When it comes time to upgrade their AC system, the first question most homeowners ask is: "How much does a new AC cost?" In Michigan, the price usually varies from a low of $6,500 to a high of $11,000, with the average cost being around $7,800. The exact cost to install a new AC will depend on the following factors:
- Size & capacity
- Efficiency ratings
- Upgrades & installation considerations
- The HVAC contractor you hire
- Rebates available
In this blog, we'll take a closer look at each factor, giving you a better idea of how much a new AC installation may cost you.
To learn more, you can also check out our blog, “How a New AC Can Save You Money.”
Looking for a new air conditioner?
Size & Capacity
The first factor that influences your total AC installation cost is the size of the system you choose. Keep in mind that when we say "size," we don't mean the actual, physical size — rather, we're referring to the AC's tonnage, or cooling capacity. There are three main sizes:
- Small ACs: One to two tons (good for small areas or individual rooms)
- Medium ACs: Two to three tons (good for apartments)
- Large ACs: Three to five tons (good for houses)
Generally speaking, you want about one ton of cooling for every 400 square feet. So, if your home is about 2,000 square feet, you'll want an air conditioner that's around five tons.
As you probably guessed, costs go up with size. So, the larger an AC is, the more expensive it will be. Smaller ACs usually start at around $2,000, while larger units can cost over $4,000.
Size isn't the only factor to consider when calculating AC costs — you also have to take into account your AC unit's efficiency. Traditionally, homeowners have relied on the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio), which examines energy efficiency over an entire cooling season. However, the U.S. Department of Energy recently released an updated standard. Known as the SEER2, it considers the following factors:
- Minimum air handler static pressure
- Heating load calculation
- Heating mode test
- Off-mode power test
- Fan power (for coil-only units)
Now, you might be wondering, what is a good SEER rating? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, all AC units in Michigan should have a rating of at least 14. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the appliance will be. Highly efficient AC units have SEER2 ratings of 16 or higher.
Upgrades & Installation Considerations
Another factor to consider when determining costs is any upgrades you may want. In other words, are there any special features you'd like in an AC? Here are some popular options:
- Variable speed compressors: Most air conditioners come with two-stage speed compressors, which offer two-speed levels. If you upgrade to a variable-speed compressor, however, you can customize the speed based on your cooling needs. This reduces the amount of energy you waste, which conserves costs over time.
- Air filtration: There are many filtration technologies you can incorporate into your AC unit to improve air quality. Examples include traditional air filters, air purifiers, and humidity control appliances.
- Smart thermostats: If you're interested in enhanced temperature control, you might benefit from a smart thermostat. These thermostats offer functions like remote temperature control and automatic scheduling.
In addition to upgrades, you have to consider installation costs. For example, if you want a central, ducted HVAC system, you may need to modify your ductwork first. At Thornton & Grooms, our team can evaluate your home and let you know if you need any renovations first.
The HVAC Contractor You Hire
In addition to carefully choosing your HVAC appliance, it's important to think about the installation. A new air conditioner is a big investment, so you don't want total novices to handle the work. At the same time, you don't want to overpay for the installation. But in general, it pays to hire a trustworthy and experienced installer who will get the job done right the first time, even if it costs a bit more.
At Thornton & Grooms, we pride ourselves on high-quality work and fair, honest pricing. We have over three decades of experience in HVAC installations and are familiar with tons of AC brands, makes, and models. No matter what the project is, it comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. And, we offer no-surprise pricing. That means you don't have to worry about sudden, added costs — we stick to our initial quotes. Not only do we provide fairly priced installations, but we also assist with financing.
Did you know there are financial incentives for supporting the environment? The High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Act (HEEHRA) provides rebates, or cash back, to low and moderate-income households that purchase energy-efficient air conditioners. There are also federal tax credits available for very efficient devices.
While rebates and credits can help cut down your overall costs, it can be difficult to figure them out. Fortunately, our team is here to help. After scheduling an AC installation or consultation, we'll send over a replacement specialist to assess your unique needs. Not only will they consider your size, efficiency, and ductwork requirements, but they'll also go over your rebate and financing options. Once our specialist has helped you find the best AC unit for your needs, you can trust us to handle the installation.
Need a New AC? Contact Thornton & Grooms!
Since 1989, Thornton & Grooms has helped tons of Michigan homeowners find the ideal air conditioning system. From size and capacity to budget and efficiency needs, we consider every factor before making expert recommendations. Call us at (248) 644-7810 or schedule an appointment online for a complimentary estimate.
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