Central air conditioner prices, like most other durable good in the USA, were actually falling in 2010, and the trend continued right into 2011. This is primarily caused from the long lasting slowdown in the economy and the need to encourage consumer spending. Fortunately for consumers like you, this means 2011 central air conditioner prices are just as good of a bargain, if not better, than they were last year!
While the installation costs will vary from company to company, there are a few differences that won’t change central air conditioner prices! The most important of which is the brand of central air conditioner you choose. Just like cars, different brand air conditioners have different prices than others, based on things like:
Based on the average air conditioner size of 3 Tons, you can expect central air conditioner prices to hover around the following scale:
Just like the brand of central air conditioner you choose, the air conditioner size you need is going to add a variable into the final air conditioner cost. The larger the unit – the more it will cost!
The general understanding when it comes to size and cost, is that bigger cost more! Not hard to realize for sure… larger central air conditioners need more steel, aluminum and copper, therefore they cost more!
Air conditioner efficiency, or how well it makes use of the energy it consumes while it works, will also have an effect on the central air conditioner price you pay! This is measured by a standard called SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.
As of January 2006, all Central Air Conditioners in the US must meet a minimum seer of 13, or 14 seer to be considered Energy Star qualified, and eligible for any of the energy tax credits. (source)
Just like the size of AC system affects price, the seer rating will do the same.
The general rule of thumb on where to spend your efficiency dollars, lies in what you use most. If you live in Michigan for instance, where you only use the air conditioner for 2-3 months out of the year, you will not likely get any return on your high efficiency air conditioner investment.
Someone in Florida though, who uses the central air conditioner for 10 months out of the year, will regain the higher efficiency cost in just a year or two.
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