Why Do Central Air Conditioning Systems Cost so Much?

As a Clearwater Air Conditioning company we often get asked why pricing for a new central AC system cost so much. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers when it comes to the cost and countless factors that can push the price upward or downward by thousands of dollars.

There are several factors that will directly affect the size of the unit you need, what you’ll be spending up front, and ultimately what you’ll be shelling out from month-to-month. The trouble is, higher efficiency means higher initial cost for the unit, so finding the right balance between initial cost and long-term savings can be a challenge. There are some key considerations, however, that can guide you in your search for the right cost.

Efficiency:

Simply put, efficiency refers to the amount of energy converted into cool air compared to the amount of energy lost. This is the most important factor when determining central air conditioner prices because it dictates long-term savings. Brand names play a role in cost, but within that are countless internal variables at play and no clear front-runner for best price and reliability. Some central air conditioners, for example, include the ability to adjust temperature from a cell phone. Other air conditioners may have multiple stages, meaning they can operate at 67% capacity or the 100% offered by single-stage air conditioners, which can help reduce humidity. Perks such as these can elevate cost significantly.

Efficiency is expressed as Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER. The higher the seer, the less you’ll pay in utility costs to operate your central air conditioner. SEER ratings range from 13 to 23, but some older models may have SEER ratings below 13 due to a federal energy conservation law passed in 2006 that placed a minimum on any newly manufactured air conditioners (parts to repair units with SEER ratings from 10 to 12 remain on the market, however).

Like most aspects of central air conditioner prices, there are few easy answers as to what the right energy efficiency rating is for your home. It primarily comes down to usage. If you live in a hot climate and frequently use your air conditioner, you’ll probably save more with a high efficiency unit. If your air conditioner will have minimal use, you’ll probably save more money with a low efficiency unit.

Central Air Conditioner Prices and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

The efficiency rating you’re aiming for will have a drastic effect on your central air conditioning prices, both initially and in the long run. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is the most important factor to pay attention to when considering long term central air conditioner cost. The simple breakdown for efficiency ratings, including the cost of installation:
16-23 SEER – $2,500 – $7,000 high efficiency, high prices, low month-to-month costs
14-17 SEER – $2,200 – $5,500 moderate efficiency
13 SEER – $1,750 – $4,000 low efficiency, good for rentals, economical buy

The more energy efficient the central air conditioning system, the higher the central air conditioner prices. The SEER you should aim for depends highly on your regional needs and how much you’re willing to spend up front to save in the future on your central air bills.

Have Questions? Please contact the experts at Andy’s Air, We’re always happy to help.

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