. "Best" would be max SEER, two stage compressor, variable speed air handler, ERV fresh air makeup, zone dampers and any other bell or whistle available. For a guy with over 35 years experience I was disappointed to see you say 1 ton for 400 sq. ft. is a "good rule to go by" when it's been proven over and over that it doesn't work,

400 sqft per ton is misleading. Depends where you live. Since the difference difference from 400 sqft per ton lets say on 1200sqft home being 3ton and at the 600sqft per ton being at 2 ton thats a full ton difference. To get the most you can out of a unit, the guys who REALLY care do a heat load calc. Does it make you a hack if you don't do a calc, not necesarrily, but you would not get my busines. And not saying this other guy in fla is like this, but jus because a company is successful monitarly, it does not make thrm good. All my jobs are to spec with manual j.. and i mean everyone

Hello, I read your comment and was glad to see someone with knowledge and not wanting to take advantage of a customer. My AC service is telling me to start saving for a new system. Mine is about 10 yrs. old and it's been serviced 2 to 3 times a year.. They always say it's in great condition but lately, I replaced a compacitor, motor, duct work, etc. He says it will probably cost around $8000,,for 2.5 ton unit.. It's a Rheem... My house is about 1600 sq. ft.. I have a wall unit in our family room because that was just added on to make the extra sq. ftg. My question to you is, Would I need to replace all the duct work too? And what would an AC unit cost now? Thank you in advance for your advice.. Sharon Cocina

If you're having your system serviced more than 1 time a year, you are throwing away money. My A/C system is almost 25 yrs old, never had a component replaced, and it's still running strong. Granted, 25 year is extraordinary but as long as it's blowing cold air (~18 to 21 degrees F difference between outlet air vent and inlet air vent) you likely don't have a problem. I would have replaced mine years ago just for efficiency sake if I was in a more harsh climate instead of So Calif.

Sharon, Because I am not in the field on a daily basis and your system is sight unseen by me it would be impossible for me to give you a replacement cost. However I can answer a few of your questions. As for your repairs, replacing a motor and capacitor is not unusual in a system that old. These are electromechanical devices subject to wear and tear. Some last longer, some don't for various reasons. You stated that "it's been serviced 2 or 3 times a year" however you didn't state if it was routine maintenance or out and out service calls. If it was maintenance, good for you since all systems require this. If not and the service was for repairs it sounds like you've hit a streak of failures that may or may not have been preventable. There is no way for me to tell without further information. With a 10 y.o. system you are probably using refrigerant R22 which has been scheduled for phase out since 2010. The replacement is R410A which does have specific air flow requirements. That being said there is a good possibility that the duct work would need to be replaced. In our area, and probably most of the country, utilities are taking these complete system change outs seriously. By switching to the new system and to insure you've had a quality installation with proper duct etc., they've developed a program that insures just that. It's called QIV or Quality Installation Verification. They have an independent firm who comes in behind the installer, verifies that the job was done correctly and that the system is providing maximum efficiency. This is good for the consumer and contractor alike. As a result, in the process of inspecting a job for replacement it is incumbent on the contractor to inspect and measure the duct for adequate air flow. Unfortunately many systems will be found inadequate because R22 systems weren't quite as intolerant of poor air flow. Not so with R410A and if the duct cannot meet the requirement it must be replaced. Compound this with the fact that in the 1990's the bar was lowered for qualified techs due to the lack of up and coming techs and many systems wound up with barely adequate ducts. As I stated in a previous post the square footage rule does not work despite what a counter post said. I didn't accuse anyone of being a hack but believe me they are out there. There was no intended snark aimed at anyone in particular with my hack statement and I took exception to the remark "maybe you should stick to sheet metal" which was clearly and squarely aimed at me. This forum is about information which I do posses and my intention was to provide it without bias. My suggestion to you is to get at least three estimates so you can compare proposals. Look for contractors who are ACCA members and have NATE certified techs and possibly are RSES members. NATE is a national testing agency which helps insure that techs know what they are doing. RSES is a national educational society that offers training to its members and works with NATE to certify techs. Sorry I can't offer more than sound advice and I hope this helps.

Florida has a new law that when you replace your unit, the contractor has to inspect and seal your ducts, Hmm that adds to the price of replacing the unit. Also most contractors will want to replace the ducts rather than inspect and seal the ducts which is a lower price option .

Buyer be ware. Good properly installed and supported Airconditioning equipment is your best value. Purchase a system today for say $6000 if you have to replace it again in 10 years because it did not fit your needs, failed to work properly or was expensive and problematic to maintain it may cost you more like $9000 to replace it. You have spent then $15,000 plus repairs on something that did not fit your needs. I have estimated, installed and designed airconditioning systems for 35 years and the best system is the one that is installed by the most qualified contractor not the average contractor or the least qualified contractor.


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