Have you ever given it a second thought ‘Why is air conditioning so expensive?’

Well, I have.

I began to notice a pattern when I got my third AC unit. I discovered there has been a HUGE shift in price when comparing all three in terms of purchase, installation, and maintenance.  

The installation price is even more shocking!

But for some reason, the price ALWAYS seems to rise.

Today is this price; it will be that price in the next two months.

But why is that, though?

Why Is Air Conditioning So Expensive? [2 Main Reasons]

why is air conditioning so expensive

Several factors are to blame, including the production cost, manufacturers meeting strict Federal regulations, and demand for better service —be it doorstep delivery, emergency repair services, or extended warranties. 

However, it depends on the type or size of your unit, the features it comes with, and the installation complexity.

Let’s break it all down into bit sizes:

1. Production Cost

Production cost is one of the major reasons why air conditioning is so expensive.

Putting a whole unit together doesn’t just happen in the twinkle of an eye.

Millions of dollars are spent on time-consuming research, testing the prototypes, and modifying the entire manufacturing process before allowing the change to be incorporated into the unit.

The manufacturer has to consider Research and Development, the material used in the construction, the energy efficiency standard met, and, of course, the labor cost.

Someone has to bear responsibility for all of these expenses, and it is the consumers’ shoulders it often falls.

2.   Demand For Better Service

why is air conditioning so expensive

There are numerous air conditioners with unique characteristics and price tags.

Hence, the type of air conditioner you choose, whether it is from a reputable brand, and its features will determine the price.

Let me explain even further:

A. Features

The more advanced technologies, energy-efficient features, and smart functionalities your air conditioner has, the more expensive it becomes.

I think this one is pretty understandable.

An HVAC unit with a smart thermostat, extra noise reduction, a notification system that notifies you when your filters need replacement, multiple fan-speed settings, an air purifier, and more will break the bank compared to an AC with fewer features.

B. Type Of Air Conditioner And Installation Difficulties

But all ACs are built the same; some edges over others with certain features, and all have their pros and cons.

Also, their installation charges differ. Some are more complex than others.

Below is a tabular representation of what I’m talking about.

AC TypeAdvantagesDisadvantagesInstallation Price
Window Air Conditioners  Cost-effective, easy to install, and low-maintenance It is compact and won’t take up much space.  It can be noisy and disruptive when operating. Visible on the outside$150 to $500
Portable Air Conditioners  Easy setup and versatile to move around. The installation isn’t a permanent installation. This offers a flexible use.  It is not efficient enough to cool larger rooms. It must be placed near a window if it has a hose. And that will obstruct the view.  $250 to $500
Central Air Conditioners  Creates a regulated, cool environment throughout your home. Reduces humidity throughout your space.  Consumes a lot of energy on a day-to-day basis. It can destroy your outdoor curb appeal.  $3,000 to $7,400
Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners  It can be installed virtually anywhere. Offers independent control over every room in your home.  A single zone is insufficient to cool an entire large home. Dents your interior aesthetic.  $3,200 and $10,500
Geothermal Air Conditioners  It is most energy-efficient and saves you money in the long run. Last longer, up to 20 to 25 years.  Installation can be challenging depending on the property. Has the most expensive setup and installation among the other AC options.  $18,000 to $30,000.
Hybrid/Dual Fuel Air Conditioners  Saves energy over time. Reduces your carbon footprint on the planet.  Installation is expensive. Most suited for mild temperatures  $6,000 and $12,000

If you notice, some installations cost more than the air conditioner itself.

Such is life!

It is outside your expertise, and professional HVAC contractors with years of experience, good reputations, and labor warranties don’t come cheap.

But it is definitely worth it, as a proper installation equals the unit’s efficiency.

FAQs About Why Is Air Conditioning So Expensive

Is Ac Worth The Cost?

Of course, it is –especially in the scorching summer months.

But whenever the temperature drops, heating becomes the big energy hog. The consumption of heating energy skyrockets then cooling.

Regardless, AC is such a vital piece of appliance in the home. And there are enough benefits to justify why it comes at such a hefty price tag.

AC improves the quality of air in your home. You breathe fresher air free of allergens, which promotes productivity and healthier living.

It is a necessity and a luxury as well.

Which Is Cheaper To Run AC Or Heat?

Heating will eat a chunk of the energy bill in the winter, as will air conditioning in the summer.

But it has a lot to do with the season or climate.

For instance, if you live in warm climates, you will spend more on air conditioning than your heating system.

The type of air conditioner also matters. A central AC consumes between 3,000 and 3,500 watts per hour. Portable units take up 2,900 and 4,100 watts, while window units only drag 900 and 1440 watts per hour.

But keeping your home toasty warm requires 4X the energy in the US than it is for cooling.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Using An AC To Much?

Using an air conditioner is a double-edged sword. And when used excessively, it becomes a problem.

Here are some of the disadvantages of using too much AC:

  • It uses a lot of electricity, resulting in high energy bills.
  • It causes skin dryness or itchiness
  • You easily get dehydration
  • Headaches
  • It results in respiratory complications.
  • Acclimatisation to Cold Air.

What Are The Most Common AC Problems?

As your air conditioner gets old, it will experience mechanical issues.

And one almost inescapable is ‘AC running but not cooling.’

Whenever this happens, it is often due to a clogged condenser coil.

If you want to know why that is or how to rectify this problem, go read this article>>>air conditioner won’t cool below 75.

However, other common problems you could encounter are:

  • AC Not Turning On
  • Hot Air Blowing Out instead of cold
  • Refrigerant or Water Leaking
  • Unit Turning On and Off Repeatedly


So those are reasons why air conditioning is so expensive!

I don’t expect the price to drop, but rather keep going up.

But who can you blame?

The government? The manufacturers?

You can’t really fault anyone.

Quality doesn’t come cheap.

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