installing central AC -- cost

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Hi,
We are thinking about buying a house that we really like -- but it has no central AC. I'm trying to get a sense about how much it could cost to install a central AC in that house. It's a 3 year old colonial house (I don't know why on earth a house this young would not have central AC!). It has baseboard heat, so I guess the ducts are not in place. It has 2 floors, about 2650 sqaure feet of living space.
We can't really call in some contractors to do an estimate, because it's not our house yet. But before we make a decision to buy it, we really need to get a sense on how much a central AC is going to cost us.
Any information is greatly appreciated!
Jessica
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Anyone who answers that question here will be working as much in the dark as a contractor. Anyone who really wants to sell their home will allow you to bring in a contractor. I just bought a home that I felt might cause me some problems with local code regarding fence installation, so I got the seller to allow me to bring over the town's building inspector and a fence contractor. No problem.
So, if you already own a house and have a heating contractor you're happy with, arrange for an on-site estimate. Or, ask friends for recommendations. Then, tell your realtor to get with the seller's realtor and set up the visit. If they refuse, move to the next house. As a last resort, a heating contractor may be able to give you a good ballpark figure based on square footage and the year the house was built.

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In some climates it would be a silly investment.
It has baseboard heat, so I guess the ducts are not in

Two floors, no ducts in place, it will cost plenty. Just a WAG, well over $10,000. Talk to a good AC installer as there may be alternate methods, split systems, more than one system. Ed
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No ducts, 2 floors , Space pack may be needed, and are you going to be suprised ! 10000 , probably alot lot lot lot more. Double ? Tripple ? Dont buy it unless you get bidders in there to see what options you have . And you need not anyone but a pro that does hundreds and you verfy that. The cost is running the tube you may have an easy install or one from hell that will cost you. Then again maybe it will be vary easy and cheap, who knows.
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I wouldn't venture a guess even if I knew your location and saw the house, however, some of these pot-shot estimates seem a little high.
Just this past autumn, a friend and his neighbor had central a/c installed. (Neither home had any ductwork) Both identical 3-bedroom ranches. (Or "splanches as they call them, most rooms oversized)
Both paid 3100.00 for 1400 su. ft. Both have accessible attics and all the work and equipment was done inside the attics.
I have to imagine a 2-story colonial would need 2x this same treatment, the upstairs bedrooms handled by 1 attic air handler, and the 1st floor served by a similar arrangement, but through the basement.
I know ductwork has gotten more expensive since last autumn...
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Ducts for many houses cannot be run, Its Spacepack. Out of the park on price, in 91 we paid 15 g for spacepack, many bids. Same houses now go 40 g for spacepack. Some alot higher some alot lower. It all depends on the house.
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What's Spacepack?

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Spacepack perhaps by Unico and another co uses a 3.5" round flex duct that can be fished anywhere. It is a high air volume system, It pulls out humidity better than a regular system and all you see for vents are paintable round holes in the ceilings. It is often the only solution other than knocking out walls to run metal duct. Installation is nearly dustless if the installer uses a ball on the drill with the apx 3.5" drill bit - hole cutter. The air flows through a 2" flex surrounded by insulation and can be fished anywhere. If designed right it works great, few installers do it , as a retrofit it is expensive.
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wrote in message

And then there are climates where it's a good investment, but some people believe that 90 degrees in August (indoors) here in Rochester NY is not as uncomfortable as 90 degrees outdoors in Miami, simply because we have a longer winter. Figure THAT logic out! Fortunately, such people are largely ignored.
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I agree with them. After months of cold it is a nice change to be uncomfortably warm for a short while. And it is a short while. Sweat a bit, it can be very sensual.
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Yeah...it's great to stick to the furniture and arrive at work smelling like you just ran 5 miles in the sun. :-)
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This is one reason I installed an attic fan -- if you can reduce the temperature in the attic such that the temperature in the house is reduced just a few degrees, you can prevent running a window AC unit (or several), which saves money in the end. Heck, it's 80+ during the day here in CT, but it gets into the low to mid 60s at night. Contrast that with AZ, where it could be 90 for a LOW.
--
Bob in CT
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but it's a dry heat. it was <10% humidity all this week, with one day getting below 5%.
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Charles Spitzer posted for all of us....

I remember you saying 15% elsewhere...
--
Tekkie

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Someone needs to learn how to calibrate their humidistat and watch a weather channel once in a while, 10 % is the Sahara
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I've got a whole house fan, which works wonders, if the temps get down at night. Pull out all the hot air during the night, and close up the house during the day.
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I'm in a similar climate to you. In a new home I'd probably put in central. In an existing home with no ducts (like mine) I'd not bother with the expense. I have a couple of window shakers for the few days we need AC. So far this year the bedroom has been on maybe five nights, the rest of the house not at all. Middle of July and I closed some windows tonight as it is too cool! Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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Why not? If it helps you make the decision, I'd think the sellers would let you have a contractor take a look. We did it with the home we just bought. The people who bought our house came over before they closed to measure the laundry space so they could make decisions on machines. It wasn't a problem. I can see if you wanted to have contractors over there several times for different jobs that would be annoying, but if you just want a ballpark then ask the sellers if you can.
JennP.
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Jessica wrote:

Very, very rough guess is you're looking at $10-20 thousand, based on estimates I had for houses I looked at in the same size. But like other people say, the costs are probably going to vary a lot depending on where you are and what the specifics of the house are. Budget on the high end since a weak system isn't any fun, and if you have money left over you can put it in an IRA.
Think about the amount of time between now and closing and then the amount of time to get estimates, select someone, and then schedule work, and you may not get it installed until fall anyway, so this year you may want to just make do with window units or fans and take your time getting estimates and selecting the right company.
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