Last Updated Jun 9, 2016 · Written by Craig Gibson
Thinking of installing air conditioning or replacing your existing system?
With rising electricity prices, keeping a cap on your air conditioning running costs are an important consideration. You also need to factor in the cost of purchasing a unit of the correct size and work out how much installation will be.
So how much does air conditioning installation cost?
This article will give you an idea of who can legally install your system and what they may charge.
© Noble Air Conditioning
There are basically three types of air conditioning systems on the market:
Portable: portable air con units are versatile in that they can be placed anywhere with a plug/power outlet. They are however limited in their output and generally only suitable for a single room.
Portable air conditioning unit
Split systems: the most common type of air con system, which consist of an (internal) head unit and (external) condensor/compressor. These are relatively affordable though coverage is on a per room basis.
Split air conditioning unit © Evolve Air Conditioning
Ducted systems: these are integrated into your home’s ceiling and wall cavity, and are designed for whole home heating & cooling. They are visually less intrusive than a split system, but do cost more to purchase and install.
Read more: Ducted Air Con vs Split Systems
Ducted air conditioning outlet integrated into a wall © Air Elite Airconditioning and Electrical Services
You will need to work out what capacity air conditioner you need. Factors to consider include:
The size of your home: The larger the floor area, the larger capacity your unit will need to be. If you have a multi-storey home then may require a number of units for different zones, which will add to the total cost.
Ceiling height: If you have high ceilings your unit will need to generate enough cool air to maintain a comfortable temperature in each room.
Number of windows: Windows can account for up to 40 per cent of a home’s heat loss, so you need to account for this when choosing an air conditioning system.
© Noble Air Conditioning
Read more: How much does air conditioning cost to run?
Yes. Because air conditioning installers handle refrigerants, 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.
A number of different tradies could undertake an installation for you, including dedicated ducted air conditioning installers, licensed plumbers who can install, maintain and repair piping, ducting as well as licensed electricians who can install the master control panels and any wiring that is required.
#hiptip: All tradies who install air conditioning need to be licensed to carry this work out in your home
Roof-mounted compressor unit © Air Elite Airconditioning and Electrical Services
A number of factors will influence your final quote, specifically the:
Expect to spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars or more for an air conditioning unit. A portable unit may cost around $500, while a new split system unit can start from $900. The price you pay depends on the unit’s kilowatt capacity. If the unit has a higher energy output, it will cost more than a unit with a lower output. If you live in a small space – such as a studio apartment – a portable unit can be more affordable than a split system.
For an idea of prices (excluding installation) for a variety of systems, expect to pay in the region:
#hiptip: Always get at least three written quotes before you decide to hire a business
Installing a wall-mounted head unit
Once you’ve chosen your air conditioner, you’ll need to get it installed. The rate you pay depends on several factors, including where you live, the air conditioner you’ve chosen, how many units you’re installing and the ease of access on your property.
Air conditioning installers charge by the hour - expect to be charged anywhere from $60 - $110 per hour + GST for domestic air conditioning and $80 - $140 per hour + GST for commercial units.
For a wall hung split type air conditioning system, expect to be charged:
If you are installing a reverse ducted air conditioning system, some typical prices quoted online (unit + installation) are:
Before hiring an air conditioning installer, it’s wise to get quotes from several providers. After you’ve compared quotes, ensure you understand how much the installer is going to charge. And given the importance of correct installation, always choose a reputable air conditioner installer who is licensed, insured and can provide referrals.
The best way of finding out the cost of your air con project is to get quotes from local air conditioning installers. This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are.
* All the costs and prices quoted were sourced at the time this article was written. They are indicative, may vary locally, are subject to market forces and should only be used as a guide.