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How Much Does Window AC Unit Installation Cost?

Window Air Conditioner Install Prices

Window air conditioners aren't the most efficient way to cool an entire home, but if you're looking to provide heat relief to one or two rooms, this type of unit is very effective (which is why it is also known as a room air conditioner). This buying guide explains the major window air conditioner options as well as how much the units cost to purchase and install.

Window Air Conditioner Considerations

Energy Efficiency

The efficiency of air conditioners is described by their Energy Efficiency Rating, or EER. Ranging from a federal minimum of 8 to as high as 11.5, the EER is the ratio of a unit's cooling capacity (in British thermal units per hour [Btu/h]) to its power input (in watts). Choose an air conditioner with an EER of 10 or greater to achieve energy savings.

Sizing

To provide adequate cooling and maximum efficiency, an air conditioner must be sized appropriately. To determine the correct air conditioner size you must look at two numbers: the output of the AC unit (in Btu/h) and the size of the room. As a general rule of thumb, an air conditioner requires 20 Btu for each square foot it is to cool. So, for example, a 200 square foot room would need an AC unit with an output of at least 4,000 Btu/h.

Window Air Conditioner Installation

Although installing window air conditioner units is a straightforward do-it-yourself task, if you're physically unable to do it, or just would prefer not to, then a professional can do it for you. There are steps you can take, however, to improve the efficiency of the air conditioner and/or make it a permanent installation, and for this, a professional is recommended.

Replacing the air conditioner skirts with Plexiglas or Lexan will allow a much better air seal around the air conditioner, helping to ensure the efficiency of the unit as well as providing a view through the sides of the unit.

Making an air conditioning unit permanent is the same as the modified temporary setup described above with the exception that it additionally requires the use of window silicone to permanently seal the unit from air flow. But keep in mind that this type of installation is meant for milder climates, not cold regions, as the AC unit itself is not insulating.

Window Air Conditioner Average Costs

The actual cost to purchase and install a window air conditioner depends on the size and type of the unit, the local economy, the presence of any installation complications, and other factors.

  • A 5,000 to 6,000 Btu window air conditioner costs $100 to $200, while 10,000 Btu units cost $250 to $400 and 18,000 Btu units cost $400 to $700. Advanced models with heating and cooling capacity, remote controls, and programmable options might cost as much as $1,000 or more.
  • Hiring a professional to install a window air conditioner starts at $50 to $100 (no major modifications needed) and could be as much as $100 to $200 if it's necessary to modify the window and/or jam or install a bracket.
  • Replacing an air conditioner skirt with better-insulating materials at the time it's installed, or sealing it permanently into the window, might run the total installation cost to $200 to $400.

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