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What Is the Cost of Air Conditioning Installation?

Last updated: 7th Jun 2019


So you’re thinking of installing air conditioning or updating your current cooling and/or heating system?

Air conditioner companies and specialists in Australia charge, on average, $80/hr for a standard AC installation job. However, the cost to install an air conditioner can range from a budget rate of $70/hr to a premium rate of $88/hr.

This article will explain the various factors that will affect the price of your job – including the type and number of units, the difficulty of installation and running costs.

Take note that these hourly rates typically only include labour and not the cost of the air conditioner or other materials needed for the job.

Where do these prices come from?

All prices stated in this article are based on FY 2018 pricing data compiled by The figures resulted from a comprehensive analysis of quotes submitted by Air Conditioning Installers on the site from July 2016 to July 2017.

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How Much Does It Cost to Install Air Conditioning in a House?

The cost to install air conditioning in an average-sized house typically ranges between $600 and $5,000 or more, but may also reach $9,000 to $20,000 for larger homes.

To get the total cost for your home, you need to take both the labour and materials into account.

So, when you add the AC unit price (see the table below) to the installation price in your state, which may range from $70 to $90 per hour, you’ll get a closer estimate of the overall air conditioner installation cost.

How much does an Air Conditioner Cost?
AC typePrice range
Window / Wall$400 to $1,100
Portable$300 to $1,300
Ductless /Split / Multi-split$600 to $5,500
Ducted$5,500+ (even up to $10,000)

A sure-fire way of getting the exact cost is to ask Service Seeking air con installation experts for free quotes.

You may also want to know:

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Split System Air Conditioner in Australia?

Split system air conditioner installation cost is a summary of the installation labour rates (roughly $70 to $90 per hour depending on your location) and the price of an AC split unit, which may range from $600 to $2,600 depending on its capacity and brand.

Follow the link provided above to find out:

  • more pricing details,
  • how split system air conditioners work and
  • what the best brand is.

You might also want to check out some real split system air conditioner job costs and what affects them.

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You may also want to know:

How Much Does It Cost to Get Ducted Air Conditioning Installed?

The total for a ducted air conditioning installation cost includes installation labour rates and a ducted air conditioner (e.g. split, reverse cycle, or inverter unit) which averages around $4,000 to $7,000.

How much does ducted aircon cost to install?
Your home sizeAverage price range
Small flat or house$5,000 to $8,000
Mid-size one-storey house$11,000 to $14,000
Large multi-storey house$15,000 to $30,000

For instance, if you want a 9KW ducted air conditioner installed in a standard one-storey home with one mid-sized living room and three bedrooms, expect to pay around $7,200 to $10,000 including both supply and installation.

Similarly, if your home is larger, with two or more storeys and four or more bedrooms, the costs for your ducted air con system will increase significantly and can cost between $11,000 to $30,000.

However, if your home is smaller, then perhaps you’ll probably find a split system air con more suitable and affordable.

It’s true that ducted air conditioning is the most efficient cooling system on the market with superior circulation and hardly any noise. It is a cut above the portable or wall conditioners.

The system consists of insulated pipes or ducting placed in the floor or ceiling cavity to circulate cool air around the home. There is a control panel which allows you to isolate cooling to individual rooms.

And not only that:

You can have a ducted heating system installed at the same time for some $5,000 to $10,000.

Find out more about how a ducted reverse cycle air conditioning works.

Before making a decision, bear in mind a number of factors that can affect the cost of installing a ducted air-conditioning system:

Also, there are a few different features to consider when shopping around for your system:

  • vents: small grates installed in each room;
  • controls: you can choose to have one control for the entire system, or different remote controls for each room;
  • sensors: to keep the room at the temperature selected on the control (larger rooms may need more than one sensor);
  • systems that allow for divided zones: the more zones you have, the higher the installation costs, but offering more opportunities for setting different temperatures for different areas.

If you’ve decided to install this type of air con system, you may be wondering:

‘How much does ducted air conditioning cost to run? Is it expensive?’

It depends on a myriad of factors, but the expected cost is between $250 and $500 per year for an average household.

This brings us to the next popular topic…

How Much Does Air Conditioning Cost to Run?

Although the prices vary greatly based on the room size, AC type and other cost factors such as the electricity prices for the state you live in, the average costs to run air conditioning in a standard Australian household are:

  • $0.50 per hour for cooling and $0,25/hr for heating,
  • $4 per day if your AC runs for 8 hours daily,
  • $120 per month,
  • $1,600 to $2,400 a year.

Your air con may add up between $200 and $1,000+ to your electricity bill depending on when, where, and how often you use it.

For instance, let’s say your air conditioner runs 24h a day. To cool your home during summer, expect to pay approximately $1,300 if you have a split system AC, and $6,500 if you own a ducted air conditioner.

Under the same circumstances, heating your home in winter may cost you $550 with a split system air con, whereas the costs may go up wildly to $4,000 with a ducted AC system.

Want to dive deeper?

If you choose to cool your home with an average reverse cycle air conditioner, it may cost you between $0.25 – $0.95 per hour. By comparison, heating prices range between $0.13 – $0.36 per hour.

How much does it cost to run an air conditioner for an hour?
Room sizeCost per hour
Small$0.25 to $0.35
Mid-sized$0.36 to $0.70
Large$0.70 to $0.95

You can see more detail and learn how to be energy smart if you take a peek at this Summer Cooling Guide.

Click the image to magnify. Source:

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Now that you have a better understanding of what’s involved with air conditioning, it’s time to choose the perfect AC type for your home.

How to Choose the Right AC System for Your Home?

You might have been wondering:

‘How do I choose an air conditioner?’

Here are some of the minimum requirements to help you make a better choice.

What size air conditioner do I need for my room?
Room sizeSmall (10 – 20 m2)Medium (20 – 40 m2)Large (40 – 60+ m2)
Minimum necessary AC capacity2.8 KW4.2 LW5.6 KW
Suitable AC typeWindow
Small split system
Split system
Split system

For a well-insulated home, a minimum of 1.5 KW of cooling capacity will be necessary for a 10m2 space that you want to cool.

You can check out more detailed requirements for cooling and heating capacities for different room sizes in the Harvey Norman Air Conditioning Buying Guide.

As it states, ‘finding the right air conditioner depends on numerous factors including room size, ceiling height, insulation, size of windows, level of sunlight and more’.

Still, the key is in your specific location, as well as in figuring out the size of the area you want to cool or heat and compare it to the energy ratings, i.e. cooling or heating power of a specific AC.

Screenshot source:

This energy rating calculator can be of great help if you want to compare different air con models.

And you may also find these Daikin Australia tips useful:

In short, here’s what you can expect from the most commonly used types of air conditioners.

Window Air Conditioners

If it’s a single room you are looking to cool, a window air conditioner or ‘unitary’ system could be the right option. The system is made up of a single unit fitted to the window sill or a slot in the room made especially for it. The system blows cool air inside while ejecting heat outside.

Portable Air Conditioners

The portable air conditioner is a variation of the unitary system and consists of a mobile unit that sits on the floor of the room. The unit has a hose vent that ejects exhaust heat through the exterior wall or window.

While this unit tends to stick out and be noisier than other options, it is also one of the cheapest ways to cool a single room. It’s also a great choice for renters who don’t have the ability to install a permanent unit.

Portable Air Conditioner

Portable Air Conditioner | Image source: Allergy and Air

Split or Ductless Air Conditioner

Typical for apartments and hotels, the split air conditioner system consists of two units – one situated inside and one outside. The interior unit houses the evaporator and cooling fan while the outside unit houses the condenser, compressor and expansion valve.

Unlike window and central air conditioning, the unit does NOT require a specialised slot and takes up less space than window units.

Image source: by Jason Kisner

Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning is common for much larger homes, multi-storey buildings, cinemas and other big spaces. One central air conditioning system is far more practical than installing individual units in each room of a large building or house.

A central system circulates cool air through a system of supply and return ducts i.e. openings in the walls, floors or ceilings covered by grills. These ducts eject cooled air from the air conditioner to the home.

Central AC System in dining room

Central AC System | Image source: Mitsubishi Electric

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Air Conditioning and Heating Prices from Real Customers

Peter from Vic: Brivis Split System AC Installation
Job details: Installation of new Brivis 3.2 kWh split system air conditioner; commercial job
Other details: Existing hoses and wiring need to be changed as well; job also includes testing
Sandra from WA: Split System Maintenance
Job details: Servicing of two split system air conditioning units installed on the roof; residential job
Kevin from Vic: Split System AC Unit Replacement
Job details: Replacement of 7kW KSR24E Kelvinator that uses R22 with a used 7kW LG split system AC that uses R410
Other details: Distance from unit to condenser is approximately three to four metres
Michelle from Vic: Heater Installation
Job details: Replace old gas ducted heating system; supply and install a new one with a 5-star rating
Other details: The place is a two-bedroom unit, and heating unit is outdoors.
TOTAL COST: $2,430

Why Air Con Installation Rates Go Up or Down

Tradies usually charge hourly rates for air conditioner installation, but the exact costs will differ depending on several factors. One such factor is the type of air conditioning unit to be installed. The most common types are:

  • split,
  • ducted, and
  • window or wall-mounted AC.

Installing a split system air conditioner is usually more expensive compared to installing a portable unit.

Apart from size, the complexity of the installation determines the amount of work and time needed to complete the job well.

To sum up, a tradie often considers the following factors when calculating the final cost of the job:

  • type and size of the aircon,
  • how much refrigeration piping and interconnecting cables were used,
  • how much cable ducting was needed,
  • metre board upgrades used (if any), and
  • difficulty of access.

You may also want to know:

How Much Does Air Conditioning Installation Cost in Australia?

Australia AC installation cost

Click the infographic image to expand.

NO two Australian states have the same average cost of air conditioning installation services.

Clients requiring AC installation in Melbourne and the rest of Victoria have a good reason to celebrate as tradies in the state charge only $76.92/hr on average. This is the lowest rate for this particular service across Australia.

Queensland customers, on the other hand, can expect to pay around $77.66/hr.

Although a little higher than the average rates in Victoria, it is still considerably more affordable compared to the average rates of $83.09/hr in Sydney and the rest of New South Wales, as well as $80.51/hr in Western Australia.

At $89.80/hr, South Australia has the highest air conditioner installation cost across the board. Tasmania residents pay the second highest fees at $84/hr, which is only slightly higher than the $83.75/hr rate in the Australian Capital Territory.

No matter which Australian state you live in and what type of air conditioning you want, can help you get the best deal on Air-Con installation.

Grab this opportunity and get your free quotes today.

You may also want to check out the latest air-conditioning jobs posted on

Disclaimer: Our cost estimates are based on quotes for air conditioning installation services and are useful as a guide only.

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