AC and Heating Tip from AC Express
Are You Paying Too Much For Air Conditioning?
Knowing what to expect is key when it comes to getting a good deal. Could there be anything worse than finding out after months of shelling out an arm and a leg on utility bills that you could have been spending a whole lot less? That’s why this tip is going to be all about what to expect when it comes to the cost of air conditioning, from repair and installation to running costs.
Getting a good sense of the average prices for these services and products will arm you with the knowledge of how to know when you’re getting a good deal. There are a number of factors when it comes to how much you’ll spend on keeping your house cool. In the following sections I’ll go over a good amount of these factors. This way, the next time you need an AC repair in Austin you can stop worrying about over paying. And, you can rest assured that you’re paying as little as possible on your monthly electricity bill.
Cost of a New Air Conditioner
If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, there’s a good chance you’ve browsed online a bit already. Maybe you’ve looked up the websites of some of the more well-known and highly-regarded air conditioner manufacturers in order to get an initial sense of what to expect in terms of features and prices. If you’ve done this, you’ve likely become disappointed to find that finding exact prices on exact models is not as easy as you’d think.
Why is this? Well, two reasons, primarily. One reason is that there are many factors that go into the price of a specific air conditioning unit. Some of those factors include the size you’ll need, what kind of system it is, who’s going to do the installation, and the energy efficiency of the air conditioner. The second reason why it’s not always easy to get a sense of what an air conditioner will run is that the less the consumers know about average prices, the easier it is for a salesman to make money off them.
We don’t think that’s a good motivation here at AC Express, where one of our goals is saving our customers the most amount of money possible, so their satisfaction goes up and everybody wins. So, let’s go over some of the factors in air conditioning installation cost and what to expect.
Energy efficiency is a big factor. Simply put, more energy efficient units, those with higher SEER ratings, are going to cost more money, but use less energy. So, determining how high a SEER rating you want your air conditioner to have is a matter of determining how much you’ll save in energy bills versus how much the installation will cost you now. Generally speaking, the longer you intend on living at the residence you are in now, the more a higher SEER machine will pay off, because there will be more energy bills to save on. To get an idea of how much SEER rating can affect your installation cost, a 16 SEER machine will generally run between $1200 and $1300 more than a 13 SEER air conditioner.
The type of air conditioner you’re getting is another factor that can change the cost a lot, and it is related to the energy efficiency. If you’re looking at air conditioners that are above 16 SEER then you are almost certainly going to be looking at two-stage or invertor systems. These types of air conditioners use variable speed motors to control how much power the air conditioner draws, making them much more energy efficient. But, that comes at a cost. That jump from single speed motor to variable speed motor means that going from a 16 SEER single speed AC to a 17 SEER two stage AC will increase the installation cost by an average of $1300.
Size is the third most important quality that determines cost. Bigger homes require bigger machines which will cost more. It’s a pretty straight forward relationship. But it’s important to think about, because getting an air conditioner that’s bigger than you need is one of the best ways to pay too much for air conditioning. That’s because not only will you be paying a higher installation cost, you’ll be spending more on your utility bill as well, as the air conditioner will turn on and off more often.
What follows will give you an initial idea of what kind of price range you might be looking at when it comes time to install a new air conditioner.
- Standard Installation: This means that nothing is being replaced besides the air conditioner unit itself. It will probably run you between $6000 and $8800 total cost and will take no more than a day.
- Full Central AC Replacement: This means that both the air conditioner itself and the ductwork are replaced. If you have a very old air conditioner it may be very likely that the ductwork is in need of replacement as well as they wear down and lose efficiency. Replacing the whole system will take about 2 to 3 days and will cost you between $9200 and $12300.
- Full Central AC Replacement Plus Extras: If you’re looking into more advanced features such as zoning systems, you’re going to add to the price of your installation. Generally speaking, a more robust and feature-full system replacement is going to run your anywhere from $13,100 to $17000.
Tips For Reducing Installation Costs
Now we’ve seen that there’s a wide range we could be paying in order to get a new air conditioner. And that’s not including how much individual contractors will charge and the differences between them. So, that might seem like a lot of information but luckily, with a few simple tips and things to remember, you can make sure you’re getting a good deal out of your next air conditioner purchase.
Firstly, research. When it comes to saving money there might not be a bigger factor than the expertise and quality of the installation job. A good installation will mean the unit will break down less frequently and draw power more efficiently. So do some research on the contractors in your area before you choose one. Also, try to get an idea in advance about what brand you want to go with. A good contractor can help you a lot when it comes to deciding on a specific model, but having in mind an idea of what brands seem reputable and high-quality can help you quite a bit in the long run.
Consider whether you need full replacement or central replacement, and if a mulit-speed system is right for you. These two factors are going to change your price a lot, so spend time considering them. Some people recommend that you stay away from air conditioners with SEER ratings above 16, because not only does this raise the price, it means that you’ll be getting a non-single speed motor air conditioner, which trades off greater efficiency for less reliability in most cases. Two-stage and invertor systems might draw energy more effectively, but they also have tendency to cause problems more often which will require costly repairs. Also, be aware that some estimate that only 15-20% of new air conditioner installations replace the air conditioning unit itself only, and that replacing the whole system including the ductwork, is much more common.
One little tip for finding a quality contractor is to find one who also does commercial air conditioning. That’s because the experience and knowledge needed to perform commercial air conditioning services indicate a contractor with a high level of expertise. Also, be aware that as much as you may try to pin down exactly how much your new air conditioner installation is going to cost, there’s still going to be the variable factor of your specific house and what it will take to put a new system in it. The difficulty of the project is going to be a major factor in how long the job takes and therefore the labor cost. A small, difficult to access attic or an old home that isn’t built like newer ones might affect the labor cost of your installation job by quite a bit, so keep that in mind.
Calculating Utility Costs
As you might expect, figuring out how much you might be paying per month in air conditioning costs is not that easy. There are a lot of factors, and it will vary from month to month. The major factors that determine your air conditioning utility cost will be are: how often your air conditioner will run, the energy efficiency of your air conditioner, and the cost of electricity in your area.
How often your air conditioner will be running is going depend largely on where you live, how cool you like your house to be, and what month it is. In hot places like Austin, air conditioning is going to be necessary anywhere from 8-10 month out of the year. For an apartment, for example, this will add an average of $80 to $90 a month to your electricity bill for all but the coolest months of the year.
But that’s only a very general average that doesn’t mean much when it comes to individual air conditioner cost. To do a more in depth calculation of your air conditioning costs, follow these steps. First, find out the amps that your air conditioner draws based on its size. This will vary based on the SEER rating of your AC, but for a 16 SEER system, a 2 ton machine will draw 15 amps, a 3 ton AC will draw 18, and a 4 ton will draw 21.
Then, you can figure out the wattage of your air conditioner by multiplying the amps by the voltage of the outlet it’s plugged into. For the average sized air conditioner in the average sized home, this voltage will be 240. Divide this number by 1000 to get the kilowatts per hour that your air conditioner runs on.
Then, you need to find the average price of kilowatts per hour for your region. For Texas, that’s going to be roughly 12.4 cents per hour, but it will vary. Multiply this by the previous number to get the amount you’ll be paying per hour of usage of your air conditioner.
This will give you how much you’d spend in utility costs if you ran your air conditioner all day every day. To get a rough outline of much you’ll be spending after you factor in the much more variable component of how often the air conditioner will be running, use a handy multiplier. If the average temperature outside is 80, the multiplier is 0.25, for 90, it’s 0.3, 100 is 0.4 and 110 is 0.8. Multiply the last number you got by the appropriate multiplier, which for Manor, Hutto, Liberty hill and all the residents of the Austin area should be around .3-.4 in the summer. This will give you an idea of how much you should expect your air conditioner will add to your electricity cost, on top of all the other things you use electricity for. If you bill greatly exceeds this, you know you’re paying too much.
Saving Money on Air Conditioning Repair in Austin
Hopefully, if you get a high-quality air conditioner from a high-quality contractor, you won’t need to repair it often. But, there are no guarantees in life. Things break down, and when that thing happens to be your AC, repair in Austin is needed and most want it as fast as possible. AC Express offers quality service even when delivering our same day AC repair services. You can count on us to get your air conditioner back up and running at full efficiency sooner than you’d believe.
If you need quality Austin AC repair from a contractor you can trust, contact us at AC Express. Call today! 512-452-COLD
Tip of the Day Archive