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Cost of Air Conditioning Installation

Last updated: 25th Jan 2019

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So you’re thinking of installing air conditioning or updating your current cooling and/or heating system? On average, air conditioner companies and specialists in Australia charge $80/hr for a standard AC installation job. However, 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. These factors mean that the cost to install an air conditioner can range from a budget rate of $70/hr to a premium rate of $88/hr.

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.

Related: Cost of split system air conditioner installation

air conditioner installation


air con installation on ServiceSeeking


Choosing the right system for your home

Window Air Conditioner

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 out cool air inside while ejecting heat outside.

Portable Air Conditioner

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. 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. Also suitable for renters who don’t have the ability to install a permanent unit.

Portable Air Conditioner | Image by 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 take up less space than window units.

Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning is common for large, 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 | Image from Mitsubishi Electric


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 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.

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 computing the final cost of their service:

  • 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)
  • Difficulty of access
split system air conditioner installation | Photo by: Jason Kisner

Cost of air conditioner installation

Click the infographic image to expand.

No two states have the same average cost

Clients requiring AC installation in 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 New South Wales and $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.

Pricing information correct as at December 2017.

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