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What's the Cost to Install a Central AC in San Marcos, TX?

May 04, 2018

what size air conditioner do i need in san marcos?

If you’re in need of a new AC, the first thing on your mind is probably price.

So here it is: The cost to install a new central air conditioner in San Marcos ranges from $3,000 to $8,500+.

However, what you’ll actually pay for a new air conditioner depends on the following factors:

  1. The size of the AC
  2. How efficient the AC is
  3. AC feature upgrades
  4. An extended warranty
  5. The HVAC contractor you hire

Let’s go into more detail about each of these cost factors so you can get a better idea of what you’ll pay for a new AC.

Want a quote for a new AC that’s specific to your home and needs?

Cost factor #1: The size of the AC

Size plays a big (no pun intended) role when it comes to price.

You see, the bigger the air conditioner, the more expensive it will be.

First off, when we talk about air conditioner size, we’re not talking about its physical dimensions, but rather its tonnage.

AC size is measured in tonnage (i.e. “tons”), with most residential units ranging from 1.5 to 5 tons in size, including half-ton increments (2.5, 3.5, etc.)

However, it’s important that homeowners realize that bigger isn’t necessarily better. You see, if you get an air conditioner that’s too big, it will cool your home really quickly and then shut off (called short cycling) which leads to higher energy bills and bio-growth in the system.

Instead, you need an air conditioner that fits your home’s needs perfectly.

So how do you know what size AC you need?

That’s where a professional needs to step in. An HVAC pro has the right tools and knowledge to perform a cooling load calculation, which will tell you exactly what size AC fits your home.

This heat load calculation takes into account AC sizing factors like…

  • # of rooms in your home
  • # of people living at home
  • # of windows and doors
  • Orientation of the home (i.e., east-facing, north-facing, etc.)
  • The quality of your home’s insulation
  • The quality of your home’s existing ductwork
  • The landscape of your home (are there trees that surround the house?)
  • And much more

Cost factor #2: How efficient the AC is

The next factor that influences price is AC efficiency. When it comes to price, the bottom line is that the more efficient the air conditioner, the more expensive it will be.

Air conditioner efficiency is measured by Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the AC.

Most residential units range from 14 SEER (the minimum required by law here in Texas) to 21 SEER.

Although they are more expensive upfront, a higher SEER (16+) air conditioner consumes less energy, which lowers your monthly electric bill.

A higher SEER (16+) AC also has advanced features like a 2-stage or variable-speed compressor, which can…

  • Decrease the humidity levels in your home
  • Provide more even cooling (no cold or hot spots)

Cost factor #3: AC feature upgrades

You can add features to your air conditioner that will upgrade its performance. Of course, these features all cost extra.

Some common AC feature upgrades include:

  • Programmable & smart thermostats — These thermostats allow you to make a custom cooling schedule to control how often your AC runs during the day, which saves you money on your energy bills (i.e., the AC automatically knows not to run when you’re away at work). Additionally, you can control smart thermostats through WiFi from your phone, which makes adjusting your home’s temperature very convenient.
  • Air quality features — UV air purifiers, high-quality filters and dehumidifiers will all improve your home’s air quality, but they’ll also raise the price of your AC install.
  • Noise-reduction features — Don’t want a loud AC? You can add features like dampening stips, mounts/extra insulation for the compressor and noise-reducing fan blades that will make your AC quieter.

Cost factor #4: An extended warranty

Most air conditioners automatically come with  2 types of warranties:

  1. A limited parts warranty from the manufacturer, which covers important parts like the compressor and evaporator coil for 6–10 years (depending on the manufacturer)
  2. A limited labor warranty from the HVAC contractor who installs your air conditioner, which covers any repairs with a 1–2 year period (depending on the contractor)

However, if you want to add additional coverage by purchasing an “extended warranty”, you’ll pay more upfront.

  1. An extended parts warranty from the manufacturer can cover important AC parts for up to a maximum of 10–15 years total (depending on the manufacturer)
  2. An extended labor warranty from the HVAC contractor can cover the labor to replace/repair most AC parts for 5+ years total (depending on the contractor)

As you shop for a new AC, ask the contractor you hire to explain your warranty options.

Cost factor #5: The HVAC contractor you hire

Who you hire to install your AC affects how much you’ll pay. You see, not all contractors charge the same for their services. Some charge more; others, less.

As a good rule of thumb, more experienced contractors generally charge more for their services. But they also typically do a better job than a contractor who offers a super-low install cost.

When it comes to installing a new air conditioner, you want to make sure the job is done right the first time, so you don’t have to worry about shelling out money for serious repairs and decreased efficiency down the road.

As you look around for a top-grade HVAC contractor, make sure…

  • They have been in business at least 10 years so you know they have a good track record
  • They are licensed and insured in case something goes wrong on the job
  • They give you an upfront estimate in writing, so there are no surprises when you get the final bill
  • They have good online customer reviews on sites like Better Business Bureau, Yelp and Google

Need a new AC for your San Marcos home?

We’d be happy to answer any of your questions or help you schedule an appointment with one of our trusted techs.

When you schedule an appointment with us, you can count on:

  • Reliable technicians who do the job right the first time
  • Reliable scheduling so you get your install done at a time that’s convenient for you
  • Reliable customer service so you know you’ll be 100% satisfied with our work

Visit our AC installation service page to learn more about what to expect when you hire Reliable Air.