For some homes, the biggest obstacle is finding the space for the electrical needs.
“You need to have the room in your electrical panel to add a breaker in order to support the A/C,” says Chad Peterman, operations manager for Peterman Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Indianapolis. “Sometimes older homes have smaller electrical panels that might not take the A/C, and that could open a whole box of problems.”
Homeowners would have to incur the additional costs of upgrading the circuit breaker box, which averages $1,962 according to 2014 reviews from Angie’s List members, and requires the skills of a highly rated electrician.
“Most HVAC companies have an electrical contractor they work with and can recommend, someone who is familiar with the electrical needs of a new air conditioner,” Peterman says. Nonetheless, homeowners should take the time to vet the contractor when hiring an electrician.
If retrofitting your house with A/C is on your to-do list, our experts advise homeowners to hire HVAC services with caution. “Make sure you investigate the company,” Peterman says. “With a retrofit, there’s more extensive work than just a change-out. Make sure they pull the proper permits and are licensed, bonded and insured.”
Have you added A/C to your house? How did it go? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on Aug. 20, 2014.