Alberta’s summers keep getting warmer—which means air conditioning keeps getting more essential for homeowners who want to stay comfortable and safe. But what does it cost to keep cool, and what will happen to the prices for new air conditioner installations as the demand for this technology continues to increase?
Action Furnace is here to help you understand current air conditioner pricing in Alberta and show you how we expect them to change, based on industry trends. Read on so you can make cost-effective choices about the cooling equipment your household needs.
Current Costs for Different Cooling Systems
Central Air Conditioning
Central AC moves cool air throughout your home via a system of ducts and vents. This is the most popular choice for owners of detached homes with enough room for ductwork, as it can provide even cooling for the entire building.
Installation Costs: Depending on the size of your home and the system’s cooling capacity, most homeowners should expect to pay somewhere between $6,000 to $12,000, including labour.
Maintenance: Annual maintenance checks are strongly recommended to keep central air conditioners efficient and prevent small issues from growing into major problems. We recommend budgeting between $100 to $300 each year for tune-ups and minor repairs.
Ductless Mini-Split Systems
These systems work best in homes without ductwork, or to supplement a central AC in areas that need additional cooling. Ductless AC units are designed to be mounted on exterior walls, with an indoor portion that pushes cool air into the room on the other side.
Installation Costs: Individually, these units cost less than central ACs—but you’ll need to buy more of them to cool an entire home, which usually costs more. A single ductless AC can cost as little as $4,000-$6,000, but using them to cool an entire home can drive these costs up to and over $14,000 (this is why we often recommend using them to supplement your central AC instead of replacing it entirely).
Maintenance: Ductless ACs still need annual tune-ups, but this requires less labour than a central AC tuneup since no duct maintenance is required. Expect to pay $100 to $200 annually unless your units require significant repairs.
How AC Costs Could Change in Future Years
Rising Demand From Climate Change
Demand for AC is rising throughout Alberta, which will most likely lead to a short-term price increase over the next few years—especially if supply becomes scarce. Eventually, production volumes will likely grow to compensate for this shift, but until then, you’ll probably spend less to buy a new air conditioner now than you will during the next few seasons.
Advances in AC Technology
Cutting-edge HVAC technology is always going to come with a higher price tag—but it can offset these costs over time by producing energy savings. For example, all new air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13—which makes them nearly 25% more efficient than many older models. Waiting to purchase a new air conditioner can actually eat up some of your upgrade budget since you’ll be spending more to cool your home each month in the interim.
Energy Costs & Regulations
Along with temperatures, electricity costs in Alberta continue to rise each year. Since high-efficiency ACs do not require as much electricity as their older counterparts, you may want to consider upgrading your AC sooner rather than later—so that you can use less power to cool your home.
Local Labour Market Conditions
As more people throughout the province purchase new air conditioners, HVAC service companies like ours will face increased demand for our services. This demand, coupled with inflation and a steadily increasing cost of living, will drive up the price of new AC installations.
Save Money by Upgrading Your Air Conditioner Early
Purchasing a new air conditioner now allows you to take advantage of energy-efficient technology and reduce your cooling costs, but that’s not all—it also lets you acquire new cooling equipment before global demand, supply chain issues, and higher labour rates significantly drive up the costs.
Contact Action Furnace today to speak with one of our team members who can give you a quote for installing a new air conditioner. We’ll help you set your home up to be a haven of comfort in the coming summers—no matter how hot they get.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is central AC more cost-effective than a ductless system?
Many ductless mini-split systems have higher SEER ratings than central air conditioners, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll cost less to run. Generally, central AC is the most efficient type of cooling system for detached homes with adequate ductwork, while ductless ACs work best to provide additional cooling for specific rooms or in small spaces without room for ducts.
Do I need to pay for professional AC maintenance or can I do it myself?
While you can perform a few DIY tasks to maintain your air conditioner each month (like changing the air filter), many essential tasks should only be carried out by experienced professionals. Having our team visit you once a year to perform a comprehensive tune-up is the best way to verify the condition of delicate mechanical components in your AC without causing accidental damage or voiding your warranty.
How much can I save each month with a new high-efficiency air conditioner?
The amount you’ll save each month by replacing your air conditioner depends on numerous factors, including:
- How much more efficient the new model is
- Whether your usage patterns change
- Fluctuations in electricity prices
However, assuming that usage patterns, utility rates, and your home’s insulation experience no significant changes, it’s possible that a new air conditioner could save you over 20% on your monthly cooling costs. The money you’ll save over time can significantly reduce the net costs of upgrading your AC.
Will I need to replace the ductwork in my home if I buy a new central AC?
That depends on the condition of your current ductwork and its compatibility with your new cooling equipment. When you contact Action Furnace about installing a new air conditioner, we’ll assess the state of any ductwork that’s already in your home and let you know if it needs to be altered before providing you with a quote for the work involved.