How Much Does Air Conditioning Cost – the Average Costs of Installing & Running A/C

Written by:

Mohammad Bakshayesh

Senior Engineer, Barnet Climate Control

With UK summers getting warmer and heatwaves becoming more of a common event, it is no wonder more and more people are considering installing air conditioning in their homes or places of work.

As well as cooling the environment, air conditioning systems also dehumidify the air, which reduces the chances of mould and damp growth. In addition, A/C is fitted with filters which help remove irritant particulates such as dust, pollen and pet hair from the air. This makes for improved indoor air quality and a more comfortable and healthy environment in which to live or work.

If you are sold on the benefits of air conditioning for your home or business premises, then you are likely to be wondering how much to install air conditioning. UK property owners should be aware, however, that there is no one-price-fits-all answer to this question, as air conditioning installation costs will vary depending on a number of factors. 

So, let’s explore what those variable factors are, so you can get an idea of what you need to consider when budgeting for your A/C installation.

How much does it cost to install air conditioning UK?

The cost to install air conditioning will depend mainly on the property type and size, the type of air conditioning system to be installed, and the brand and features of the system.

Property type and size

A good place to start when calculating how much to install air conditioning is by working out the space that you wish to cool. This will dictate how many air conditioning units you will need.

For example, if you are looking to install air conditioning at home, you may wish to have a unit in your living room, and one in the master bedroom. Some people also opt to install A/C in their home office space.

If you are considering air conditioning for commercial premises, you may have individual offices or a larger open plan space to cool, as well as meeting rooms and reception areas, for example.  

The space to be cooled will directly influence the cost of your installation. The larger the space, the greater the budget required.

Air conditioning brand and features

There are various brands of air conditioning systems, and prices will often vary from one to the next. Some brands are considered more reliable than others, and some will be more suitable for certain installations. Your best bet when making brand choices is to take advice from an air conditioning installation expert, who will guide you based on your specific needs and budget.

There will also be a choice of features, and again this will influence how much it costs to install air conditioning. Things like remote control (and remote control with night light), timers, WiFi/app smart control, sleep mode and heat and cool functionality will all impact how much you pay.

Also consider the energy rating of the system. You will usually find that A-rated air conditioning will cost more than a lesser rated alternative, but bear in mind that running costs will be lower.

Air conditioning type

There are three core types of air conditioning, and your A/C installation cost will depend on which you choose.

Portable air conditioning units are at the lowest end of the costs scale. They don’t require any installation, and can simply be taken out of the box and plugged in. They will usually come with a drain hose or exhaust duct to take the moisture away, and these will need to be routed out of a window. 

The units can be quite sizeable, so consider how much floor space they will consume, as well as storage during the winter months.

Split air conditioning consists of a wall-mounted cooling unit which is situated inside the property, and a condenser unit which sits outside. This is the most common type of air conditioning system for homes, and also used in commercial properties where there is insufficient ceiling space for a ducted system, or where retrofitting would be too disruptive. 

Split A/C is efficient in operation, doesn’t take up any floor space, and is easier to retrofit compared to the ducted option.

Ducted air conditioning is usually the most expensive option due to the additional work involved in fitting it, but it offers a range of benefits. These systems work by funnelling cool air from a central unit, usually installed in the roof space, via a system of ducts. The ducts are embedded into the ceiling in whatever rooms are to be cooled. 

Air circulation is usually zoned, which means it can be controlled in particular areas rather than as a whole. Ducted air conditioning still needs a condenser unit, which again is placed on the outside of the building. But it is the quietest in operation of all the options, and is more discreet, with the cooling units hidden within the ceiling rather than mounted onto the walls.

Differences between domestic and commercial air conditioning

Another major influencer when it comes to answering the question “how much to install air conditioning UK”, is whether the system will be for domestic or commercial use.

The equipment required for commercial air conditioning systems is usually much larger and more powerful and complex than for domestic installations.

Commercial spaces are generally larger, and will often be subject to temperature fluctuations with doors opening and closing regularly, making the cooling more energy-intensive.

Commercial air conditioning systems also require larger drainage systems, because they output a greater volume of moisture. They’ll also need servicing more frequently.

How much does air conditioning cost to run?

As well as considering how much to install air conditioning, UK property owners are also well advised to factor in the associated ongoing costs.

Air conditioning running costs

Whilst A/C is generally very economical to run, costs can vary considerably between brands, and will also be influenced by various factors, including how long the equipment runs for, how frequently warmer air is allowed into the space, for example due to regularly opening doors, levels of insulation within the property, and the heating and cooling loads.

Air conditioning maintenance costs

Regular air conditioning maintenance can boost the lifetime of your equipment, reduce running costs and energy wastage, and enhance indoor air quality. A regular plan can be considered a wise investment, especially as one of the biggest culprits of poorly functioning or broken down air conditioning is a lack of maintenance.

It is therefore advisable to factor in the costs of an ongoing servicing and maintenance contract. These are particularly beneficial for commercial spaces, where maintaining workplace comfort and healthy indoor air quality are fundamental requirements.

It is also useful for commercial premises owners to know that all air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of over 12kW must be inspected at least every five years. And that the F-gas Regulation sets out obligations regarding keeping emissions to a minimum, which include maintenance, regular leak checking and repairs by F-gas qualified engineers. So additional costs will need to be factored in for these checks.

Air conditioning installation – a helpful checklist

If you are ready to move forward with your air conditioning installation plan, the following checklist should prove useful when requesting quotations from local experts:

  1. Decide which rooms require cooling and have a rough idea of their size
  2. Research the brands and types of air conditioning system available, and decide which may be most suitable for your needs
  3. Decide which features you can’t do without, for example remote control, smart device management, sleep mode, etc.
  4. Do your due diligence when making a shortlist of air conditioning installers from which to obtain quotes. Ask for recommendations, check online reviews across a range of sources, and make sure the installer has the appropriate qualifications and relevant experience.
  5. Be sure to obtain at least three written quotations for comparison, and bear in mind that the cheapest isn’t always the best.

Looking for competitive rates for air conditioning installation from qualified, reliable experts?

Barnet Climate Control are experts in the quality installation and maintenance of a wide range of leading air conditioning brands in both residential and commercial premises. Our friendly, family-run team of qualified engineers offers a 100% service guarantee, as well as an unrivalled aftercare service.

To request your free, tailored quotation for air conditioning installation, you are welcome to contact us at [email protected] or call us on 0203-4888-663.

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