Central Air Conditioner Prices

by Jane on March 20, 2012

Many consumers would ask, “How much do central air conditioners cost?” before they purchase a cooling system for their home. In fact, the pricing depends on a number of factors which mainly include efficiency, size and performance features of a central air conditioner. There is a huge variety of central AC systems that cost from $800 to $4000. You need to have enough information about these factors to let you know how much your AC might cost.

Since most of the residential air conditioner systems range in capacity from 1.5 tons to 5.0 tons, we’ll focus our price estimates on a 3 ton condensing unit which is about an average. Then we’ll discuss the effect of efficiency and performance factors on the price of an AC system. Based on these features, you will be provided a central air conditioner prices range to let you choose the best air conditioner for your home.

The Cost of Performance

Staged cooling is the primary factor on a central air conditioner related to the indoor comfort of your home. A two-stage model runs at about 65% to 70% capacity most of the time but shifts to high only when required. Trane and American standard have some dual-compressor models that also offer two-stage cooling. Modulating compressor models run between 30% to 100% capacity to the indoor temperatures balanced providing utmost comfort to the users. Maytag, Coleman, Lennox, Trane, York, American Standard and Rheem offer some modulating compressor models that are highly popular for controlled temperatures, low humidity level and improved air filtration features. They are a bit more expensive at present for their hi-class features but the price is expected to change in the years ahead.

SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) indicates the efficiency of a central air conditioner and is the second major factor to determine the price of a unit. Based on their efficiency and performance level, we have divided the models into 5 categories to help you determine the most suitable unit for your home.

Standard Efficiency – Standard Performance

The models ranging from 13 SEER to 15 SEER in efficiency have been categorized under this division. Note that 14 SEER is the minimum efficiency required for a unit to be an Energy Star product and the number is expected to go up in the coming years. As far as performance is concerned, all these models deliver basic single-stage cooling operation.

Trane XB, American Standard Silver, Carrier Base, Lennox Merit, York Latitude, Payne, and Coleman Comforteer are some of the widely used standard efficiency models that provide standard performance as well.

The cost for a 3 ton standard Efficiency, standard Performance air conditioner system ranges from $1000 to $1500.

Medium Efficiency – Standard Performance

These units fall in the efficiency range from 16 SEER to 18 SEER providing the basic on/off cooling.

The cost for a 3 ton medium Efficiency, standard performance air conditioner system ranges from $1300 to $1700.

All the units with an efficiency rating of more than 16 SEER employing a staged or modulating compressor for effective cooling operation are termed as high performance models.

Standard Efficiency – High Performance

There is no air conditioner with 13 SEER efficiency rating that delivers staged cooling, but some 15 SEER models are designed to do so. Some of the most famous air conditioner models in this range are the Carrier Performance, Lennox Elite, American Standard Gold, Goodman and Rheem Classic series.

The cost for a 3 ton medium Efficiency, high performance air conditioner system ranges from $1450 to $2000.

Medium Efficiency – High Performance

These models range in efficiency from 16-18 SEER delivering the most comfortable staged cooling.

Some of the most popular in this category are the Carrier Performance, Amana, Goodman, York LX, American Standard Gold, Trane XR, Lennox Elite and Rheem Classic series.

The cost for a 3 ton medium Efficiency, high performance air conditioner system ranges from $1700 to $2400.

High Efficiency – High Performance

All the models with efficiency rating more than 18 SEER with staged cooling fall in this category.

These are the highest-quality models offering the excellent features that a consumer would desire. Some of the most popular high efficiency, high performance AC models include American Standard Platinum, Trane XLi, Maytag M1200, Dave Lennox Signature, Coleman Echelon, York Affinity, Amana and Rheem Prestige series.

The cost for a 3 ton medium Efficiency, high performance air conditioner system ranges from $2200 to $3500.

Summary

Consider your climate conditions and the efficiency level of the air conditioner that you afford, before you evaluate a unit for your home. Then check the central air conditioner prices and reviews on this site to choose the best air conditioner system. A summary of the central air conditioners price range we’ve explored here in this post is as follows:

                      Features   Price Range
Standard Efficiency, Standard Performance $1000 to $1500
Medium Efficiency, Standard Performance $1300 to $1700
Standard Efficiency, High Performance $1450 to $2000
Medium Efficiency, High Performance $1700 to $2400
High Efficiency, High Performance $2200 to $3500

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