If you’re in the market to replace your air conditioning system you need to read this. First thing to remember is that not all air conditioning companies charge the same thing for the same equipment. There are a lot of variables that bring up the cost of your air conditioning system. The most common variables that cause the cost of your air conditioning system to go up is:
- SEER Rating
- Brand of Equipment
- The HVAC Contractor
The SEER rating or Seasonal energy efficiency ratio is the standard to measure how much electricity consumption your unit is going to use. The standard in California is currently 13 SEER. Most units installed before 2000 where 10 seer or lower. Meaning you will be saving over 30% with a new air conditioning system that is matched up with a new coil. The cost can go up about $350-$500 per SEER above 13. I recommend getting a minimum of a 14 SEER system for your home of office. It is always the biggest bang for the buck. It’s simple to get 14 SEER all you need to do is match up the right coil with a basic condenser and you can get 14 SEER for a fraction of the price of going with a 15 SEER condenser. Some manufactures offer up to 16 and 18 SEER rating. Be careful of this because not getting the right match of furnace coil and condenser will only get you 14 SEER. You should ask your air conditioning contractor for the ARHI certificate to guarantee you’re getting what you’re paying for. ARHI is the United States standard for measuring and documenting SEER.
Brand of Equipment:
Brand of equipment have a big part in the price of your new air conditioning system. Every brand of equipment has sister brand names. Most sister brands come off the same assembly line with a different color and brand name.
Example of Sister Brands:
- Carrier has Bryant, Day & Night and Payne.
- Trane has American Standard
- Goodman has Amana
- York has Coleman, Luxair, and Guardian
- Ruud has Rheum
- Lennox has Armstrong
The point is you can almost the same equipment with a different label for 10 to 15% cheaper. However, most if not all sister brands have a lower warranty than the flagship brand. Also, not all contractors will carry its sister brand. Most contractors carry only two lines at most, but you do have options if the cost of your air conditioning system is too high. I recommend getting an air conditioning system with a minimum of a 10 year warranty on all parts for the condenser that includes the compressor, and 10 year warranty for parts for the furnace that includes a minimum of 20 year warranty on the heat exchanger.
The air conditioning installation contractor:
The biggest factor when it comes to air conditioning installation cost is always the contractor. Not all HVAC contractors are the same. Every HVAC contractor has a different overhead and goals of profit when it comes to air conditioning installation cost. A small company may be $1000 to $1500 cheaper for the same equipment installation because you’re dealing directly with the business owner instead of a salesman. You can also pay more for a company that know how to sell, most large manufactures of air conditioning equipment like Trane, Carrier and Lennox require contractor to attend sales classes every year to qualify to sell their product. Most of these contractors will "upsell" your equipment for things you don’t need for your home or office. I recommend you get three qualified air conditioning contractors to give you a bid for your home or office. Ask for referrals, copy of licenses and insurance. Remember your air conditioning system will be in your home or office for a minimum of 15 years. So once it’s in it’s in. Research the brand name, equipment SEER and warranty and if you take anything from this blog remember that not every contractor is the same.
The Cost of Having Your Air Conditioning Replaced:
This includes removing and replacing your thermostat, furnace, coil, and condenser installed in the closest or garage. Add $500 to $1000 if your existing furnace and coil is in your attic. Add $300 to $500 per SEER higher than 13.
- 3 Ton Can Range From $4200 to $5500
- 4 Ton Can Range From $4500 to $5800
- 5 Ton Can Range From $4800 to $6200
This is for a 13 SEER Carrier, York, or Trane, your price for your air conditioning system can go down with a sister brand name or off brand.