How Much Does It Cost To Install Air Conditioning?


(ductless A/C for 600 sq.ft. zone)
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Air Conditioning Costs

Indoor Cost Guides      Air-Conditioning & Heating (HVAC)      Air Conditioning Costs

Air conditioning (A/C) comes in various types and sizes of equipment that all offer the highest cooling potential, but also the highest cost to operate compared to other cooling approaches like ventilation or evaporative cooling.

The cost to install average air conditioning depends upon type, cooling capacity and zone coverage, efficiency rating, preparation and special needs, and the labor rate.

Type and cost summary

In the following table the Cost figure is based on average air conditioning for zones ranging from 340 sq.ft. to 1,000 sq.ft.; and includes transport, material, equipment, and waste.

Type (cooling zone) Pros Cons Cost
Window (340 sq.ft.) Easy install/remove Window blockage $253
  Low cost Window only location  
    Lesser efficiency  
Portable (340 sq.ft.) Easy install/remove Ducted exhaust $345
  Low cost Occupies floor space  
  Flexible location    
Ductless (600 sq.ft.) Flexible location Some wall-cutting $1,416
  Higher efficiency    
Wall (1,000 sq.ft.) Flexible location Wall opening $2,225
  Under window    
Central (1,000 sq.ft.) Higher efficiency Ducting adds cost $3,598
  Multiple zones Some wall-cutting  

Other considerations and costs

  • Taxes and permit fees are not included.
  • Energy efficient A/C will save money, and in some cases rebates may be available.
  • For A/C units of greater than 12,000 BTU/h(or 3.5 kilowatts) a multi-phase electrical circuit is generally required.
  • For a sunny room, add 10% more A/C capacity than required for room size.
  • Add 600 BTU/h per person if usually occupied by more than two persons.
  • For the kitchen, add 4,000 more BTU/h than required for room size.
  • During the initial inspection the contractor should inform the homeowner of any and all necessary modification or upgrade on electrical circuits or building structure.

DIY considerations

  • Window and portable units are highly suitable for DIY, and split systems are commonly provided with a DIY kit from vendors.
  • Wall and central units require greater skills and perhaps professional licensing.


  • Craftsman Estimator Costbook, complete series year 2015.
  • Latest prices found on Home Depot and other vendor Web sites.
  • Literature review of DIY Web sites.
How much does it cost to install air conditioning in your city?
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Cost by city

(ductless A/C for 600 sq.ft. zone)
  • New York, NY$2,275
  • Bronx, NY$1,869
  • Brooklyn, NY$1,558
  • Philadelphia, PA$1,943
  • Washington, DC$1,686
  • Atlanta, GA$1,526
  • Miami, FL$1,388
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL$1,454
  • Minneapolis, MN$1,705
  • Chicago, IL$1,987
  • Houston, TX$2,049
  • San Antonio, TX$1,376
  • Austin, TX$1,558
  • Denver, CO$1,316
  • Phoenix, AZ$1,389
  • Las Vegas, NV$1,524
  • Los Angeles, CA$1,717
  • San Diego, CA$1,558
  • San Jose, CA$1,882
  • Seattle, WA$1,378

Local costs have been calculated by accounting for labor and material cost differences across different cities. To get accurate cost estimates, indicate yours: