View Full Version : How much does it cost to add airconditioning to the house?
I know it depends on a lot of factors and is regional. Still... wondering about this. We just got an estimate for that and the guy says 4500$. We already have centralized heating in the house, so they dont have to do any vent work. Our house is all one level and is just 1500sft. I am in the SF bayarea.
What is your experience?
How much did you pay?
How long did it take?
06-21-2007, 03:44 PM
We just paid $9K to do the upstiars of our cape but they had to run ductwork. Our upstairs is probably about 1500 sq ft. Of course running ductwork is expensive but I would think that half sounds about right for your house. Does it include the electrical work?
We had a very motivated team and it took about a week and a half. With no ducting I would think it would only take a couple of days.
Yes it does involve electrical work.
Glad to hear that the number seems reasonable. We kinda liked the guys we met today.
06-21-2007, 04:52 PM
No vent work? So all they need to do is add on the unit and wire the electric box and thermostat? I understand everything is more expensive in the SF bay area - but honestly that sounds steep to me. We're in Philly and adding air, plus a new furnace and a water heater was just over 3K. We recived quotes from 3 to 7.5K. Ask around and get a few more estimates before you make a decision. BTW they did all that work in a day.
06-21-2007, 05:22 PM
My sister just got an estimate for heating and Air down here in So Cal and it was around that price... and that was a GOOD deal from her contractors friend (her contractor is her boyfriends father!)
You might be able to find it a bit cheaper... it doesn't hurt to get a couple of estimates!
06-21-2007, 05:24 PM
we did a whole redo of the heating and cooling (no ductwork) here in the midwest and the original estimate was 10K. the materials alone were about 4K, but of course we did heating as well.
it only took one day.
06-21-2007, 05:34 PM
we're in the south bay, we did ours 2 years ago right after sam was born. i think it was about $6K when it was all said and done - we're 1450sq. ft, 2 story, but were already ducted and wired for it like you are. so all they had to do was install the unit outside, solder in the plumbing and hook up the unit to our existing furnace/duct system. our quotes were from $5200-$8600 IIRC, but that was partially b/c of the unit we chose to go with (highest energy star rating at the time, and we went with the larger capacity unit of the two sizes that were recommended since we were borderline between sizes). had we gone with the smaller unit, i think they said it would have changed the price by about $500/$600 and had we gone with a lesser energy star rating, another $600+. just the size/rating of the unit you choose can change the price by more than 1K IIRC. we went with a contractor that had great refrences, clean BBB record and was certified by the HVAC contractors professional assoc. and we still had problems - they left a small natural gas leak in the garage after our install that we had to have PG&E come fix b/c the contractor said it wasn't their fault they had to move the line to fit the unit into our existing furnace space. whatever. so even with a straightforward install like yours, make sure you don't just go with the lowest bid and check references. ours took 1 full 8-9 hour day for 2 guys to install.
Sam 5/19/05 How lucky I am that you chose me.
WOW Nancy!! That is cheap. Makes me almost wanna move to Philly.
Yes, that's what we are thinking. Now, I would have to get the phone book or check Craigslist to get more estimates.
The sales guy that came along asked us if we would give them the job if they reduced the price by 500$. DH said not a chance.
We should have a local meet sometime. If I understand right, you are not too far from my place.
I have asked them for some references. Unfortunately, no one I know wanted to recommend their contractor for ac work. Our contractor does not do this and does not know anyone he would like to recommend either.
06-22-2007, 08:15 AM
We just had A/C installed in our house with no furnace and no ducts (radiant baseboard heating), so I feel your pain!
If you are having trouble finding a contractor, see if there is one on your local Angie's List. I have also had good luck finding service contractors on Service Magic's website:
I have found a gutter guy, a window washer, a carpet cleaner, a deck refinisher, and a driveway sealer through this service and have been thrilled with all of them. Plus, I go through MyPoints and get points for each service request.
HTH! Good luck!
Mommy of Jackson 4/30/02
06-22-2007, 08:44 AM
We added AC to our house when we lived in San Jose. The house was 1800 SF and also already had central heat. It was about $4000 and we also replaced our furnace which was original to the (20+ year old) house. BUT this was in 1998, so the price quoted to you does not seem out of line to me.
Sorry to go off topic, but here is my concern. I am asking you this since I am aware that Amy had RSV when she was an infant.
DS2 (Akash) had RSV when he was 2 weeks. The doctors told us that he is more prone to being asthmatic in his early childhood. I have heard from a few friends that AC and asthma dont make a good combination. I was wondering if you have any experience in that regard.
The only reason we are thinking of installing an ac is because he stays home with the nanny and it does get really hot during the day.
So, if AC is a bad thing for him, we really dont need to spend the 5K for no reason.
Thanks in advance,
06-22-2007, 12:12 PM
No one has said anything to me about AC and asthma being a bad combo. In fact, if anything I have heard the opposite since most AC systems filter out a lot of pollens, dust, etc from the air. You just have to be diligent about changing the filters. But I now live in VA and frankly not having AC in the summer is simply not an option. NOT.
Thanks Beth. Sorry, I just realized Amy is still an infant.
Do you think she has any after effects of RSV? Is it harder for her to get out of coughs? I am trying to read up on this and frankly I am getting scared.
06-22-2007, 01:33 PM
Well, knock on wood, Amy has been robustly healthy ever since her hospitalization in December. They told me the same thing at the hospital, that subsequent infections would leave her more likely to develop persistent coughs, bronchiolitis and asthma long term. But so far we've been lucky.
Sarah, however, is another story. She has developed pretty severe seasonal/environmental allergies as she has gotten older and she has been officially disgnosed with allergy induced asthma. She's on inhaled steoids twice a day and albuterol as needed. In fact I am taking her to the ped this afternoon for a persistent cough that is not responding to the albuterol. And she was healthy as an ox, not so much as an ear infection until she was 2. So you just can't tell.
Once again, Thanks Beth.
We decided to hire a nanny after we heard what the doctors had to say. We did not want him to go to a daycare. We are trying to do all that we can, but like you said there is not much we can predict about the future.
Hope Sarah feel better soon.
06-22-2007, 05:25 PM
(I haven't read everyone else's replies, so apologies if I'm just repeating what others have said...baby needs nursing soon!)
We just got AC in our house in Fremont; I think the final amount was $6k. But, we had to get a new furnace, too, because the furnace we had was not capable of handing the AC airflow, so that explains the higher cost. The price you were quoted sounds similar to quotes we got.
I *strongly* recommend you get quotes from multiple companies! We talked to about 6 different places and they all told us different stuff. Some said our furnace was fine, others said no. Some said our freon line under the house was sufficient, others said it needed to be replaced. Etc. It was a very frustrating experience!
Once we agreed on the company, though, turnaround was very fast, within a week I think. And the job took less than a day.
PM me if you have questions (about the companies I talked to, etc). Gotta run....
eta: our house was built "AC ready" but never had AC installed, which is why we already had a freon line.
06-22-2007, 06:12 PM
We live in MN and just had our ac replaced that week. It was $2500 for a new until and updating the electrical. It is worth every penny!
06-22-2007, 06:43 PM
I have nothing constructive to add to this discussion, but I just had to post...
It's so weird to me to think that some homes don't come built with air-conditioning. I've lived in southwest Louisiana all my life, and I would be less surprised if a house didn't come with a *bathroom* than if it didn't come with air-conditioning. I guess I forget that summer's not 103 degrees in the shade everywhere else in the country. :-)
06-22-2007, 10:42 PM
I totally feel the same way! When DH and I got married in Texas in August his family from New York wanted to know if the hotels would be airconditioned! I don't know of a single building in the entire town I grew up in that isn't airconditioned.
Well Stacy, you are right. There are places where life without AC is possible. I have lived in California for the past nine years. Every year we have a couple of days when the heat is unbearable. I work full time, so mostly we stay in the office and never have to worry abt the high temps. Office is airconditioned for sure. If these hot days happen to be over the weekend, we hit the malls and get back in the evening. So, for the past nine years, I have never felt the need for AC at home.
Now moving on to why homes dont come with AC. Our home is 50 years young. I dont think AC was so common 50 years ago. Everything in the house including the foundation has been replaced. I mean literally everything. So, there are tons of homes here without AC. Lots without central heating as well.
Even now we are considering air conditioning only because DS2 stays home with a nanny. If he were to go to daycare like DS1, I am pretty sure we would not be condsidering it.
06-23-2007, 12:50 PM
Thought you might find this interesting:
06-23-2007, 02:40 PM
I PMed you!
06-23-2007, 03:07 PM
I live in the East Bay and I'm getting quotes for $5000-7200 for a 14 seer unit in a 2300 sq. ft. house. I do need electrical work and a gas line but the duct work is there. This also includes a whole house air filter (I have to ask our allergist if this is worthwhile.). Definitely get a bunch of estimates before you decide. If you need to change your furncace, this is a good time as you will save on the labor.
Our allergist recommended A/C for us since three of us have allergies and asthma. That way you don't open your windows and let in pollens. I hear you can charge the cost of A/C to your FSA if you have a prescription from your doctor!! (that requires some planning, though, to put aside the funds) I have yet to meet anyone who has done it, but it may be worth looking into. You can also get rebates on certain units (check PG&E).
DH didn't see the need for A/C, but duh, he's sitting in his cushy A/C office all day long while we're sweating lol As you said, that does make a huge difference.
Thanks a lot Beth. I appreciate this a lot. This was so thoughtful of you and it means a lot to me.
06-24-2007, 10:26 AM
Quick post (I emailed you, too)...look into the cost of 13 SEER, also. Up until recently 13 SEER was considered really good, and 10 SEER was standard. It seemed to us the energy efficiency difference between 13 and 14 SEER was not that great, but 14 SEER cost a lot more money.
06-25-2007, 10:40 AM
asha, a local meet sounds great. stay tuned... one is in the works.
Sam 5/19/05 How lucky I am that you chose me.
06-25-2007, 03:49 PM
As for using FSA pre-tax $ to buy AC, I have MS and did it about 6 years ago when I was renting. As I recall, you could only use the money to buy a window unit, not to have AC installed in the house (as that is viewed as a capital improvement).
The rules might have changed since then, so check it out. I just got a letter from my doctor stating that it was medically necessary and sent it along with the receipt for the AC unit.
Definitely get several estimates. I live in the Charlotte metro area and the rates I got quoted ran from $3K to $9K. Now I am having to deal with AC issues because we didn't do enough homework the first time around. Definitely check if your contractor has all the necessary licenses (mechanical, plumbing, electrical) and if they will be pulling any permits you need and arranging any inspections you need.
Also, in getting my estimates to fix a poor installation, I found out that the refrigerant used in most units now is being phased out and will no longer be manufactured starting in 2010. So if you get one installed using this old refrigerant and you need more for whatever reason in the next few years, the price you will pay for it will keep going up. When the existing supply of it runs out in 2010, you'll need to upgrade your machine if there is a leak or something that needs more refrigerant to complete the repair. There are models of AC units that use a new type of refrigerant and, of course, they are more expensive.
Yes, I have been hearing that now Freon will be phased out and Puron (or something like that) is being recommended.
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