With summer temperatures rising, you, like many Canadians across the country may be feeling overwhelmed with skyrocketing cooling bills.
All prices listed in this article are INCLUDING INSTALLATION, unless otherwise noted. These prices are estimates, and are likely to vary based on many factors.
In this article, we cover (click to jump to section):
Below we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the average cost of a new central air conditioner, breaking down prices by major brands and manufacturers, as well as by city and region across Canada. We also discuss important factors like installation which can affect the final price.
Things That Affect the Cost of a New Central Air Conditioner
Many different factors can impact the final price you pay to install a new central air conditioning system in your home, or to replace your old unit, including:
- A/C Brand: Like cars or clothing, some brands cost more than others. The more expensive brands aren’t necessarily always better, sometimes they just spend more on marketing and position themselves as more “high-end” products.
- A/C Model: Every manufacturer offers a range of models from less expensive and less-efficient entry-level models, to higher end, more energy-efficient air conditioners with more features, quieter operation, better performance, and so on.
- A/C Size: Each A/C model will also come in a range of sizes to suit different homes. The larger your home, building, or business/commercial space and the more square footage you’re cooling, the larger (and more expensive) the unit will be.
- Installation: Every home is different, so things like where exactly the unit will be installed, what type of additional labour might be required, how old your current system and furnace are, whether any safety upgrades must be made to meet modern building codes, and other factors can affect the installation cost.
- Where You Live: Living in a rural area or smaller town vs a major urban area with more competition between local companies can affect the price you pay. Prices may also vary a bit if you live in a more or less affluent neighbourhood for example.
- Which Company You Buy From: Different companies will quote different prices based on their overhead and the level of service they provide. Going for the best price you can find is not always the best move, and you often get what you pay for… companies that charge very low prices may not provide as good workmanship, may not be as established and reliable, or may not offer the same level of service, warranty coverage, and so on.
2018 Central Air Conditioner Prices by Brand/Manufacturer
Note that these prices are general estimates including installation and will vary significantly by region you live, the company or contractor you deal with, and other factors like the location and complexity of the installation, and of course the exact model you choose.
We compare several of the most popular central air conditioner manufacturers in Canada, and we’ve grouped them into three different pricing tiers, based on average prices for their products across the country. Please note these tiers are not necessarily meant to indicate a difference in quality, but rather the relative average prices of each brand of A/C.
Furthermore, every brand usually has a range of products with lower-cost and higher-end models.
The 3 tiers are defined as follows:
- Economy Tier: These brands offer good quality products at a price point that is usually slightly less than the average
- Mid-range: These make up the bulk of the popular brands on the market and most of their products fall somewhere in the middle range of prices
- Premium: These two brands heavily market themselves as being market leaders, and their prices often reflect this. Expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars more for the ‘premium brand name’
Economy Tier Air Conditioner Prices
Focusing on overall efficiency of their air conditioning units these brands offer consumers several efficiency options from 13 to 19 SEER, without the additional innovative technologies seen in the upper tiers. If you are willing to give up some bells and whistles available in the higher tiers, then these brands are an excellent option for cooling your home without breaking your budget.
*Please see further down for more in-depth pricing information
Mid-range Air Conditioner Prices
As you move into the mid-range brands you can expect to see a slight increase in price. This increase is due to some additional features/options that Amana, American Standard, Bryant, Rheem, Trane, and Napoleon offer, that are not offered in the economy tier. Like the economy tier you will notice a wide range of options from 13-24.5 SEER. However given that air conditioners are only operating during a few months of the year, most Canadians choose central ACs in the 13 to 18 SEER range.
Premium Tier Air Conditioner Prices
As expected we see the highest price points in our premium brands, Lennox and Carrier. High performance cooling, quality and durability, units are available in 13-21 SEER.
Air Conditioner Prices by Unit Size & Ton
The larger your home or small/medium commercial building you’re trying to cool, the larger the central air conditioner unit that will be needed. See our Central Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide or more information about how to choose the correct size air conditioner for your home.
This chart gives a rough estimate of how prices will vary based on the required unit size and tonnage. Obviously there are many other factors that will affect price like the brand, model, efficiency rating, installation, and so on. This is only meant to give you an idea of the general differences in cost as the unit gets larger.
We’ve listed approximate price for each size along three different pricing tiers from cheaper value A/Cs, mid-range models, and high end central air conditioners.
|1.5 Ton||Value tier: $2400|
Mid-Range tier: $2825
Premium tier: $3200
|2 Ton||Value tier: $2600|
Mid-Range tier: $3025
Premium tier: $3500
|2.5 Ton||Value tier: $2800|
Mid-Range tier: $3225
Premium tier: $3800
|3 Ton||Value tier: $3000|
Mid-Range tier: $3425
Premium tier: $4100
|3.5 Ton||Value tier: $3200|
Mid-Range tier: $3625
Premium tier: $4500
|4 Ton||Value tier: $3300|
Mid-Range tier: $3825
Premium tier: $5000
|5 Ton||Value tier: $3500|
Mid-Range tier: $4050
Premium tier: $6000
Air Conditioner Installation Costs
Expect to pay between $500-$1000 for a professional installation of your high-efficiency air conditioner. Note that the prices listed on this page generally include installation and most contractors will provide a quote for the unit AND installation.
“Why is installation so expensive?”
An installation performed by an experienced and certified HVAC technician gives you peace of mind that the job will be done right the first time. An improperly sized or incorrectly installed air conditioning unit will not cool your home efficiently. This can lead to accelerated wear and damage, resulting in greater cost to you for repair or replacement.
HVAC contractors must generally pay for necessary insurance, local licensing, permits, and overhead costs like equipment, vehicles, and administrative staff to operate. This is why we generally caution consumers against going for suspiciously cheap offers you occasionally see advertised online… in many cases, there’s a very good reason why the prices are so cheap!
“Can I install my central air conditioner myself?”
Unless you’re a licensed electrician or HVAC technician, it’s generally best to leave the installation to the experts.
2018 Air Conditioner Prices by City & Region
At Furnace Prices, we understand that the replacement cost of an old unit or the cost of a new high-efficiency air conditioner is at the forefront of consumers minds. To that end, our experts have compiled a breakdown of pricing that you can expect to pay for a new high-efficiency furnace.
Want to enjoy the benefits of an air conditioned home this summer powered by the cooling action of a high efficiency air conditioning unit, without spending thousands of dollars up front? Find out about comprehensive A/C financing plans starting at the low price of $35.00/month!
*PLEASE NOTE: These are only estimates. Things like the brand, model, BTU cooling output/size (tonnage), efficiency rating (SEER) of air conditioner, neighbourhood in which you live, local cost of living, local licensing requirements or variations in safety codes, variance from one company to another, differences in installation costs at your home, and distance from a major urban centre can influence the final price you pay. Increased competition between HVAC contractors in larger cities for instance, can also affect price.
Pricing includes cost of installation, and removal of your old unit is usually free of charge or included by most contractors.
Pricing varies across Ontario, and depending on what city you reside in you can expect to pay anywhere from $2500 – $5000 for a new moderate to high-efficiency air conditioner.
You may find some particularly cheap “deals” advertised, especially on places like classified sites, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area. We generally advise caution with these as you often get what you pay for. Things like shoddy workmanship, refurbished units, unreliable companies that don’t honour warranties are not unheard of, and we regularly receive calls for help from consumers in these situations.
If possible, save yourself the headache and added expenses down the road, and deal with established and reputable distributors in the first place.
Barrie – $3200 – $4500
Brampton – $2200 – $4200
Belleville/Kingston – $3000 – $4500
Guelph – $2500 – $3500
Hamilton – $2500 – $4200
Kitchener – $2500 – $4200
London – $2500 – $4200
Mississauga – $2200 – $4200
Northern Ontario – $3200 – $4500
Western Ontario – $2500 – $4200
Ottawa – $2800 – $4800
Toronto – $2200 – $4500
A high-efficiency air conditioner can cost between $3200-$4200 across Manitoba.
Winnipeg – $3200 – $4200
Enjoy the benefits of a new high-efficiency air conditioning unit with pricing, between $3200-$4500 throughout Alberta.
Calgary – $3200 – $4200
Edmonton – $3200 – $4200
Rural Alberta – $3500 – $4500
Pricing in Saskatchewan for a new high-efficiency cooling system is approximately $3000-$4200.
Regina – $3000 – $4200
REST OF CANADA
Average between $3000 – $5000
Central Air Conditioner Ownership Costs in Canada
“What Kind of Ongoing Costs Can I Expect Once I Purchase My Air Conditioner?”
Once you’ve made the initial investment of purchasing a new, high-efficiency air conditioner you should set aside room in your budget for occasional maintenance. Most Canadians can expect to pay less than $100/year on average for maintenance and repairs + electricity usage to operate their central air conditioner. In addition, you’ll obviously have to consider the added electricity costs which we examine in the next section.
“What is the yearly cost of owning an air conditioner?”
Apart from the initial purchase cost, most Canadians can expect to spend $300 – $1000+ per year to operate a central air conditioner, including maintenance and electricity bill costs. Most homes will probably be in the low to middle end of that range, with the largest homes tending to be at the higher end.
Factors Affecting Electricity Usage and A/C Operating Costs
1) Size of your home – larger homes require a larger air conditioning unit which in turn draws more electricity to power it.
2) How much your air conditioner is used – some people cool their house 24/7, while others prefer to use it in the evenings and during the night to aid sleeping in the summer heat. If you limit your usage to only the hottest days and switch the unit off when temperatures are more bearable, you’ll save some money.
3) How low the thermostat temperature is set – the lower the temperature setting the more electricity required to run your unit to maintain that temperature.
4) How well insulated the home is – well insulated homes help to retain the cool air that is circulated by your air conditioner, and keep warm air out. It goes without saying that you should make sure to keep all windows and doors closed as well!
5) Weather & climate – the hotter the temperature the more use you will have for your air conditioner.
6) Efficiency of your unit – the higher the SEER the more efficient your unit is. An 18 SEER central air conditioner will result in greater energy savings than a 14 SEER central air conditioner.
7) Peak hour use – electricity prices are higher during peak hours.
8) Shade & other factors – things like the amount of trees and shade around your home can affect the internal temperature and thus A/C use
All things considered, your average monthly electricity costs to run a central air conditioner in most parts of Canada are likely between $50 – $250+/month based on the above factors.
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