How Much Does a New Central Air Conditioner Cost in Minnesota?

A new central air conditioner in Minnesota can run anywhere from $3,000 to over $10,000.

Yes, that’s a large range. And that’s because there are a lot of factors that affect the final cost of a new air conditioner. 

We’ve outlined 6 of the biggest factors below.                                                                                 

Factor #1: The size of the AC unit

What it is: Air conditioners are sized by “tons” from 1 to 5 tons. The higher the AC size, the more heat it can remove from the house.

How it affects price: For the most part, the larger the air conditioner, the higher the price. The good news is that there is only a slight difference in price from sizes 1-ton to 3-tons. And most homes require either a 2-ton or 3-ton air conditioner.

Factor #2: Ductwork Installation/Modifications

What it is: Ducts are needed to circulate air throughout your home. If your house doesn’t currently have central air conditioning, ductwork will need to be installed. 

How it affects price: If you need to install ductwork for the first time or modify existing ducts, the labor and materials needed can double the price.

Factor #3: The type of central air conditioning

What it is: There are two types of central air conditioning: Split systems and packaged systems.

A split system means that the units of the air conditioner are split between one outdoor unit and one indoor unit. 


Photo Courtesy: Green Building Advisor 


A packaged system houses all units within one “cabinet” and is usually located outdoors or in the attic.

Photo Courtesy: ClimateTechWiki

How it affects price: When it comes to the price, it really depends on whether you already have an AC system installed in your home or not.

A split system will cost more to install than a packaged system if installed in a house that does not currently have an AC system. However, split systems are more cost-effective over time because they are more efficient than packaged systems. 

If your home already has an AC system and you are simply replacing it with the same type, this is much cheaper than reconfiguring the entire system to support a different type of air conditioner (that is, replacing a packaged system with a split system).

Note: If your home already has a furnace (as most Minnesota homes do) this will decrease the cost of your split system installation.

Factor #4: SEER 

What it is: SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) is the measurement of how efficiently your air conditioner cools your home. 

Home ACs have SEER ratings ranging from 13 to 25.

How it affects price: Just like a car’s value increases as its miles per gallon increases, the higher the SEER of an AC unit, the more expensive it is.        

Factor #5: Brand

What it is: The HVAC brand you choose determines the quality of your AC, the features it provides, your warranty, and the price of the unit. 

How it affects price: The general rule of thumb is that the bigger names (Trane, Carrier, and Lennox) are more expensive but usually offer advanced features and better warranties. For example, Trane is known for their high prices, but they offer 10-year warranties on their products.

Factor #6: Labor/Contracting company

What it is: This portion of the overall cost goes toward hiring a contractor to determine the type and size of the system you need and to deliver and install the AC system.

How it affects price: A quality and experienced contractor’s prices will be higher. But don’t let a higher price scare you away. Your AC unit is a huge part of your daily life and will provide comfort for years to come. But if it is installed poorly, it is can end up costing you more than the money you “saved” by choosing a cheaper contractor.

In fact, research shows that improperly installing an air conditioner can result in a 30% increase in energy usage, resulting in unnecessarily high energy bills.

Need an AC installation estimate for your home?

Now that you understand the factors that can affect the price of a new central air conditioner, you’re most likely wondering where you fall in the $3,000-$10,000 range.

If you live in Minnesota or Western Wisconsin, On Time Service Pros can help you determine how much your installation will cost. Schedule your free home inspection and estimate with us today.


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