5 Things to Consider Before Adding Air Conditioning to Your Home

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated July 15, 2021
tools on top of ac unit
fstop123/ iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

These five tips will help you make the best decision for you and your family when it comes to installing air conditioning in your home

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So you’ve found the house of your dreams! But there’s just one problem: those ocean breezes your realtor promised seem to be a tad too far away, leaving you with sweaty and sleepless nights. It’s time to face reality—you need to install an air conditioner.

While old homes are charming and beach bungalows quaint, they are hardly energy efficient. Even if you already have air conditioning (either central air conditioning or unit-based), chances are changes in air conditioning technology have made your existing AC defunct when it comes to its carbon footprint.

But before you set out to buy a brand-new air conditioner or replace existing units or systems, let’s break down the critical things you need to know. These tips about what to consider before installing air conditioning in a home will help make your decision a little easier. 

1. Know What Type of Heating System Already Exists

The type of heating system plays a major role in selecting an AC. In homes with forced-air furnaces, it’s relatively easy for a pro to work with the existing infrastructure to create a duct system for your air conditioning as well.

The flip side of the coin is that if you know ahead of time that you’re dealing with a central heating system like a boiler, you should anticipate a more complicated installation process. That’s because the pro will have to find or create another way for the cool air to circulate throughout your home.

2. Know What Type of AC Unit Is Best for Your Needs

Some people turn on the AC as soon as the temp hits 70, while others hold out until they’re breaking a sweat while watching TV. It would go to follow, then, that not every type of home requires the same sort of air conditioning. Before you go to have yours installed, know what meets your needs.

If you live in a sprawling Craftsman, roomy Victorian, or another type of large home, you’ll want a powerful unit that can distribute cool air evenly from top to bottom, so you should expect to pay more. If you’re looking for energy efficiency while cooling your home, expect the price of your air conditioner to rise as well. 

3. Know If the Existing Circuit Breaker Can Accommodate Your Needs

Buying new air conditioning and having it installed is all well and good, but before you start dream shopping and getting quotes, you should assess whether your home can handle the air conditioning in question.

In older homes, many circuit breakers just aren’t up to the task, which can lead to an unwelcome surprise: upgrading your circuit breaker at the average cost of between $750 and $2,000. Have an electrician near you assess your circuit breaker ASAP so you can confidently make your budgeting and installation choices.

4. Get Several Quotes Before You Commit

It can be tempting to act quickly on a good deal once you think you’ve got one. While air conditioning installation can be costly, depending on where you live it can be a necessity. 

In other words, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That’s why it’s essential to get at least three quotes from well-rated AC professionals in the industry before signing any contracts.

5. Know How Much You’ll Be Spending

Before embarking on a big project like having air conditioning installed in your home, it’s always wise to go in with an expectation of how much you’ll be spending. While comfort is key to a happy home life, so is a comfortable number in the bank account. 

If you plan on hiring a professional to install your air conditioning system, you should plan on spending $3,000 to $7,000 in total. That cost includes the price of the unit and the installation itself. The cost to replace an air conditioning system is about $5,000.

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