The cost to install Myrtle Beach air conditioning, including the unit, ranges from around $3,000 to over $7,000 on average, according to home services company Home Advisor. But the price tag varies widely depending on the type of system you need and the condition of your existing air ducts.
Here’s more information about what goes into the cost and tips to help you save.
Factors affecting the cost to install air conditioning
The price of an air conditioning unit is only one piece of the total cost to install central air. With some Myrtle Beach companies you’ll also need to pay for a pre-installation evaluation, possible air duct installation or modification, and a qualified professional in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, to do the work.
Air Conditioning pre-installation evaluation
A Manual J load calculation is the first step in proper installation. This calculation tells contractors how much heat your house gains throughout the day and what size air conditioner will keep it cool.
Ideally, the load calculation is part of a home energy audit. This assessment identifies air leaks and other issues that increase the cost to run an air conditioner. An energy audit can cost several hundred dollars, but your utility company may offer discounts or rebates. Swift Services Heating, Cooling & Electrical offers a free energy audit. The technician inspects the system to test how much electricity it uses and compares it to normal levels for a unit. The technician will determine various ways the system could run more efficiently. If the system has certain shorts or old parts, then other parts will be working hard to pick up the slack and result in a system over-working to do its normal job. The technicians will also provide a complementary comparison chart to see what the price difference would be if they were to replace or repair the parts and the unit. Obviously if the system is not running properly they cannot perform the efficiency test. If the system is not working, the problem would need fixed before the technician could determine this. They will also do a basic air quality test to see if the system is releasing anything into the air it shouldn’t be. Finally they conduct a home health survey which ultimately determines what the most appropriate placement and size system should be in their house to most efficiently cool the house and minimize cost. Ask about your Free Energy Audit when you contact us.
After the Manual J load calculation, your HVAC contractor should check the systems your air conditioner relies on, especially the duct work, to ensure it can handle central air.
Existing ducts often can’t handle the airflow of a modern air conditioner. Your home may also lack space to run a refrigerant line to the exterior, or room for an air conditioner coil or properly-sized vents.
Any upgrades or modifications to accommodate a new system could increase the total cost to install central air conditioning, but they can help you avoid high energy bills and hot rooms.
The central air conditioning unit
After home performance and support systems are evaluated, it’s time to select an air conditioning unit. Depending on the size and structure of your home, you’ll choose from the following types:
Split air conditioning systems: These have three main elements: the condensing unit, the evaporator coil and the air handler. The condensing unit is placed outside and looks like a big metal box with a fan in it. The evaporator coil and air handler live inside. Split systems are most economical in homes that already have a furnace, and are generally quiet, efficient and affordable to maintain.
Packaged central air systems: These function like split systems, except all three elements are housed in a single “box” located on the roof or next to the foundation. Packaged units are uncommon in residential settings unless a split system won’t fit, and they don’t offer the same efficiency.
Heat pumps: They act as both an air conditioner and furnace, and are best suited for mild climates. The heat pump extracts hot air from your home and dumps it outside in the summer, then pumps outdoor heat inside during the winter. Heat pumps can be an efficient option, especially when combined with an existing gas furnace.
In addition to type, the cost of a central air conditioning unit varies by size. An air conditioner’s capacity to cool the air is measured in tons; residential systems are generally available in 1.5- to 5-ton capacities. Bigger isn’t always better; your air conditioner’s size should be determined by the load calculation mentioned above.
Don’t make the mistake of choosing an air conditioning unit just for its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating. An air conditioner with a high SEER rating costs more but will still waste energy if it’s improperly installed or your home is full of leaks. Make sure your contractor evaluates the home’s performance before recommending a unit.
3 tips to control Myrtle Beach air conditioning installation costs
1. Examine your cooling needs: If you’re an empty-nester or only home at night, consider a ductless mini-split air conditioning system. These systems combine an outdoor compressor and condenser with indoor blower vents that can be installed on just about any exterior wall.
While not technically central air, ductless systems can be an efficient way to cool small zones within a larger home, like a TV room or bedroom.
2. Time it right: HVAC contractors are always busy during the hottest and coldest months. Scheduling installation in the off-seasons — spring and fall — may yield a lower price or faster turnaround time because workers aren’t as busy. See our fall special for more ways you can save on a new air conditioning system for your Grand Strand area home.
3. Look for equipment rebates and tax credits: Local governments, as well as utility companies and manufacturers, promote the use of high-efficiency air conditioners through financial incentives. Use the Energy Star rebate finder to find money-saving opportunities in your ZIP code.
Call Swift Services Heating, Cooling & Electrical in Myrtle Beach SC today at 843-236-9060, or fill out our short form and someone will contact you as quickly as possible to answer any questions you may have about your air conditioning system.