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How to Estimate the Cost of a New Home A/C System


During the cold winter months, thoughts of air conditioning are probably far from your mind. But right now, is the best time to do your research, review your options and plan for a new AC system installation. Don’t wait until the sweltering months when you’re hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. Take advantage of “off-season” pricing and the availability of experienced installation professionals.

Home AC Pricing Considerations

Numerous factors impact the cost of a new home AC system and its installation.

  1. Location and timing
  2. Performance and efficiency
  3. Size of home
  4. Quality and brand

Location and Timing

Pricing for your system and service costs can vary across different states and regions and during varying times of the year. For the purposes of this blog, price estimates represent a national average. In your Virginia area, the costs may be higher or lower than the ranges represented here. Seasonal specials and discounts may also impact price.

Performance and Efficiency of Air Conditioning System

An AC’s SEER rating refers to the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the efficiency/SEER rating of your system, the more you pay for initial purchase and installation. However, the long-term benefits can quickly offset this price difference, as you can expect to see lower cooling bills with more efficient units. Over time, these savings can really add up.

The standard rating for a new central AC system is typically 14-15 SEER and runs about $1,435 for the equipment and approximately $2,770 installed. As you move into high, super high and the highest available efficiency, the price can increase to $3,680 for the AC and Coil and $6,750 installed. For the highest level 22-24 SEER systems, you may also need a solar panel installed on your roof, further increasing the cost.

Size of home and Air Conditioning Tonnage

The size of the space that needs cooling determines the size of the required AC unit. Have your HVAC pro perform a load calculation on your house for accuracy. Residential central air units range from 1.5 to 5 tons of cooling capacity. With installation, the price for these units can range from $1,895 for a 1.5 ton, 18,000 btu AC and Coil to $3,590 on a 5 ton, 60,000 btu AC and Coil.

Quality and Brand of Air Conditioning equipment

As with any product, you pay more for brand name and quality items. Consider a Trane central AC unit at $2,225 or $3,650 with installation. By opting for a lesser known budget brand, you only pay about $1,000 for the equipment and less than $2,000 installed. When choosing your unit, identify the features and options you want and need and then do some comparison shopping before making your final choice.

This is just a basic overview to help you start the research process. Other criteria may factor into pricing: type of home, home construction and age, and desired extras – like zoning controls. As you can see, the price range can be vast – as low as $1,500 for a new system and installation and as high as $15,000 or more for a top brand with all the bells and whistles.

Questions about pricing or specific units and installation costs in Northern Virginia? We’ve got answers. Ask away in the comment section below. Thank you!

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Customers With a NICE Experience

Customers With a NICE Experience


“Service was outstanding from the time of arrival which you could track arrival time live on a website link they send you so you know when they will arrive. Technical knowledge was very high, quick and efficient Kyle and his partner both handled the install of a Sensi Predict as if it was a walk in the park. I highly recommend Kyle from Nice Heating & Air for all HVAC issues and for new installs, him and his team are an amazing company and will think of them first if any issues arise in the future for sure....”

Andrew Baker.

“Professional and polite. Excellent communication throughout the maintenance visit. Definitely recommend.”


“Rolando Medrano was very professional and followed the CDC protocol of 6 feet social distance and had a mask and put disposable shoe covers before entering the house. He made sure to address all of our issues and provided answers for all our questions. He came on time and called before he came to update on timing and his status! He was a great help!”

Mike Richardson.

“Highly recommend Nice Home Services for your HVAC needs. Have been member of their annual maintenance plan for three years now and been extremely pleased with their approach to business. They are professional, knowledgeable, and relatable. The service specialists take their time to fully diagnose the issue and explain the situation in a way that is easy to understand. Never had an instance where they try to push product and instead look for ways to recommend how to save you money. Need anything done on your home's HVAC, call the folks at Nice Home Services and know you're making the right choice.”

Zora G.

“Love , Love the NICE Heating & Air company for their kind & trustworthy technicians, their unbeatable price & overall knowledge they’ve amazed me every time with their fabulous job on my house, I’ll recommend them without hesitations, try this company you won’t regret for sure.”

Richard Nowinski.

“Dionte and his helper (Josh) did a superb job with the installation. The result is both functional and as cosmetically pleasing as the ideal water heater installation can be. They were VERY careful moving the old one out and the new one in so as to assure no damage was initiated neither to the heater nor to our dwelling. He explained his intended design prior to execution and executed it flawlessly. This was followed by a comprehensive explanation of the functional options available through the control panel and Ipad app. Cleanup at conclusion of the install was appropriate and comprehensive. This team represented both Nice Heating and Rheem VERY positively!”

Kimberly Mason.

“I had the pleasure of meeting another NICE Heating and Air Service Technician today, Mr. Jeremy Castellon. Jeremy, thank you again for addressing my questions and concerns regarding my gas fireplace. I appreciate your patience and knowledgeability about gas fireplaces. Jeremy was very professional and competent.”

Terence Lartey.

“The technician was very professional and took his time to explain the issue and how he will about to fix it. He also offered means to save by signing on their maintenance program. He was polite, careful to keep the carpet clean. I will recommend this company to friends and family.”

Roberta Massiah.

“Loves me some NICE Home Services! I’ve been part of their maintenance plan for almost 9 years now & they're great. Reliable, professional, & friendly; they take care of all my HVAC & gas fireplace needs m, including a spring & fall tuneup. Highly recommend!”

Barb N.

“I purchased my HVAC unit a year ago along with a Cozy Club maintenance plan. It's been running great and the customer service team is always quick to respond to questions. Today Rolando M. came by for the maintenance check and, as usual, he was neat, professional and maintained the COVID rules. He was also very nice, living up to the company name. I'm very happy with my experience with Nice.”

N. England.

“I can't speak highly enough of this company. I requested an appointment, and it was scheduled for the next day. The technician was polite, honest, and a pure delight to work with. He didn't try to overcharge or tell me to replace something I didn't need to. He made service recommendations that were in line with industry standard prices so I could make an informed decision as he went about his service visit. Would recommend and will be using them again in the future. ”

Lucas W.

“My technician arrived promptly at our appointed hour. He repaired a dirty and non-working gas fireplace. In addition, he found a small gas leak on our furnace line. Overall, exceptional service and quality work. I highly recommend their HVAC service.”

Rona G.

“Very impressive company! Nice responded to my call for a heating issue on very short notice. My tech, was right on time, extremely polite, and very hardworking. Customer service and satisfaction are clearly a priority.”

Kenny D.

“They treat customers like a valuable asset, not like a number. Business the old-fashioned way, that will never go out of style.”

Lois S.

“Superb customer service. Before a service appointment, you receive a text message notification with photo of the tech that will be at your residence followed by a phone call. During a service appointment you'll updated and educated. If there is a concern, management will contact you promptly and follow up until issue resolved. Awesome and attentive team!!”