A window air conditioning unit provides a convenient way to cool a room—and is an economical alternative to retrofitting a house with central air. Labor costs commonly range from $70 to $150 to install a typical window unit, but if preparation requirements or the size or location of the air conditioner call for extra time, skill, or manpower, the cost of the could reach $300 or more.
Estimating the Cost of a Window AC Installation
Who to Call
Installing a window air conditioning unit is usually a pretty straightforward process, making it a good project for a handyman or a competent do-it-yourselfer. If a window can easily accept the unit without modifications or extra support and there is a power supply available at the site, a handyman can probably secure, connect, and test an air conditioner within an hour. If there isn’t an appropriate power supply nearby, you’ll need to call in an electrician to install an outlet prior to the installation.
Most installation work is priced according to the time involved, and some pros charge flat rates for straightforward jobs. It’s common for a handyman or installer to charge a minimum fee of $50 to $100 for this kind of work, or between $25 and $60 per hour. If there is some site preparation or other work required, such as the installation of a support bracket or drainage line, the cost of installation will reflect the added time and any materials used for the job.
Benefits of a Window AC Installation
Installing a window air conditioner is an economical way to cool a single room or area, and installing one is much simpler than setting up a central or ductless system. If you’re able to install the unit on your own you can pocket the cost of labor, but even if you bring in a pro it’s still an affordable job.
Most window air conditioner installations involve placing the unit in an open window, adding support on the exterior wall if needed, sealing the space around the unit, and connecting it to a power source. The ease of installation makes this a quick project for a handyman or other pro.
Hiring a pro to install a window AC unit can help ensure it operates correctly and efficiently. A pro will take steps to ensure you have the right power source for your model and that it is installed correctly to prevent damage to your window and keep condensate water from leaking inside your home.
The height and accessibility of a window can affect the cost of installing an AC unit. Though most air conditioners are set in place from the inside, some require brackets on the outside of the wall to support their weight. If your air conditioner is going in an upper level window and your pro needs to install brackets from a ladder, the cost of the job will go up. The ease with which your installer can access the window from inside is important, too. If the AC unit needs to be carried upstairs or placed in a high window, the job could be more challenging than working from the floor at the ground level of the home.
Some window styles accommodate air conditioners better than others, and if yours needs some modifications to fit the unit securely, the extra time and materials used will add to the bottom line. Double-hung windows are typically the simplest to work with, and require little or no modification. In order to get a secure installation in a sliding or casement window, removing a sash and/or installing a solid panel may be necessary to seal the opening around the unit.
Air Conditioner Size
The cost of an air conditioner typically goes up with its size or capacity, but the size and weight of the appliance can affect the cost of installation as well. If your installer needs a second person to carry and maneuver the unit into position, labor could cost twice as much than if a pro can handle the job alone. Also, larger units are more likely to require the installation of support brackets, which could add $50 to $100 to the cost of the job.
Window AC Installation Details
The capacity of air conditioners is measured in BTUs, and units are generally labeled for their ability to cool a room up to a certain size. In order to get the most effective and efficient operation from your air conditioner, be sure to choose one that is suited for the place you’ll install it. Also check to see if the unit requires support brackets to prevent damage to the air conditioner or the window.
An air conditioner should be plugged directly into a receptacle, not used with an extension cord. Many modern units plug into a standard grounded 110 outlet, but some larger units require 220 or 230 volt connections. If there is not an appropriate outlet near your installation site, an electrician will need to install one before the AC can be connected. This job can cost between $100 and $250 in most cases, depending on the accessibility of the wiring and the distance to the electrical panel.
Preparing for Your Air Conditioner Installation
Prepare the Area
While the installation of a window air conditioner is usually a straightforward job, the process can be simpler when the installation site is ready to go. Simple steps like removing the window screen and moving furniture out of the way can make the job go faster and smoother for your pro. If you’ve determined that you need a new electrical outlet to suit your air conditioner, be sure to have that job complete before scheduling the AC installation.
Since your installer will need to work from the inside of your house, you’ll need to be home at the time of the job. If you are supplying the AC unit for the installation, be sure to have it ready for your pro; if you’re buying a new unit, make sure it’s on site in time for the appointment and if you’re installing one you already own, be sure to have it out of storage or at least accessible. Check ahead of time to determine if your air conditioner requires support brackets and whether your installer will supply them.
|$60 - $125||$110 - $220||$275 - $500|
Installing a window air conditioner is a fairly straightforward project, but the type and location of a window and any special preparation involved can affect the price of the job.
Simple Install: $60 - $125
- • AC Unit: A compact 5,000 BTU unit does the trick in a small room, and doesn’t require extra support from wall brackets.
- • Window Location: Installing an air conditioner on a first floor window can be done from the inside, eliminating the need for a ladder or a helper.
- • Preparation and Services: A power source is within reach, so all that’s needed here is to place, connect, and test the unit.
Moving on Up: $110 - $220
- • AC Unit: A 10,000 BTU air conditioner is required to cool a larger area here. The unit is bigger and heavier than one used for a smaller space, which can make the job a little challenging.
- • Window Location: A second-story window is the spot for this unit, and to be on the safe side, support brackets will be installed. An extension ladder will be needed, making this a riskier and more time-consuming project than a simple, first-floor install.
- • Preparation and Services: In addition to support brackets, a drain hose is fitted to the outside of the air conditioner to help direct condensate water that drains from the unit.
Custom Modification: $275 - $550
- • AC Unit: A modest 7,000 BTU air conditioner is used here, but the challenge lies in fitting it into a top-swing awning window. Since this is an unconventional set-up, support brackets are used for extra security.
- • Window Location: This unit is installed in a first-floor window, so the extra work involved can be completed from a stepladder. On the inside however, a new outlet is needed. The electrical work can add $150 to $250 to the bottom line.
- • Preparation and Services: In order to fit the AC unit in the awning window, the sash must be removed. A customized panel must be made to fill the space above the unit before it can be connected and tested.
Level of Difficulty
Installing a window air conditioner in a prepared site is a great job for a beginning DIYer with enough muscle for the job. If the project calls for extra manpower or some modifications to provide a secure installation, hiring a handyman or installer is the best way to ensure a proper installation. If new wiring is needed to power the unit though, you’ll need to add a licensed electrician to the team as well.
Find a Pro
If you’re ready to get a hand installing your window AC unit, contact qualified local AC installers or handymen to get the job done. The Pros in our network are background-checked and insured, and our team has verified their credentials so you can be assured you’ll get the job done right.