The Average Cost of a Home Air Conditioning Unit

Keeping a home cool with air conditioning makes the hotter months more bearable.

Criteria for a window unit

Keep your home cool in the hot months with air-conditioningKeep your home cool in the hot months with air-conditioning
Portable or window air conditioning units may be used in individual rooms or a central air system can be installed to cool the entire house.

Before selecting a window or portable unit, Consumer Reports recommends three considerations: "size it correctly, note the noise, and factor in the window location."

Portable unit prices

Prices at Home Depot in 2010 start at $99 for a small room unit with 5,000 BTU and increase in price with size and power. A unit with 18,000 BTU cools 1,000 square feet for $349.

Central air system costs

Central air systems cost between $6,000 and $10,000 to install in homes already fitted with a forced air heating system with ductwork in place, according to CNN Money. Adding ductwork will increase estimated costs by $2,500 to $4,000.

Rate the noise

Some room units are noisy when running and may disturb light sleepers, warns Consumer Reports.

Check the size

Be sure to install an appropriately sized unit for the space, as the U.S. Department of Energy warns that "many people buy an air conditioner that is too large."

About the Author

Michelle Hornaday lives in Edmonds, Washington and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Washington State University and a Master of Education from Northern Arizona University. She is currently a freelance writer for various websites.