We receive a lot of phone calls and E-mails from people asking the question; “How much does a new AC cost?” In this article we’re going to discuss how much it costs to install a new central air conditioner in Phoenix, AZ. Keep in mind, the price may vary in your particular area if you’re not located in Arizona.
That said, having been in this industry for going on three decades, and owning Magic Touch Mechanical for twenty years this January, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many of the best HVAC contractors all over the country. What I’ve found is; typically, the cost of a replacing an air conditioner or an entire central heating and cooling system may vary by about $1,000 or so.
If you found this article because you searched the term; “how much does a new air conditioner cost”, you want to get right to it and you probably won’t like my immediate answer: The price of installing a new air conditioner is between $4,000 and $16,000.
Yes, I know you just said, that’s a huge spread, can you narrow it down? – I know, because that’s what everyone says! So let’s break it down:
How much does a new split system air conditioner cost?
The most common type of central air conditioning system is called a “split system”. This type of system contains two or three main components with one component, the condenser, located outside, and the other component(s), the air handler, or evap. coil & furnace, inside.
Before government regulations required higher efficiency air conditioners (SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating), it was common for homeowners to choose to only replace the air conditioning portion of their split system (just the condenser aka condensing unit) and this would typically cost a few thousand dollars.
With the new minimum air conditioner SEER rating of 14 SEER however, both the indoor and outdoor components need to be replaced in order to meet the standard. The indoor components typically require a lot of additional labor to replace than the condenser by itself, which has driven replacement costs up significantly in the last 10 years. Where they are located, i.e. attic, closet, or garage makes a difference too. Expect to pay approximately $500 more for an air handler or furnace replacement in an attic than one located in a garage or closet. Attic furnace installation is very common in the Phoenix, AZ area, not so much further East.
Cost for a complete slit system replacement installation (both air conditioning and heating system):
- GOOD – 14 SEER Split Heat Pump or AC with Gas Furnace (Basic System) cost: $4,000 – $6,000*
- BETTER – 15 SEER to 16 SEER Split Heat Pump or AC with Gas Furnace (Advanced System) cost: $6,000 – $9,000*
- BEST – 17 SEER to 18 SEER Split Heat Pump or AC with Gas Furnace (Advanced System) cost: $7,000 – $10,000*
- ULTIMATE – 18 SEER to 25+SEER Split Heat Pump or AC with Gas Furnace (Rolls Royce System) cost: $9,000 – $16,000*
*Depending on brand, tonnage (BTU Capacity), features, and minor component changes needed to accommodate the new system. The level of difficulty also plays a huge roll in the installation price of your new AC & Heating system. Obviously, your contractors labor costs will be lower for homes with easy access than say a home with 14’ ceilings and a tight scuttle (attic access) opening.
How much does a new rooftop package air conditioner cost?
There are two main types of rooftop air conditioners; “Packaged” or Package Heat Pumps, and Package Gas/Electric or “Gas-Packs”. Installing rooftop units was very common practice for builders in the 70’s and rooftop heat pumps really took off in the 80’s and 90’s. The trend in newer homes seems to be going back to installing split air conditioners.
The price range tends to be lower than split systems for two reasons. First, the highest efficiency package heat pump (or gas pack) is 16 SEER, so there are fewer options. Second, there are many less labor hours and access issues associated with rooftop units.
Cost for a complete package rooftop air conditioner replacement installation (both air conditioning and heating system):
- GOOD – 14 SEER Package Heat Pump or Gas Pack (Basic System) cost: $4,000 – $7,000*
- BETTER – 15 SEER Package Heat Pump or Gas Pack (Basic System) cost: $5,000 – $8,000*
- BEST – 16 SEER Package Heat Pump or Gas Pack (Basic System) cost: $6,000 – $9,000*
Installing a commercial rooftop package heat pump
About the author: Rich Morgan is the founder and co-owner of Magic Touch Mechanical, Inc. – Mesa, AZ. He has twenty-nine years’ experience in the air conditioning and heating business, twenty years as the owner of Magic Touch. He is credited with being one of the first HVAC Contractors in the Phoenix, AZ market to fully embrace home performance contracting (a holistic approach to whole home “performance” i.e.; how things like insulation, doors and windows, building air leakage, duct design and leakage, etc. effect the efficiency, comfort, and safety of a building and the health of its occupants.
If you own a home or building in the Phoenix-Metro area and would like to schedule a free estimate for a replacement air conditioner, a whole home energy audit, or any of the other services Magic Touch Mechanical provides, contact us today and see why our motto is; “We Do It Better Than It Has To Be!”
If you live outside of the Phoenix are, we recommend you read about how to choose the right air conditioning company and check out some of our air conditioner side-by-side product comparisons.