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
Any information is greatly appreciated!
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.
No ducts, 2 floors , Space pack may be needed, and are you going to be
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,
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...
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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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