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The Cost of Air Conditioning Systems in 2023

The Cost of Air Conditioning Systems in 2023

Interior renovationsThe Cost of Air Conditioning Systems in 2023

When temperatures reach new highs, it's normal to want to stay cool. The easiest way to do this is of course to opt for an air conditioner. So what options are available on the market?

Types of Air Conditioning Systems

air conditioner

Source: Canva

There are several types of air conditioners that can easily be installed at home. It's recommended that you choose the power of your air conditioning system (which is calculated in BTU) according to the surface area of your living space. In order to provide you with an exact approximation, we will compare 3 air conditioning units, each designed to cover an area of 450 sq. ft. (41sq.m.) for a cooling capacity of 10,000 BTUs.

Window Air Conditioner

Individually, a window air conditioner costs an average of $400, with a price variation depending on the product range that you choose. This is the ideal solution for a tenant but the system must be removed during the winter and then re-installed every spring and it also remains a fairly noisy option. 

Portable AC Unit

Another option is the portable air conditioning unit which costs an average amount of $480 for a 3 in 1 system (air conditioner, fan and dehumidifier), this type of system can easily be moved from one room to another.

Wall-Mounted Air Conditioner

The wall-mounted air conditioner is much more expensive than the window air conditioner, costing between $600 and $1,200, for a 3-speed unit that can be remotely controlled. It should be noted that the last two options make considerably less noise than a window unit and won't need to be re-installed each spring.

It's highly recommended that you invest in Energy Star-certified air conditioners that guarantee high energy efficiency and energy savings. This kind of product helps reduce your electricity bills, as well as your carbon footprint.

Cost of Central Air Conditioning Systems

Source: Canva

The other remaining options for keeping your home cool are central air conditioning systems. This alternative is recommended for homes with greater square footage that cannot be effectively cooled by window, wall, or portable air conditioning units. In terms of energy savings, this option is more efficient but is also a much more expensive purchase. 

The mini-split air conditioner retails for roughly $3,000 while a central system costs around $4,800. The heat pump will cost at least $4,800 while the ceiling-mount air conditioning system installed in the attic will be approximately $7,800.

The mini-split air conditioner offers air conditioning in the top part of the walls using nozzles to disperse the cooled air. As for the central air conditioner, it allows fresh air to be projected into the same ventilation ducts as the heated air.

As for the heat pump, it offers both heating in the winter and fresh air in the summer but it's cumbersome and some models are very noisy, not to mention expensive. Therefore, it's absolutely essential to compare different options thoroughly prior to purchasing a unit.

Finally, the ceiling-mount air conditioner is a solution that applies only when the house doesn't have a forced-air duct system. This system is installed within the roof and pushes air through ventilation grills.

Factors Causing AC Prices to Fluctuate

Source: Canva

First, it's important to take into account that each quote will be different and that several factors can influence the price of installing an air conditioning system in your home.

Of these factors, the number of air conditioning units you have installed will have a significant impact on the costs of installation. Regular mono-split air conditioning systems require two units; one on the inside and one on the outside of your home to generate cool air. Multi-split units require a single outdoor component and several inlets within your home to cool down as many spaces as possible.

Obviously, a portable air conditioning system will require a single interior unit since it's installed within the home and can be moved around freely. Several other factors should be considered, such as the quality of your air conditioner's motor and the power output of each unit as you use it.

Technological options and accessories, the location of the installation and the addition of a heating option can also contribute to increases in the price of an air conditioning system, potentially adding at least 15-20% to the final invoice.

Generally speaking, if you hire a contractor that specializes in air conditioning they'll charge you around $60 per hour. On the other hand, it's very rare that a contractor will agree to install a unit that you have previously purchased from another company or over the Internet. When you hire a professional contractor for this job, it's also important to keep several things in mind to ensure that they're well-tasked for the job.

Before you’re ready for your quote, they should ask you several questions related to your needs for an air conditioning unit (as well as heating in the case of a reversible air conditioning system) since each job is different and prices could vary from one contractor to another.

Knowing that contractors often offer ''package deals,'' it's necessary to check out prices. If the prices are too low then you should be wary and if they’re too high then it's simply too expensive. The best solution is often finding an even middle that'll fit within your allocated budget.

Grants Available to Purchase Your Air Conditioning System

It's true that the installation of a new air conditioning system can represent a significant investment. For this reason, various programs have been put in place to help you finance your air conditioning project.

Rénoclimat Program: The  Rénoclimat grant encourages work aimed at reducing the energy consumption of a home while improving its comfort. Financing differs depending on the improvements you're looking to make to your home (insulation, waterproofing, etc.).

You'll find on this page of Energy Transition Quebec the details of the financial aid proposed according to the work you wish to do.

Efficient ACs and Warranties

If you decide to buy your air conditioning system and install it yourself, know that it's easy to get an idea of the system’s quality based on the warranty that's offered. Generally, the best quality products come with warranties that cover anywhere between 5 and 10 years.

Also worth noting is the fact that when selecting your air conditioner, it's quite important to consider the number of BTUs you'll need to make sure your home is effectively cooled. This aspect ensures your home’s temperature will be controlled optimally. It's also worth checking the SEER rating of the product to save on your energy costs and the level of decibels emitted by the unit. 

When should you buy or change your AC?

air conditioner

Source: Canva

As you can imagine, it's recommended that you change your air conditioning system outside of the summer period because air conditioning professionals are all very busy at that time of the year. If you decide to buy or replace your air conditioning system, you should do it in the fall or spring, as it will be easier for you to meet with someone. In addition, you will have access to a lot more choices between different models of air conditioners available on the market.

The other reason to avoid carrying out this type of work during the summer is costs. In fact, appliance and installation costs can increase by $200 to $600 and beyond. In addition, the more complex the installation, the more expensive the process will be.

Cost of an AC according to device type: Summary chart

Type of air conditioner
Average price

Window air conditioner:

On average $300

Portable air conditioning unit: 

On average  $480 for a 450 sq. ft. surface (10,000 BTU)

Wall-mounted air conditioning unit: 

Between $600 and $1200 for a 450 sq. ft. surface (10,000 BTU)

Central air conditioning (mini-split air conditioner):

Starting at $2,800 (depending on the tonnage and energy efficiency)

Central air conditioning:

Around $4,800 (depending on the tonnage and energy efficiency)

Heat pump:

Between $4,800 and $8,400 (depending on the tonnage and energy efficiency)


To learn more about the average cost of various home renovation projects, check out our Home Renovation Price Guide. 

Get 3 renovation quotes for your air conditioner installation can help you get quotes for your air conditioning and heating. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will get estimates from trusted professionals. 

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives.

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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