How Much Does a Window Unit Cost?

by Hannah Stephens
A window unit air conditioner is positioned in a window, window unit air conditioner, air conditioner, window unit, window unit ac, ac, window

Window AC units are a budget-friendly option for smaller rooms and cost significantly less than central air conditioner systems.

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However, there are several factors to consider when estimating how much you'll spend on a new window AC unit. Below, we'll outline how factors such as the unit's size and quality can impact your budget.

How Much Does a Window AC Unit Cost by BTU Rating?

Architectural Digest estimates that most homeowners spend around $600 to $2,000 (CAD 805 to CAD 2,682) to install a window air conditioner, while a central AC system could set you back a whopping $3,800 to $7,500 (CAD 5,097 to CAD 10,059).

An air conditioner's BTU rating describes how much heat it can remove from the air per hour. You'll often hear this referred to as the unit's size, although it describes the air conditioner's cooling power instead of the unit's physical size. Some manufacturers provide this rating in tons — there are 12,000 BTUs per ton of cooling capacity, so simply multiply the tonnage by 12,000 to find a unit's BTU rating.

Window AC units are usually less powerful than central AC systems because they're designed to cool smaller spaces. It's unusual for a window air conditioning unit to exceed 2 tons (24,000 BTUs).

The larger your room, the more powerful a unit you'll need. It could also be worth opting for a larger unit for sunny spaces that tend to get hotter than the other rooms in your house. Window unit costs typically increase according to the air conditioner's BTU rating. (Data from HomeGuide.)

5,000 to 8,000 BTUs

Window units delivering between 5,000 and 8,000 BTUs of cooling power are the least powerful models available and the most affordable. They're suitable for cooling rooms measuring between 150 and 350 square feet and typically cost between $150 and $520 (CAD 201 and CAD 697) for the unit alone.

8,000 to 12,000 BTUs

8,000 to 12,000 BTU window air conditioner units provide enough cooling power for rooms between 350 and 550 square feet. Expect to pay $220 to $570 (CAD 295 to CAD 764) for a unit of this size.

12,000 to 18,000 BTUs

A 12,000 to 18,000 BTU window unit is suitable for spaces measuring 550 to 1,000 square feet. On average, these units cost between $300 and $800 (CAD 402 and CAD 1,073).

18,500 to 25,000 BTUs

Window units with a cooling capacity of 18,500 to 25,000 BTUs are usually the largest units available for domestic buildings. You'll likely need a unit of this size in rooms measuring 1,050 to 1,600 square feet. Most homeowners spend between $550 and $1,000 (CAD 738 and CAD 1,341) on these extra-large window air conditioners.

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How Much Does a Window Unit Cost by Category?

The quality of your window air conditioner can also impact its price. Generally, window units fall into the following three quality categories:

Basic

According to Renvations, basic window AC units typically retail for around $100 to $300 (CAD 135 to CAD 402), and tend to have lower BTU ratings. These units could be a good option if you're on a tight budget, but they usually only offer simple cooling functions. For example, air conditioners at this price point generally allow you to select a temperature and switch between fan and cooling functions. They're often less energy-efficient than pricier models, so they may cost more to run over time.

Midrange

Midrange units are usually more energy efficient than budget models and may include more premium features, such as remote controls. Most homeowners spend between $300 and $500 (CAD 402 and CAD 671) on midrange window units. Window air conditioners at this price point often have higher cooling capacities than their cheaper counterparts, making them more suitable for larger spaces.

High-End

A premium window AC starts at around $500 (CAD 671), although the most high-end models can cost $1,000 (CAD 1,341) or more. These units often have higher BTU ratings and include premium features, such as integrated smart connectivity or rapid cooling cycles.

How Much Does Window AC Unit Installation Cost?

Most AC installers charge between $50 and $200 (CAD 67 and CAD 268) to install a single window AC unit, although prices can vary significantly by area. These figures are for labor alone and don't include the cost of the air conditioner.

You may also need to install an electrical outlet to power your new AC unit or update your home's wiring. Electricians typically charge $140 to $300 (CAD 188 to CAD 402) per outlet or between $165 and $525 (CAD 221 and CAD 704) per hour.

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