What is The Cost Of AC Installation In San Diego?

Most people consider air conditioning to be a ‘need’ in California anymore rather than a ‘want.’ Especially in Southern California as extreme heat becomes more normal, air conditioning can make the lengthening summers livable.

The cost of a/c installation in San Diego typically ranges from several thousand dollars (for small capacity jobs with no complications and existing vents) to, more likely, 6 or 7 thousand dollars for a larger home with ductwork and venting modifications or updates that may be needed.

Cost Factors


There are a variety of factors that influence how much residents can expect for air conditioning installation cost in San Diego. For example, are you looking to have central air installed? Will you need to repair ducts or venting in your home? Or are you able to use an existing vent system?

Additional considerations include:

  • Home size and energy efficiency
  • Vent and duct condition
  • Cooling preferences
  • Central air vs. ductless air options

It’s also important to consider that you’ll have several stages of installation if you choose central air, as HVAC providers will need to evaluate your home to determine the right unit for your space, then install the actual unit, and service it regularly.  In these cases, you may be required to pay for each stage of the process as it happens, or you may be charged in a lump sum, depending on the contractor.

Ways To Save on A/C Installation


Air conditioning, especially central air conditioning in San Diego, can add up to a considerable expense. And while most would argue it’s worth the money, there are still some ways you can help bring those costs down:

Get A/C Install Bids in the Off Season — This is the perfect example of supply and demand in action.  In the middle of summer, HVAC professionals can be very busy and the chances you’ll pay a premium are high. If, on the other hand, you can wait until the worst of the heat has passed, you’ll find much better prices (and typically much faster installs) in the winter months.

Do Your Homework — Many manufacturers and public utilities offer rebates and other financial incentives for energy-efficient a/c units.  Check with your local utility and the Energy Star rebate program to see what’s offered in your specific San Diego neighborhood. You may also be eligible for certain tax rebates, depending on the make and model of the unit, so you can check ahead and discuss with your HVAC professional about which units will work best for your home, and which of those might come with added tax incentives.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Cost of AC Installation In San Diego

Q: Can I finance a/c Installation?

A: Yes. Home equity loans, cash out refinancing, and personal loans are just a few of the ways you can use the equity in your home to pay for air conditioning and HVAC updates.

Q: Can I DIY a/c Installation?

A: Yes. Like most things, where there’s a will there is usually a way, however it’s worth noting that this is a typically a job best left to professionals. Especially in San Diego where heat is an issue, a licensed HVAC professional has the tools and experience to get you the best unit for your space and your cooling needs. They can also make sure your home, and your a/c installation, is as energy-efficient as possible (and cost effective to run) in the long term.

Q: Is central air more expensive to install than ductless a/c?

A: In general — yes — however there are a lot of factors that influence installation costs for both types of cooling that will impact the pricing.

Q: Does central air increase a home’s value?

A: Yes. On average, installing a/c in San Diego can increase a home’s value as much as 10%.  It’s also high on the list of buyer deal breakers, especially in California, so if you’re considering selling your home, this should be one of the updates that make the home improvement list.

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