Portable Air Conditioning Costs

Portable air conditioning (A/C) expels hot air from the zone via flexible duct, and provides cooling air to the interior with no further ductwork. The hot air exhaust will occupy a partial window space, or other zone opening.

You will find that the cost of average portable A/C varies by type of unit, its cooling (and heating) capacity and efficiency rating, preparation and special needs, and the labor rate.

In the following tables the Labor Cost figure is what the able DIY person should expect to save by performing the corresponding tasks.

Portable A/C: for cooling a room of 14' x 20' = 280 sq.ft.; include delivery, all material, equipment, and waste.

ItemUnit CostQuantityLine Cost
A/C unit: 8000 BTU cooling only, 115 VAC, with all trim, weather stripping, and hardware.$345each1$345
Upgrade: install new circuit; 30 feet of ROMEX surface mounted cable, #14/3; 15 amp breaker into existing space; two outlet receptacles with box and cover.$0.85per foot32$27
Material Cost$372each1$372
+ Labor Cost (install A/C unit)$34per hour1$34
+ Labor Cost (upgrade circuit)$42per hour3$126
Total Cost$532each1$532


Portable A/C: for heating and cooling a room of 25' x 32' = 800 sq.ft.; include delivery, all material, equipment, and waste.

ItemUnit CostQuantityLine Cost
A/C Unit: 14000 BTU heating and cooling, 230 VAC, with all trim, weather stripping, and hardware.$690each1$690
Upgrade: install new circuit, 30 feet of ROMEX surface mounted cable, #10/3; 30 amp breaker into existing space; single outlet box and cover.$1.66per foot32$52
Material Cost$742each1$742
+ Labor Cost (install A/C unit)$34per hour1$34
+ Labor Cost (upgrade circuit)$42per hour3$126
Total Cost$902each1$902


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’s per hour (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’s per person if usually occupied by more than two persons.
  • For the kitchen, add 4,000 more BTU/h’s 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.
  • Labor cost will rise with a “hidden” circuit installation in a finished environment.

DIY considerations

  • Home improvement centers typically offer a DIY kit with this product.
  • This project is suitable to an able and prepared DIY person with tools.
  • The work may include heavy lifting and moving.

References

  • Craftsman Estimator Costbook, complete series year 2015.
  • Latest prices found on Home Depot and other vendor Web sites.
  • Literature review of DIY Web sites.                   

Cost to install portable air conditioning in my city

Cost to install portable air conditioning varies greatly by region. To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.