Cost to Install Central Air Conditioner With No Existing Ductwork

Posted by: Mas Broto
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The cost to install central air with no existing ductwork ranges anywhere between $7,500 to $15,000. The final cost depends on where it is put, what materials are used, and how big it is. The cost of installing ductwork itself ranges from $2,500 to $7,500 on average.

Even though a central AC unit is the most common type, not every home has the ductwork that it needs. Still, if a new system were to be put in, new ducts would have to be put in. But before you call a professional HVAC company, you should think about how much it will cost to install central air with or without existing ductwork.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Central Air Conditioner?

The size of the unit, SEER rating, and any repairs that need to be done are the main factors that affect how much a Central AC unit costs.

What you pay will depend on where you live as well as the quality of the installation. There are many things to think about that affect the price. These things are:


A professional HVAC technician needs to look at your home before installing e new unit. During a pre-installation evaluation, you can find out how big of a system you need, how well your home is insulated, and if there are already ducts and vents. In particular, the pro will do a Manual J load calculation to find out how well your home keeps heat in. This will tell you what size unit you need, which will affect the cost of installing central air.

Keep in mind that a pre-installation evaluation can help you avoid problems that come up out of the blue and add to the total cost of the job.


Ducts and vents give the air conditioning a way to move. Older homes may not have ductwork, so depending on the type of air conditioning system you want to install, you may need to add that to your costs.

If your house doesn’t already have ductwork, you will need to install it before you can put in a central air system. Putting in ducts can be expensive, but you need ductwork if you want central air.

Ductwork Installation Cost

The national average cost of installing ductwork is between $1,900 and $6,000. Most homeowners spend around $4,000 to have a professional install 300 linear feet of replacement aluminum ducts, insulation, 10 vents, and 2 returns.

The least expensive part of this project is installing 50 linear feet of new aluminum ducts in addition to one vent. This will cost $550.

The high cost of the project is $12,000. It will cost that much to put in 10 vents, 2 returns, 300 linear feet of new ductwork, and insulation into an existing home that didn’t have any ducts before.

The price to install new ductwork is so varied because there are so many things that can affect how hard it is to install:

  • location
  • number of vents
  • ductwork material
  • number of temperature zones

Putting in ductwork takes a lot of work because you have to cut into your ceilings, walls, and floors. A skilled HVAC technician, on the other hand, can do a retrofit and hide the new ductwork without making much of a mess or changing the way your house is built.


The price of a central air conditioner doesn’t always show how good it is. Even though well-known name brands may use the same parts as other brands, they have a reputation for lasting longer or providing better service. A local HVAC company can tell you about the best brands for your area and what they have to offer.

Trane, Goodman, Lennox, and Carrier are some of the Best Central AC brands that have prices between $1,750 and $12,500.


Central air conditioning systems do need to be installed by a professional, so labor costs will be a big part of the total cost. The size, type, and orientation of your home, as well as the contractor’s, can make a big difference in how much it costs to install a central air conditioning system.

The energy efficiency of your unit is another thing that affects how much it costs to do the work. The SEER rating shows how well an air conditioner uses energy during the summer.

SEER ratings are found by dividing a unit’s cooling output for a certain season by the amount of energy it uses during that same season. Higher SEER ratings mean that an air conditioner works more efficiently, but they are usually more expensive to install. But in the long run, they may save you money by lowering your energy bills.

How Much Does it Cost to Install Central Air with Existing Ductwork?

If you already have ductwork, the cost of installing a central air system for your whole house will be very reasonable. A 2.5-ton central AC system costs between $2,500 and $5,000.

If nothing goes wrong, installing central air with existing ductwork will take 4 to 8 hours.

Keep in mind that a more powerful and efficient system can cost a lot of money. They can cost between $10,000 and $15,000.

Final Words

Even if your home doesn’t have ductwork, you can still talk to HVAC contractors about installing air conditioning if it will make your home more comfortable in the summer. They can tell you how much it will cost to install central air with no existing ductwork and how they would do it. Getting the right professional will give you years of comfort, and it’s often cheaper and less invasive than you might think.

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Mas Broto
Have been in the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry for over 20 years. He is person that will grow and thrive to learn more about the HVAC industry throughout his career. Mas Broto is also a blogger, who's dedicated to bringing you the best knowledge to get ahead in the game of life.