how much to install central air with ductwork

how much to install central air with ductwork

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Central air conditioning is a great way to cool down your home during hot summer days. Installing central air conditioners requires some upfront costs, but they pay off in the long run. 

Installing central air conditioning is a smart investment. The cost of installation depends on several factors, such as the size of your house, the type of system you choose, and where you live.

How much should you spend on central air conditioning? Well, we have all the answers that you need!

What Is Central Air Conditioning?

A central air conditioning system is one of the most important components of any home. 

Without it, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy comfortable living conditions all year round. It helps keep your home cooler during the summer months and warmer during the winter months.

In addition, it also helps reduce humidity levels and keeps dust from accumulating in your home.

A central air conditioning system consists of two main parts:

Both these parts work together to provide you with comfortable living conditions.

1. Condenser

This part of the system collects the heat generated by your home and transfers it into the refrigerant. This process takes place when the compressor turns on.

2. Evaporator

This part of the unit works like a radiator. It absorbs heat from the surrounding environment and releases this heat back into the room.

Types Of Central Air Conditioners

There are different types of central air conditioners available today. Some of them include:

• Split System

• Window Unit

• Portable Units

• Heat Pump Systems (thermostats)

Split System

A split system is one of the oldest systems used in homes. A split system has two separate parts: the condensing unit and the evaporating unit.

The condensing unit is located indoors where there is sufficient space for it to operate efficiently. The evaporating unit is located outdoors where there is plenty of open space for it to absorb heat.

Window Unit

A window unit is another type of central air conditioning system that uses a fan to circulate cool air through the house.

These units are typically installed in attics, basements, garages, or other places where there is adequate space.

Portable Units

These units are designed to fit in small spaces such as closets, bedrooms, and bathrooms.

Heat Pumps

These units use a refrigerant cycle to transfer heat. Unlike traditional air conditioners, heat pumps do not need electricity to function.

Instead, they take advantage of the temperature difference between the cold water pipes and hot water pipes. 

During the heating season, the heat pump pulls heat out of the water pipes and sends it to the interior of the home.

During the cooling season, the heat pump reverses its operation and draws heat from inside the home and sends it outside.

Benefits Of Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning provides many benefits to homeowners. Here are some of those benefits:

One of the biggest advantages of having central air conditioning installed in your home is that it makes living there comfortable.

With central air conditioning, you no longer have to worry about being uncomfortable when it gets really hot out.

Instead, you can enjoy the comforts of air conditioning even during the hottest times of the day.

If you’re looking to save money, then central air conditioning is definitely something that you should consider.

When you choose to go with central air conditioning (see also ‘Central Air Vs. Mini Split‘), you’ll not only save money by reducing your utility bill, but you’ll also reduce the cost of heating your home. 

This means that you won’t have to pay so much money for heating your home, especially in the winter months.

You’ll also avoid paying for electricity because of the energy savings that come from using central air conditioning.

Another benefit of central air conditioning is that it helps keep your home healthy. Since your home doesn’t have to rely on heating systems, it’s possible to maintain a cleaner environment. 

In addition to keeping your home clean, you can also breathe fresher air throughout the house. This is important since most people tend to breathe through their noses rather than their mouths.

If you’ve ever noticed that your nose runs after spending time in a stuffy room, then you know what I mean.

Finally, one of the greatest benefits of central air conditioning is peace of mind.

When you live in a home where you can control the temperature at all times, you can rest easy knowing that you don’t have to worry about whether or not your home will get too cold or too warm. 

This is especially true if you live in a part of the country where temperatures fluctuate frequently.

As you can see, central air conditioning has many benefits. The best thing about this type of technology is that it allows you to stay cool (see also ‘How To Stay cool In The Florida Heat‘) without having to heat your home.

This is why it’s such a popular choice among homeowners today.

What Is Ductwork?

Ducts are pipes that carry air from one room to another. In most cases, there are two types of ducts: supply and return.

Supply ducts bring fresh air into the building, while return ducts take warm air out of the building.

Types Of Ductwork

You may also hear about “ducts” being called “air handlers”. This is just a name for the equipment that moves air through the ducts.

There are three different types of air handlers: split systems, mini-split systems, and whole-house systems. Each has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Split Systems

Split systems are the most common type of central air conditioning unit. They consist of an outdoor compressor/condenser unit and indoor evaporator coils.

A fan blows cold air across the condenser coil, cooling it down. 

Then, the cooled air is blown into the home via the ducts. These systems are fairly inexpensive to install, but they do tend to be more expensive to maintain.

Mini-Split Systems

A mini-split system consists of a single outdoor compressor/condenser and multiple indoor evaporator coils. This means that each room gets its own set of coils.

Mini-split systems are generally more efficient than split systems, so they typically cost less to operate. 

However, this comes at the expense of having to replace the entire system when any of the individual components fail.

Whole-House Systems

A whole-house system is similar to a mini-split system except that it includes both the compressor/condenser and the evaporator coils.

Whole-house systems are usually more expensive than mini-split systems because they are more complex.

Cost Of Ductwork – How Much Does It Really Cost?

Installing ductwork is an important step in the process of installing central air conditioning. You need to make sure that you know what kind of ductwork you need before you start looking for suppliers.

Here are some factors that affect the cost of ductwork installation:

Size Of Your House

If you have a large home, you will likely need more ductwork than if you had a smaller home. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good deal on your ductwork.

Just make sure that you shop around for quotes and compare prices.

Heat Pumps Vs Traditional AC Units

The second thing that affects the cost of installing ductwork is how much you plan to spend on heating or cooling your home.

If you want to use heat pumps instead of traditional AC units, then you will need to pay extra for ductwork. Heat pumps require a lot of ducting because they must move hot air as well as cool air.

Your Location

Where you live will also affect the price of your ductwork. The farther away you are from the city center, the more expensive your ductwork will be.

Where Your Ductwork Will Be Installed

There are many options available for where you can install ductwork. For example, you could put your ductwork in the attic, basement, garage, or even under the floorboards.

Whichever option you choose, make sure that it is safe for your family and pets.

Number Of Stories In Your Home

Another factor that affects the cost of ductwork is the number of stories in your house. More stories mean more space between floors, which makes it harder to route the ducts.

Duct Size

The size of your ducts will determine how much you end up spending on them. Smaller ducts cost less to install, but they don’t provide enough capacity to handle all of the air that you need.

Larger ducts cost more money, but they can accommodate more airflow.

Number Of Vents Needed

Ventilation is another important part of central air conditioning. If you don’t ventilate properly, you may find yourself with mold problems.

To avoid these issues, you should count the number of vents needed for your home and order your ductwork accordingly.

Duct Material Used

You can purchase duct material in different types. Some materials are made out of metal while others are made out of plastic. Metal ducts tend to last longer than plastic ones, but they cost more to buy.

Plastic ducts are cheaper, but they won’t last as long.

Number Of Temperature Control Zones

A third thing that affects the cost is the number of temperature control zones that you want to include in your ductwork. If you only have one zone, then you will probably only need one set of ducts.

However, if you have multiple zones, you will need several sets of ducts.

Cost of Labor for Your Chosen Contractor

Finally, you will need to consider the labor costs for your chosen contractor. This includes the time that they take to install your ductwork.

You should also ask about their experience when it comes to working with HVAC systems.

What Kind Of Ductwork Do I Need?

There are many different kinds of ductwork available. Some people prefer metal ducts, while others prefer fiberglass ducts.

Fiberglass ducts are more durable than metal ducts, but they aren’t quite as strong as steel ducts. Steel ducts are the strongest option out there, but they are also the most expensive.

Fiberglass ducts are a great choice for homes that don’t receive a lot of traffic. Metal ducts are best for homes where there is heavy foot traffic.

Duct Size Matters

You should always choose larger duct sizes when you are planning to install central air conditioning.

Larger ducts allow you to run fewer registers. Smaller ducts may not provide enough space for all of your registers.

Supplier Selection Tips

When selecting a supplier, here are some tips that will help you save money:

  • Ask about discounts – Ask your installer if he has any special deals going on right now. He might offer you a discount just for asking!
  • Get bids from several contractors – When you call around for quotes, ask them to give you three estimates. Compare the three numbers and pick whichever one seems like the best value.
  • Make sure that the contractor does not charge by the hour – Make sure that you only hire someone who charges by the job. Don’t go through the hassle of negotiating hourly rates.
  • Look for a reputable company – Look for companies that are licensed and insured. These are two ways that you can tell whether a company is trustworthy.
  • Look for a company that offers warranties – A warranty protects you against faulty workmanship. It gives you peace of mind knowing that your ductwork won’t break down after you’ve paid for it.
  • Choose a company that uses quality materials – You shouldn’t settle for cheap ductwork made of inferior materials. Your home deserves better.
  • Choose a company that provides installation services – Many companies specialize in providing installation services. This means that they can do everything for you

How To Select The Best Central Air Unit For Your Home

Central air units come in various shapes and sizes. The size of your unit depends on how much cooling capacity you need.

For example, a small unit will cool a smaller area, whereas a large unit will be able to cool a bigger area.

The type of unit you select will depend on what kind of climate you live in. If you live in a hot place, then you want to get a unit that runs at higher temperatures.

On the other hand, if you live in a cold place, then you want a unit that runs at lower temperatures.

The following factors will help you decide which unit is best for your home:

  • Size – How big is your house? Is it a single-story or a multi-story building?
  • Heat Gain Factor (HGF) – What is the heat gain factor of your home? HGF measures the amount of heat that your home loses each year.
  • Cooling Capacity – How much cooling capacity do you need?
  • Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) – How energy efficient is your unit? EER tells you how many BTUs per hour your unit will use.
  • Installation Type – Do you want an indoor unit or an outdoor unit? An indoor unit is usually placed inside the attic while an outdoor unit is placed outside.

    Indoor units are more expensive than outdoor units. They also require less maintenance.

    However, they don’t have as much cooling capacity as their outdoor counterparts. Outdoor units are cheaper and easier to install but they aren’t as effective as indoor units.

  • Cost – How much money would you spend to buy a central air unit?
  • Maintenance – Will you be doing regular maintenance on your system or will you leave it up to the professionals?

Final Thoughts

Air conditioning isn’t just about comfort. It’s also about saving money. By installing a good central air conditioner, you can save hundreds of dollars every month on your utility bills. 

Choosing the right air conditioning unit and ductwork goes a long way towards the overall quality of your unit and experience, and can also have an impact on energy costs – making the right decision is crucial.

Photo of author

BY M. Kogan

Hello, I am Marcio. I am an architect and designer, alma mater is Mackenzie. Retired in theory, but an architect never retires completely. Along with architectural projects, I am a filmmaker and have completed some short documentaries. Filmmaking and design are my passions. In HomeQN I write about home decoration and foundations. The goal is to teach homeowners to DYI as much as possible, and when this is not possible, enable them through knowledge, to evaluate service quotations and choose the best service technicians.

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