Central Air Conditioner Installation Expenses

Central Air Conditioner Installation

Table of Contents

When it comes to ensuring your home is a cool oasis during the summer, a central air conditioner is a must-have. And, of course, the first thing that you would ask is: “How much does it cost?”. In this AC expenses guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about central air conditioning installation costs in Canada, the types of AC units available, the factors that influence installation costs, additional expenses to consider, and savvy strategies to save on installation costs.

Types of Central Air Conditioning Units

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of air conditioning installation costs, let’s consider the different types of central AC units available on the market. Your choice of AC unit type can significantly impact both the upfront costs of central air installation and the long-term efficiency of your cooling system.

Split Systems

Split air conditioning systems are the most common and widely used central AC units in Canada. They consist of two main components—an outdoor condenser unit and an indoor evaporator coil. The two components are connected by refrigerant lines and work together to cool your home efficiently.

Split systems are typically considered a mid-range option in terms of pricing. While they offer excellent efficiency and performance, they tend to be more affordable than some of the more advanced options available.

Packaged Systems

Packaged air conditioning systems are an all-in-one solution for central cooling. Unlike split systems, all components, including the condenser, evaporator coil, and air handler, are bundled together in a single unit, which is usually installed outdoors. This type is ideal for homes with limited indoor space.

Packaged systems can be cost-effective in situations where you have space constraints for indoor units. However, their pricing can vary depending on factors like capacity and energy efficiency, making them a flexible choice to fit different budgets.

Ductless Mini-Splits

Ductless mini-split air conditioning systems are highly versatile and perfect for homes without existing ductwork. They consist of an outdoor unit and one or more indoor air handlers, each of which can be controlled independently, allowing for zoned cooling.

Ductless mini-split systems in Canada can range in price, with factors like the number of indoor units and energy efficiency affecting the cost of central air installation. While they may have a slightly higher upfront cost compared to some traditional systems, their energy-saving capabilities can lead to long-term cost savings.

Not sure about which air conditioner is the most suitable for your house? Check out our previous article via the link below.


Factors Influencing Central Air Conditioner Installation Costs

Factors Influencing Central Air Conditioner Installation Costs

Now that we’ve already taken into account the type of AC unit, let’s delve deeper into the primary factors that can significantly impact the overall air conditioning installation cost. While the type of air conditioner you choose sets the foundation for your expenses, these additional factors can influence the final price tag.

Unit Size (BTUs)

The size of your AC unit, measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), plays a crucial role in determining central air conditioner cost. Larger units with higher BTU capacities are designed to cool larger spaces but often come with a higher upfront cost.

The size of the unit is a primary cost driver, with larger units typically costing more than smaller ones. However, selecting the right size for your home is essential to avoid inefficiency and increased long-term costs.

Energy Efficiency (SEER Rating)

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating measures how efficiently your AC unit operates. Units with higher SEER ratings are more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

While more energy-efficient units may have a higher initial price, they can lead to substantial long-term savings on energy bills, making them a cost-effective choice over time.

Existing Ductwork

If your home already has ductwork in place for a central HVAC system, the installation process may be simpler and less expensive than retrofitting ducts or opting for ductless systems.

Having existing ductwork can reduce the costs of central air installation, but the overall impact depends on the condition of the ducts and any necessary modifications.

Location and Accessibility

The location of your AC unit and its accessibility can impact installation costs. Difficult-to-reach areas or unique installation requirements may incur additional expenses.

Factors such as the proximity to electrical connections and the need for specialized equipment can influence installation costs.

Local Climate Considerations

The climate in your region can affect both the type of AC unit you need and the air conditioning installation costs. Hotter climates may require more powerful units to cope with higher cooling demands.

While climate considerations impact the choice of AC unit, the actual cost of central air installation may vary based on your specific location within Canada.

In conclusion, understanding the various factors influencing central air conditioner costs is essential for homeowners. While some factors, like unit size and energy efficiency, have a significant influence, others, such as the presence of existing ductwork and local climate conditions, can also play vital roles.

Reach out to HVAC Service Solutions and schedule a free consultation with our HVAC experts who will help you to determine the AC installation cost in your particular case. 


Pricing by AC Unit Size

Size is undeniably one of the most critical factors influencing the central air conditioner cost. The British Thermal Unit (BTUs) rating of your chosen unit determines its cooling capacity, and this directly correlates with the overall price. Let’s break down the pricing by AC unit size.

Small Units (7,000-18,000 BTUs): Small AC units are suitable for cooling individual rooms or small apartments. The cost typically ranges from $2,500 to $4,000+, including installation.

Medium Units (18,000-24,000 BTUs): Medium-sized units are designed for cooling larger spaces or multiple rooms. The average cost falls between $3,500 and $6,000+.

Large Units (24,000+ BTUs): Large AC units are ideal for cooling entire homes. Expect to pay anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 or more, depending on the unit’s size and features.

BTU Capacity
Price Range (Including Installation)
7,000 – 18,000
$2,500 – $4,000+
18,000 – 24,000
$3,500 – $6,000+

It’s crucial to choose an AC unit size that matches your home’s cooling needs. An oversized unit can lead to inefficiency and increased operating costs, while an undersized unit may struggle to keep your home comfortable. Find out how to choose the correct air conditioner size in our comprehensive guide.

Central AC Installation Cost Based on the Unit Type, SEER Rating, and Home Size

So, we have already considered the connection between the air conditioner size and the installation cost. Now, let’s take a closer look at pricing depending on other factors such as the AC type,  SEER rating, unit, and home size. 

How Much Does It Cost to Install an AC Unit Depending on the Air Conditioner Type?

As discussed earlier, the type of air conditioner you choose, whether it’s a split system, packaged system, or ductless mini-split, plays a significant role in determining the cost. Here’s a breakdown of typical pricing:

  • Split Systems: These are the most common and range from $2,500 to $6,000 or more, depending on size and SEER rating.
  • Packaged Systems: These cost between $3,000 and $7,000+, factoring in unit size and energy efficiency.
  • Ductless Mini-Splits: Expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,000+ for a ductless system, accounting for the number of indoor units and SEER rating.
Type of Air Conditioner
Suitable Home Sizes
Price Range (Including Installation)
Split Systems
Small to Large Homes
$3,500 – $11,000+
Packaged Systems
Small to Large Homes
$4,000 – $12,000+
Ductless Mini-Splits
Small to Large Homes
$3,500 – $13,000+

SEER Rating and AC Installation Expenses

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating of your air conditioner impacts both its efficiency and price. Higher SEER-rated units are more energy-efficient but may come with a higher initial cost. Here’s a breakdown of pricing based on SEER ratings:

  • SEER 14-16: Basic efficiency models range from $2,500 to $5,000+.
  • SEER 18 or higher: High-efficiency models can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 or more.
SEER Rating
Suitable Home Sizes
Price Range (Including Installation)
SEER 14-16
Small to Large Homes
$3,000 – $9,000+
SEER 18 or higher
Small to Large Homes
$4,500 – $12,000+

How AC Size (in Tons) Affects the Installation Price

The size of your air conditioner, measured in tons, must match the cooling requirements of your home. Here’s an estimate of pricing based on AC size:

  • 1.5 to 2 tons: Suitable for small to medium-sized homes, ranging from $2,500 to $6,000 or more.
  • 2.5 to 3 tons: Appropriate for medium to large homes, with costs between $4,000 and $8,000+.
  • 3.5 to 5 tons: Designed for larger homes or multi-zone systems, with prices starting at $6,000 and potentially exceeding $10,000.
AC Size (Tons)
Suitable Home Sizes
Price Range (Including Installation)
1.5 to 2 tons
Small to Medium Home (1,000 – 2,500 sq. ft.)
$3,000 – $8,000+
2.5 to 3 tons
Small to Medium Home (1,000 – 2,500 sq. ft.):
$4,500 – $8,500+
3.5 to 5 tons
Medium to Large Home (1,500+ sq. ft.):
$7,500 – $15,000+

AC Installation Cost Based on the Location

Eastern Canada: Provinces like Ontario and Quebec often have higher installation costs due to the densely populated urban areas. You can expect to pay slightly more in major cities like Toronto and Montreal.

Western Canada: In provinces like Alberta and British Columbia, installation costs may vary depending on local demand and economic factors. Coastal regions may have slightly higher costs due to the milder climate.

Northern Canada: In the northern regions of Canada, where summers are shorter and less intense, installation costs may be lower. However, the limited availability of HVAC services can affect pricing.

Atlantic Canada: The Atlantic provinces, including New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador, generally have competitive installation costs, but prices can vary by location.

Suitable Home Sizes
Eastern Canada
$3,000 – $7,000+
Western Canada
$3,500 – $8,500+
Northern Canada
$4,000 – $9,000+
Atlantic Canada
$3,500 – $8,000+

Check out how much it costs to replace the air conditioner in Canada via the link below.


Additional Factors That May Affect the Cost

While the size and type of your AC unit are major cost drivers, several additional factors and expenses can impact your installation budget. Here are some to keep in mind:

Electrical Upgrades: If your home’s electrical system needs upgrading to accommodate your new AC unit, this can add to the overall cost. Ensure your electrical system is up to code and can handle the increased demand.

Permits and Inspections: Many municipalities require permits and inspections for HVAC installations. The cost of permits and any necessary inspections should be factored into your budget.

Thermostat Installation: If you’re upgrading to a more advanced thermostat, budget for its purchase and installation. Smart thermostats can offer increased energy efficiency and convenience.

Maintenance Contracts: Consider the long-term costs associated with maintaining your central air conditioner. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your system and prevent costly repairs down the road.

By accounting for these additional expenses, you can create a more realistic budget for your central air conditioner installation. However, keep in mind that the costs can vary depending on your location within Canada. Reach out to HVAC Service Solutions via the link below for a personalized consultation on AC installation expenses. 


Tips for Saving on Central AC Installation

Tips for Saving on Central AC Installation

While central air conditioner installation is an investment, there are several strategies homeowners can employ to save on expenses without compromising on quality. Here are some money-saving tips to consider:

  1. Energy Efficiency Rebates: Look for energy efficiency rebates or incentives offered by the government or utility companies. These can significantly offset installation costs, especially when choosing high SEER-rated units.
  2. Comparison Shopping: Obtain multiple quotes from reputable HVAC contractors. Comparing prices and services can help you find the best deal for your specific needs.
  3. Regular Maintenance: Invest in regular maintenance to keep your AC unit running efficiently. Preventative care can prolong the system’s lifespan and reduce the need for costly repairs.
  4. Financing Options: Explore financing options available through HVAC companies or financial institutions. Flexible payment plans can make installation more affordable.

By implementing these strategies, you can make the most of your central air conditioner installation budget while enjoying a comfortable and energy-efficient home.

Do you want to save up to $7,800 on your new energy-efficient AC unit with a government rebate program in Ontario? Find out how to apply via the link below.



Your furnace is your steadfast companion, especially in the harsh Canadian climate. To ensure it keeps you warm and cozy, regular maintenance and tune-ups are non-negotiable. The benefits are clear: improved energy efficiency, cleaner indoor air, a longer furnace lifespan, fewer breakdowns, and above all, safety.

Remember, while you can handle some maintenance tasks, certain procedures should be entrusted to professionals. At HVAC Service Solutions, we have the expertise and dedication to keep your furnace in peak condition, so you can enjoy winter without a worry. So, schedule your furnace tune-up today, and let us take care of the rest.