Atlas AC Repair, LLC

Sand alone AC unit

What is the Install Cost of a New AC Unit in 2021

A new outdoor AC unit installed costs the average homeowner $3,300 to $4,000.

What Exactly is an AC Unit?

There are 3 main parts that make up a complete AC and heating system in your home. You have your indoor furnace, your outdoor AC unit, and ventilation throughout your home. In some cases your AC unit can fail before your furnace does. If your furnace is in good working condition, it doesn’t make a lot of since to do a full AC and furnace replacement. In this scenario the cost of a new AC unit replacement is more practical that replacing your entire HVAC system.

  • Full HVAC system
    • Outdoor AC Unit
    • Indoor Furnace
    • Indoor Ventilation 

How Much Does A New AC Unit Cost?

A fair price for a homeowner to replace a basic AC unit will cost around $3,300 to $4,000.

Outdoor AC Unit Tonnage
Heat Pump AC Unit Average Cost
Electric AC Unit Average Cost
2 Ton 14 Seer AC Unit Replacement Cost
2.5 Ton 14 Seer AC Unit Replacement Cost
3 Ton 14 Seer AC Unit Replacement Cost
3.5 Ton 14 Seer AC Unit Replacement Cost
4 Ton 14 Seer AC Unit Replacement Cost
5 Ton 14 Seer AC Unit Replacement Cost

What included in the outdoor air conditioner replacement?

Remove and install a new outdoor AC unit / condenser
  • Removal & disposal of current outdoor condenser. 
  • Installation of condenser to city code. 
  • Installs disconnect & whip, proper max circuit protection fuses, and locking caps.
  • Flush line set to accommodate new refrigerant. 
  • 10 year parts warranty & 1 year labor warranty
Outdoor carrier ac unit

What is the deference between a Heat pump and Electric outdoor air conditioner system?

Heat Pump AC Unit

  • A heat pump air conditioner works very different from an electric AC unit. The short answer is a heat pump is used for cooling and heating. An electric AC unit is only used for cooling and has nothing to do with the heating function of your HVAC system. That being said, since a heat pump is used for both heating and cooling it has more parts to have that function. That makes the cost of a heat pump condenser more than a electric AC unit. The furnace on a heat pump is only there to destitute the air throughout you home and act as a emergency heater if your heat pump is struggling to keep up.

Electric AC Unit

  •  An electric AC unit has only one function unlike a heat pump. Electric system are only used for cooling and have nothing to do with warming your home. Since it is only used to cooling your home it has less parts than a heat pump making is a little cheaper. It is also used less through out the year because it is not needed in winter. This lower the number of repairs you might have over a heat pump AC unit.
What System Do I Have?
  • It really depends on the type of furnace / air handler you have. If your furnace is primary source of heating in your home, you have an electric AC unit. This system type would include gas, straight electric, and oil furnaces. To be more accurate, you can Google the model number on the outdoor unit and it should pull up more exact information. 

Cost Of An Air conditioner Unit Per Region In USA?

There can be a price difference around $500 for a new AC unit installation depending on where you live. 

System size and Seer rating can vary.

The temperature differences between regions changes the size of air conditioner you need for your home. If you live up north, you simply don’t need to run your air conditioner that much. So, regulations allow you to buy a lower Seer system and the AC unit doesn’t have to be as big as the ones down south. We use our air conditioner a lot in the southeaster and southwester regions. We are regulated to use higher efficiency AC system and the AC units have to be bigger to handle the demand.

There can be a difference in what type of system you can use depending on where you live.

  • The Northern region of the US is typically going to use a straight electric AC system. Heat pump do not work well areas the routinely reach below zero temperatures. The northern region uses special furnaces to better handle the cold. These type of oil furnaces pair best with a straight electric AC unit.
  • The Southeaster is the only region the is ideal for a heat pump AC system. We have moderate to high levels of humidity, and we have mild winters. This type of environment is ideal for a heat pump AC. A heat pump is one of the most energy efficient heating and cooling system. We can also use a straight electric air conditioner without a problem.
  • The Southwest is normally going to use an electric AC unit to cool a home. It largely due to the low humidity level. Many people use specialized air handlers to add moister back into the air. It is most common to find an electric AC unit to better pair with the indoor air handler. If you are in the coastal area in the southwest region with higher humidity you can get by with using a heat pump AC system.

Regional Outdoor Electric air conditioner replacement price

Size Or Home
Northern New Electric AC Unit Cost
Southern New Electric AC Unit Cost
800-1000 Sq. Ft. Home Replacement Cost
1000-1200 Sq. Ft. Home Replacement Cost
1200-1400 Sq. Ft. Home Replacement Cost
1400-1700 Sq. Ft. Home Replacement Cost
1700-2000 Sq. Ft. Home Replacement Cost
2000-2500 Sq. Ft. Home Replacement Cost

The way calculations are done for home air conditioners is by designing for the outdoor to indoor temperature splits. For example, Texas needs a 20 to 25 degree temperature split. What this means is, if it is 95 degrees outside the air conditioner will keep your home around 75 degrees inside. In a state like Minnesota when the summer highs are only around 85 degrees, the home only needs a 10 degree split. A 20 degree split is going to require a bigger air conditioner than a 10 degree split, which will cost more. This is why northern states pay less for AC unit replacement.

Heat Pump Vs. electric air conditioning

As we touched on before, a new heat pump AC unit is one of the most efficient system on the marked. The biggest problems with a heat pumps is it does not play well with other furnace types. It requires a furnace that is only compatible with the outdoor heat pump AC unit. This is bad news for the special air handlers / furnaces needed in dryer climate. The reason it heats more efficient than a electric and gas system, is a heat pump uses the outdoor ambient temperature and converts it to heat. It pushes the heat to the indoor furnace to distribute to the home. It is not using combustion or very much electricity to ware a home. The problem is once temperatures drop below -10 degrees a heat pump start running into problems trying create heat with that low of an ambient temperature. It has emergency heat strips that helps to pick up the slack but at the end of the day it just not designed work in that cold of a temperature. The cost of a new heat pump AC unit is a little more that an electric air conditioner but you will definitely make up the difference in savings.

When it comes to a new electric air conditioner, it plays well with different furnaces. This AC systems work great for the specialty air hander / furnaces needed for dry climates. It also works well for gas and oil furnaces, which is a great solution for up north. Over all an electric AC unit is a much more diverse AC unit. The ideal application for it is in the norther and southwester states in the US. The cost of a new electric air conditioner is more cost effective that a heat pump and performs better in the northern states.

Most Cost Effective AC Unit Brand?

If you are brand agnostic and are looking for the best deal for a new AC unit. You are probably going to land on a brand like a Goodman or York for the lowest AC unit installation cost.

Air Conditioner Brands
3 Ton 14 Seer Average AC Unit Installation Cost
Lennox AC Unit Cost
American Standard AC Unit Cost
Carrier AC Unit Cost
Trane AC Unit Cost
Ruud AC Unit Cost
HEIL AC Unit Cost
Amana AC Unit Cost
Rheem AC Unit Cost
Goodman AC Unit Cost
York AC Unit Cost

Each HVAC company has different price model.

  • For a quick disclaimer, take the above pricing with a grain of salt. These cost of a new AC unit installation fall more in line with national averages based on equipment cost. However, the biggest contribute of how much a new air conditioner unit replacement cost is the HVAC contractor. Pricing will very from contractor to contractor. Some HVAC companies spend lots of money are marketing and salesmen making their overhead a lot higher than an air conditioning contractor who doesn’t spend money that way. So you could experience a cost difference of 30% from contractor or contractor. The above pricing is based from a fair company that is not over charging for a new AC unit replacement. If a HVAC company is presenting pricing that is much higher that when is in this article, I would go back to work for more bids.

The purchasing power of an air conditioning company matters.

  • Another reason an air conditioning company might not be cost competitive for every brand is because of their purchasing power. An example for this is, here at Atlas AC Repair we use Carrier as our primary brand. Since we run so much volume through them we get special pricing we pass to our customers. The down side to this is we don’t run a lot of volume through other brand, which in turn we don’t get the same discounts. We can install a new Carrier AC unit cheaper than we can install a Goodman AC unit. If you have a specific brand in mind you want for your home, I would recommend finding an air conditioning company that focuses on that brand. This will help to keep the new AC unit replacement cost as low as possible without sacrificing quality.

How much does a High Efficiency AC Unit cost?

There is a huge cost difference for high efficiency. A new 3 Ton 14 Seer AC unit installed cost $3,700 while a 22 Seer AC unit cost $9,100.

AC Unit Tonnage
14 Seer Single Stage
15 Seer Single Stage
16 Seer 2 Stage
17.5 Seer 5 Speed
22 Seer Variable Speed
2 Ton
3 Ton
4 Ton
5 Ton

What is the Difference In Air conditioner stages?

The number of stages you have on your AC unit has a big impact on temperature consistency, humidity, and energy use. The more stages you have, the more control you have for the air quality in your home.

Single Stage Delivers Little Control

  • A single stage AC unit operates at 100%, there is not an in between. Because it runs a 100% the runtime is very short. It runs all out, hits the set temperature quickly, then shuts off. This is a good thing, right? Not necessarily, this creates a couple of problems when you compared to the multi-stage AC units.
  • A lot of times what happens with a single stage air conditioning units is there can be a temperature discrepancy throughout you home. Some room can be much warmer or cooler than other room. This is because you air conditioner is reaching it’s set temperature to fast and does not allow the air to be evenly distributed.
  • There is also a similar problem with humidity. Single stage air conditioning systems is not always able to regulate the humidity in your home due to the short run cycle. If you have expensive furniture or art, the high humidity levels can damage your valuables. Even though a new single stage AC is the most cost effective air conditioner unit that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best fit for you. 
Single Stage AC unit

2 Stage Delivers Some Control

2 stage AC unit
  • A two stage AC unit has to operating speeds. A lot of times the first stage operates around 65% compacity. The second stage operates a 100% compacity. When a 2 stage AC cools your home, it starts off with the first stage at 65%. If the first stage is not able to cool your home, it kicks up to the second stage at 100%. The 2-stage run time longer than the single stage. This is going to do a much better job removing humidity and evening out the temperature in each room. This is a good option if you have a 2-story home. A new two stage air conditioner is a good mid-range cost and quality air conditioning unit that works well for many people with larger homes.

Variable Speed Delivers Total Control

  • 5 Speed and Variable Speed AC operate at multiple different outputs. These are designed to run all the time at the lowest speed. Once the lowest speed can satisfy the indoor temperature, it moves to the next stages until it hits temperature then starts stepping back down through the stages. It can control your houses temperature within 1 degree. Because it runs for a long time on the lowest stage you can set the humidity desired levels. These AC systems work great for large home, homes with high ceilings and homes with lots of rooms. These systems will also protect your artwork and expensive furniture along with keeping your electric bill low. A new variable speed air conditioner is going to cost the most out of all your options but it is by far going to deliver the highest air quality and control available on the market.
Green speed AC unit

What Does higher seer save me?

New 14 Seer AC Unit vs New High Seer AC Unit.

  • Seer rating has to do with the energy efficiency of the air conditioning, cooling, part of your AC unit. It does not apply to the heating part of your furnace. Generally speaking, the only Seer option that pays for itself is a 15 Seer AC unit over a 14 Seer AC unit. Once you factor in the rebate it should ROI around 5 years. All other Seer options will not ROI, over the 14 Seer option, in the life expectancy of the AC system.

Your Existing AC Unit vs New High Seer AC Unit.

  • However, if you compare your existing AC unit to a new higher Seer option, most of the time it will ROI in the expected life of the AC unit. It all depends on if you are interested in the best short-term value or the best long term value option.

Other considerations

  • If you have solar on your home or are planning on getting solar in the future, it makes since to go up in Seer rating. The saving you would get for the reduced number of solar panels and batteries would be big.
  • If you are environmentally conscious, it’s definitely going to make since to go with the higher Seer option. The higher Seer options will help to lower your environmental footprint. There are also high Seer options available that are no included on the chart.
Stand alone AC unit

Are There Any AC unit Add-Ons To Consider?

There are few things you may want to consider depending on the age of the home to the upgrading your thermostat.

Add-On Cost
Install New Basic Thermostat
Install New Programable Thermostat
Run New Low Volt Thermostat Line
New Condenser Pad
Install New Line Set - Single Story Home
Install New Line Set - Two Story Home
New Line Set Cover
Install New Surge Protector

Install Basic Thermostat

  • The basic thermostat that we offer our customers is a Vive thermostat. In our experience, Vive is one of the most reliable and accurate thermostats that is budget friendly. There are a lot of other good brands out there, I would recommend talking to your contractor to see what they prefer. A basic thermostat is not going to work for the higher end variable speed air conditioner units, in that case you are going to need a programable thermostat that can community to the air conditioner. One problem that happens to thermostats over time is they lose their accuracy. You can have a tech recalibrate it or you can replace it with a new one. If you are buying a single stage AC unit and you have a thermostat over 10 years old, I would consider replacing it with a basic thermostat. This will help to keep the temperature in your home is a lot more in line with what the thermostat is telling you. A new basic thermostat is going to be the most cost effective option available.

Install Programable Thermostat

  • A good programable thermostat we use for our customers is a Honeywell Pro thermostat. The areas these thermostats excel at is once they are fully set up you can forget about it. You don’t have to remember to switch it from AC to heat or turn the air down before you everyone goes to bed. It does it all for you. This also helps with energy savings because you if everyone leave the house during the week to go to work and school you can have the thermostat automatically adjust the temperature when no one is home, saving you money. If you are looking to get a multi or variable speed air conditioner unit, a thermostat like this should be included in the pricing. The cost of a new Honeywell Pro is a good mid-range programable thermostat.

Run New Low Volt Thermostat Line

  • It is not very often we need to run a new thermostat line but, in some cases, it is required. If you have a single stage air conditioner unit right now but you want to upgrade to high efficiency variable speed air conditioner, a new low volt line will need to be ran. The reason is so the thermostat can properly communicate to AC unit. So, if you have a single stage air conditioning unit and you’re looking to upgrade to multi or variable, I would plan on upgrading the low volt line.

New Condenser Pad

  • The condenser pad is what the air conditioner unit sits on outside. A new condenser pad is not always required for a new air conditioning unit installation. A lot of times the one you have now will work just fine. In some cases, it make since to replace the condenser pad. If the existing pad is cracked, it needs to be replaced to keep the air conditioner system from getting unlevel in the future. If your existing air conditioning unit is unlevel now, I would go ahead and replace it to make sure the contractor properly levels the pad. This will prevent a lot of repairs in the future. The cost of a new condenser pad is pretty reasonable and many companies include it in their pricing.

Install A New Line Set

  • A line set is what caries the freon back and forth between the furnace and air conditioner unit. A new line set for your air conditioner system fall under the same line of thinking as your condenser pad. In most cases, it is not require and what you have now will work just fine. Many older air conditioner systems use a smaller diameter line set than the new AC units. In this situation, you have to replace the line set accommodate the new air conditioner unit. The cost can vary based on how far the line set run is, that’s why we included two story pricing.

New Line Set Cover

  • A line set cover is what covers the line set from the elements. Some cities require to replace the cover at the time of a new ac unit installation, even if what you have now is in good condition. In other scenarios, if you looking to keep your home as classy as possible, you might consider a new cover for your line set.

Install A New Surge Protector

  • Surge protectors work great for preventing damage to your air conditioner system when there is power irregularities. It can protect your system from lightning surges and other power surges from the utility company. This can help to reduce the number of repairs you might have in the future and help the system to last longer. The cost of a new surge protector can be worth it at the end of the day because it will help prevent a power surge from taking out your AC unit.

How to Get the Best Deal!

There is a couple of basic thing you can look at to see if a company is going to have high pricing. Most HVAC companies over spend on marketing which in turn drive up the over all cost an AC unit replacement. Many companies will spend 20% on their revenue on marketing. That means instead of spending $3,500 on an AC unit installation, you are now spending $4,200. You can partially avoid this by not using ads, like Google ads, or 3rd party directories, like Home Advisor and Angies List.  Companies that use these methods most certainly drive up the price. Another simple thing you can look at is, do they have salesman? A salesman is going to drive up the cost another 10%. So if you don’t find the right company you can end up spending $4,500 for an AC unit replacement that should have only cost $3,500 once you factor in the sales man and marketing cost. 


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