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Why Do A/C Installation Replacement Costs Vary?

If the time has come to replace the cooling system in your Sullivan County home, you will probably find the decision to be more complex than you expected: today’s A/C equipment is high-tech and feature-packed, and should be carefully matched to the conditions in your home.

If you’re shopping for a central air conditioner from several reputable contractors (which we highly recommend), you may get a wide range of prices to get the job done. The main reason that happens is because each bid includes different features; what is optional on one quote may be included in another.

To define what makes one bid a better value for you than another, it’s important to know what factors influence the cost of a cooling system installation. Here are seven of the most important ones:

  • Capacity of the unit – Central air conditioners come in many size (or capacities) which are typically measured in tons. A one-ton system can output 12,000 BTUs in an hour – about enough to cool 400 square feet of floor space in room with standard ceiling heights.
    Keep in mind that when it comes to choosing the size of your A/C system, bigger isn’t necessarily better: what’s more important is to match the size of your unit to your home’s “cooling load,” which is influenced by a number of factors beyond the size of your home. Beware of A/C contractors who try to sell you units based on square footage alone, without visiting your home for a proper assessment.
  • Labor – Sometimes installing a new A/C requires making modifications to your ductwork, or even your home. When you’re comparing quotes, make sure you understand exactly what is included and what is an add-on cost when it comes to labor and materials.
  • Equipment brand – Just like any other consumer item, the brand of your air conditioner has a big influence on how expensive it is – but not necessarily on how well it performs. The key is to find the best value for your budget among the many reputable brands that are available today.
  • Efficiency – SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a measure like MPG in your car – the higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently it makes cold air. In general, you’ll pay about 10 percent more for every 1-point increase in SEER, all other things being equal. Just realize that efficiency is about more than SEER – leaky ductwork or improper insulation, for example, can raise your energy consumption – sometimes dramatically.
  • Your home – The size, shape, and materials that make up your home all influence the cost of a cooling system installation – as do the amount of insulation, the condition of your ductwork, and other factors. The same system installed in two different homes can have widely different costs depending on the amount of work required to complete the job. Again, beware of quotes based on simple formulas rather than on an onsite visit from your contractor.
  • Contractor expertise – Beware of the “cheapest” bid; you usually get what you pay for. Instead, limit your choices to licensed, bonded contractors who give you a detailed estimate, can provide references, and have been around at least 10 years.

As you can see, many factors will influence the cost of an air conditioner installation – be sure to make an apples-to-apples comparison so you can judge what offer represents the best value for your home and family.

It’s great to take a plunge on a new A/C – just look before your leap! Contact Black Bear today for a FREE, comprehensive estimate on a smart and affordable cooling solution for your Sullivan County home!