How much does air conditioning installation cost?

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Installing air conditioning in your home isn’t cheap, let alone the price of the unit itself. There are plenty of factors to consider and the different costs involved in the process. In this guide, we’ll look into the specifics and offer estimated prices that might be involved in installing a new air conditioner in your home.

Air conditioner installation costs explained

The full air conditioner installation cost includes labour and materials, with the following factors impacting the overall cost:

  • Type of air conditioner
  • Size of air conditioner
  • Number of units required to be installed
  • Piping and interconnecting cables necessary for the job
  • Cable ducting necessary for the installation
  • Upgrading the meter board if required

Once you’ve chosen your air conditioner, the rate you pay for labour may also differ depending on where you live and how easy it is to access your property.

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How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

Installing air conditioning can cost anywhere from $600 to $5,500 depending on the type of unit and the complexity of your situation. In Australia, air conditioning installers charge by the hour, and according to online service directory Hipages, you can expect the following prices for a split system unit:

  • For standard domestic air conditioning, expect to pay from $60 to around $110 per hour + GST
  • For commercial air conditioning, expect to pay about $80 to $140 per hour + GST

For a full installation, The Good Guys offers the following price guides on its website, although these costs are dependent on location, so may vary from state to state.

Size Price
<4kW Split System Air Conditioner From $600
4.1kW – 8kW Split System Air Conditioner From $700
>8.1kW Split System From $800

Source: The Good Guys, January 2022.

Considerations affecting installation costs

There are a few factors that will affect how much your installation will cost:

  • The size of your house
  • The number of units being installed
  • Existing electrical issues
  • How complex it will be to install new units

As each house, unit and property will likely be different, the final cost you pay for the installation process, as well as a new air conditioning system, may vary, so it’s important to get a number of quotes from installers to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

How powerful does my air conditioner need to be?

Before you buy an air conditioner, you should consider the space you are trying to cool, as the dimensions of your room will directly affect how powerful of an air conditioner you’ll need. As a general guide, consider an air conditioner for one room at a time. Air conditioners are measured in kilowatts, which are represented as kW.

Size of the room Kilowatts
10m² – 25m² 2.5kW
25m² – 35m² 3.5kW
30m² – 60m² 5-6kW
60m² – 80m² 7-8kW

Source: The Good Guys, January 2022.

Read more: What size air conditioner do I need?

How long does it take to install an air conditioner?

Specific requirements for each installation can differ and your installer should advise you how long it will take. Generally, you can expect a split system AC installation to take about four to eight hours, including the time it takes to remove an old unit if you’re replacing it.

Who can install an air conditioner for me?

Some retailers offer installation services along with their products, at an additional cost. Other people qualified to install an air conditioner include:

  • Licensed tradies
  • Dedicated ducted air conditioning installers
  • Licensed plumbers who can install, maintain and repair piping
  • Licensed electricians who can install the master control panels and any necessary wiring

However, they must be qualified and licensed to ensure trade compliance, given the importance of correct installation. Air conditioning installers will handle refrigerants, so the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) requires all installers and technicians to hold either a full Refrigeration & Air Conditioning licence or a restricted licence that allows them to only install split system air conditioners.

How much does an air conditioner cost?

Before thinking of the installation costs, you’ll also have to consider the purchase price of the unit you’re after. The cheapest air conditioners can be found for around $400, with larger, high-tech units fetching prices of $1,000 and up, depending on the capacity and brand. Here are some prices you can expect for the unit itself:

Type Price
Split system air conditioners $600 – $2,800
Reverse system air conditioners $800 – $3,000
Wall/window systems $400 – $1,200
Portable air conditioners $400 – $1,200
Ducted air conditioning $5,000+ (unit & installation costs)

General Guide Only

When it comes to additional air conditioner costs, it’s important to consider the energy efficiency ratings before buying a new unit. In the long run, a higher energy star rating can equate to lower electricity bills.

Looking for more guides on air conditioners?

What is the difference between the types of air conditioners?

Generally speaking, there are six different types of air conditioners:

  • Split system: Made up of two parts (one inside the home and one outside), split system air cons are cheaper and allow you to cool rooms individually. They operate to cool a room only.
  • Reverse cycle split system: One unit that can act as an air conditioner in summer and heater in winter. Reverse cycle air cons are slightly more expensive than a split system but can help save on energy costs by combining appliances.
  • Inverter system: Inverter system units ‘read’ the air and adjust the temperature in the room accordingly. They are more expensive but can save you money on energy costs in the long run by avoiding long stints at extreme temperatures.
  • Multi system: Made up of multiple units (hence the name), multi system air cons allow cooling over a larger area, but not cooling of individual rooms.
  • Window wall: Window wall units are located on the outside of a building. Some models have the option to heat and cool a room.
  • Portable: Appearing a bit like a small heater or fan, portable air conditioners can be moved to wherever you need. They are cheaper to purchase but can be less effective than installed air conditioner units.
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The bottom line on air conditioner costs

Before buying an air conditioner, ask your retailer about the costs involved in installation. It would be wise to shop around and get quotes from a number of providers to compare, and ensure you get all the costs to know exactly how much the installer will charge you at the end of the day. It’s best to do your research so that you don’t end up with any nasty surprises after the job is done, as well as give you time to set enough money aside to properly budget for your next air con project.

And if you’re not sure about which brand you should be looking at, check out our ratings on air conditioners below, to help you keep your cool.

Compare Air Conditioners

Picture credits: goodluz/, JP WALLET/, Andrew Angelov/

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