Air Conditioning Installation or Replacement Cost

By: Brian Schutt  |  April 3, 2014

Indianapolis summers get unbearable very quickly. You know the 90+ degree days where by the afternoon you have sweat the back out of your shirt multiple times. I’m a firm believer that most people would have long moved out of central Indiana if central A/C’s didn’t exist. But sadly, air conditioners get taken for granted by most folks until they’re not working right. And when they aren’t working right, many home owners make dubious decisions based on desperation not research and comparison shopping. As is always our goal at Homesense, we want to have home owners armed with the right information so that they can make the best decisions for their home that maximizes the value Here’s a brief story from one Indianapolis condo owner, Mike, who compares his Homesense experience and his experience with other firms in town.


So what should these units cost when it gets down to it?

There is a great range of pricing when estimating a replacement air conditioner. The three primary variables are:
  1. Brand
  2. Efficiency
  3. Size


We are a Carrier dealer, and so always include that brand within our proposals. With Carrier being the market leader in residential HVAC  because of its cutting edge technology, helpful warranties, and local manufacturing, the prices on Carrier equipment can be higher than that of smaller brands. However, we know that sometimes because of the limited length of time someone expects to stay in their home, a more cost effective brand must be offered as well. Those other options can cut as much as 20% from the price.


With efficiency the pricing us fairly straightforward, the greater the efficiency the higher the price. Based upon the many of the existing air conditioning systems that we are replacing in Indianapolis, we usually see an increase in efficiency with whatever new unit is used. One of the main reasons that is the case is because the EPA has increased the minimum efficiencies that manufacturers can make. The current minimum efficiency is 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). For each SEER increase it’s estimated that home owners will see an 8-12% increase in operating efficiency. With systems that increase up above 20 SEER, prices can nearly double from the 13 SEER options. What we often do for home owners is help estimate the cost vs. benefit, so they can estimate when the additional efficiency will have a financial benefit.


For system sizing, we always recommend that a load calculation be done on your home. A load calculation takes into account variables like square footage, windows, insulation, among other factors to determine what amount of cooling capacity is needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. In sizing, bigger is not better. Correct sizing is better. This is an area where a quality and experienced contractor should direct you as to what the best size is for your home. If you believe your current system is undersized, you might be correct. But many times, a lack of comfort has to do with duct design and insulation.


So you probably didn’t find this blog to be lectured on how we get to price, you just wanted to see what appropriate air conditioner prices look like. So, using the above variables, below is a range based upon a normal installation with many bells and whistles.


2 ton 13 SEER Air Conditioner & Coil including labor, taxes, warranty:
$3,000 – $4,000


3 ton, 15 SEER Air Conditioner & Coil including labor, taxes, warranty:
$4,500 – $6,000


5 ton, 19 SEER Air Conditioner & Coil, including labor, taxes, warranty:
$10,000 – $12,000


Clearly, every home has unique variables that require different material and labor to accomplish a quality air conditioning installation. Hopefully this helps in your selection of the right vendor for your work. If we can help in any way, call us at 317.670.0171.



Posted in: Air Conditioning

HVAC Service Areas: