The typical cost to install an AC disconnect is $300 to $400, but depends on a few key factors
The average cost to install an AC disconnect ranges from $200 and $500, though the cost can go up to $3,000 if you don’t have ample space or amperage on your circuit breaker. An AC disconnect is best installed at the time you install your AC unit but can be added afterward. Installing a disconnect (usually a fuse box or switch box) will turn off the energy supply to your AC unit from the outdoors, allowing for safe mechanical work to be done.
How Much Does It Cost to Install an AC Disconnect Box Along With a New AC Unit?
If your electrician installs an AC disconnect at the same time you install a new AC unit, you’re likely looking at a much cheaper project, about $200 to $400. Your electrician can hook up the disconnect to your breaker box at the same time and ensure the wiring and amperage are correct.
How Much Does It Cost to Install an AC Disconnect Box on an Existing AC Unit?
The cost to install an AC disconnect on your existing AC unit typically ranges from $300 to $500 but depends on how far away your outdoor condenser unit is from your circuit breaker. The electrician may need to fish more wiring, ensure the amperage is correct, split wires, or add extra breakers in your breaker box.
If your outdoor unit is far away from your electrical panel, such as on the other side of the house, or you don't have wiring leading from the condensing unit to the panel, then your costs will be considerably higher.
Get at least three estimates from electricians near you to assess your AC unit and electrical panel.
How Much Does It Cost to Install an AC Disconnect Yourself?
AC disconnects should always be installed by a licensed and local electrician, as they contain high voltage, fuses, and wires, and carry the risk of serious injury. Installing an AC disconnect box yourself without the proper training and experience could lead to shock, electrocution, or death.
If you don’t have an AC disconnect or need yours replaced, it’s best to outsource the project. Signs your AC disconnect might need to be replaced? It won't open, appears weathered, or has suffered water damage. You can always call an electrician to inspect your disconnect box if you are unsure how to proceed with repairs or replacement.
AC Disconnect Cost Breakdown
The total cost of installing an AC disconnect depends on how far your condenser unit is from your electrical panel and the difficulty of adding the disconnect to your circuit breaker.
AC Disconnect Unit
AC disconnect units range from $20 to $75 for residential homes, with the average being $35. Your electrician should inspect your air conditioner to determine the type of disconnect you need. Check to ensure the price of the unit is included in their quote.
Installing an AC disconnect usually takes two to four hours, if your electrical panel is up-to-date and has space for the disconnect to be installed. According to HomeAdvisor, electricians usually charge $50 to $100 per hour. If your AC unit is far away from your circuit breaker, the project could take longer.
You may need to upgrade your electrical service to higher amperage if your current panel can’t accommodate the AC disconnect, which can cost up to $3,000.
For the AC disconnect to reach from your outdoor condenser unit to your electrical panel, you’ll need wiring to make the connection. The cost of wires depends on the type needed (an electrician can determine this) and the linear footage.
Your electrician may have to pull a permit to install an AC disconnect. Electrical permits range from $10 to $500 depending on your local codes. If your electrician is installing your AC unit at the same time, they can often work under that same permit.
What Factors Influence the Cost to Install an AC Disconnect?
There are a few key factors that impact the cost of installing an AC disconnect. The best way to get an accurate quote is to contact at least three local electricians to scope out the project and give you a rate.
Installing a Disconnect on a New vs. Existing AC Unit
It’s easier and faster for an electrician to install an AC disconnect at the same time they're installing a new AC unit. If your AC unit is already in place, there may be extra expenses including the time and supplies to fish wire from the disconnect to your electrical panel.
Distance from AC Unit to Electrical Panel
The closer your AC unit is to your electrical panel, the easier and faster it is for the electrician to install the disconnect.
Availability in the Panel
If there’s not already wiring leading from the outdoor condensing unit to your electrical panel, then you’ll need an extra spot on your circuit breaker. If you have any open spot, the cost is minimal beyond the time and wire to connect it. But if your electrical panel doesn’t have space, you may have to upgrade your amperage and service which can be costly.
FAQs about AC Disconnects
Why should I pick an AC disconnect for my home?
An AC disconnect, also known as a switch box or fuse box, is a safety switch that allows the AC’s electrical supply to be turned off from the outside, usually done by a mechanical contractor coming to work on your unit. The box is protected from the weather by a cover or may be designed as a pull-out unit. Your local code determines where the AC disconnect must be mounted, but it's usually close to your outdoor AC unit.