Cost To Install Central Air With No Existing Ductwork!

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

Installing a central air conditioner is a project that calls for the sacrifice of your time, energy, and money.

But, before calling your contractor, you need to sit down, calculate the cost, and make a proper estimation of what you will be spending while the project lasts.

Doing so will help you even plan for unfortunate events that may arise in the future.

This article considers if it is possible to install central air on the house with existing and no existing ductwork and its cost.

It also examines the cost of installation of central air and heat on no existing ductwork. As we travel down this line of reasoning, see which appeals to you and meets your budget.

If you pay attention to all expenses incurred in the project, you will realize that it costs between $5,000 to $12,000 to install central air on no existing ductwork. On new ductwork, the installation will cost between $7,000 to $15,000 and at least not less than $7,000 for a 16 SEER unit.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Central Air and Heat With No Existing Ductwork?

Cost to Install Central Air With No Existing Ductwork

In your grand plan to install an HVAC system in your house with central air and heating without ductwork, you should prepare to spend within $5,000 to $13,000.

But also note that many factors significantly influence air conditioner prices.

These factors that significantly influence installation costs are the information about the house, like the type of construction.

It can also be the size of the house and the kind of power source that carries your HVAC system. 

If you are talking about installing central air alone, the cost should be around $3,500 to $7,500.

However, if you do it with the heat, you should get a cost, just like in the first paragraph under the subtopic.

Although, installing the heat later will only make you spend more than you should. Another factor that affects the cost of installing a central air conditioner is the region where you live.

If you live close to the manufacturer, you will get your equipment at a cheaper rate.

Whereas, in an area where the cost of living is very high, it will be difficult for you to carry out an installation.

Even though there isn’t so much you can do to cut down on the cost of installation, there are approaches you can use to control the costs.

And below are these approaches:

#1. Off-season Installation

The demand for these units reduces significantly during spring and fall and is relatively cheap.

Whereas, during the summer, the demand for it is high, so you don’t need to wait until you need it before purchasing. If you do so, you may spend more than you should.

#2. Affordable Units

If you are purchasing an HVAC system that will help you cut down on cost, go not just for affordable units but for those that will work for you.

Unfortunately, even the less known manufacturers are producing high-end products today, so you need to pay more attention to warranty the product’s life expectancy.

#3. Get Credit or Rebate

If you install an Energy Star-certified, you may be lucky or successful in getting this from the government, the manufacturer, or a utility company.

You can also gather information on what your units qualify for and about HVAC system federal tax credits. To do so, you need to enter your ZIP code in this rebate finder.

#4. Maintenance Option

The maintenance of a central heating system alone costs between $100 to $300, but these costs greatly depend on the type of system and the fuel you use.

However, this maintenance cost covers inspection and testing for safer operation. 

Nevertheless, you can still carry out DIY maintenance on some of these systems, but before doing so, consult your contractor to know if an option is available to you.

But note that a DIY installation can void your unit’s warranty, which is why it is best to leave it to the professionals.

Can You Put Central Air in a House Without Ductwork?

Although it’s going to be challenging, it is still very possible to install central work in a house without ductwork.

To achieve this, here are two options that will help you succeed:

#1. Mini-Split System

One of the best ways to install central air in a house without ducts is by using a mini-split.

With this, you don’t need to cool the entire house to cool the room you are staying in, but only one room at a time. Another advantage of the mini-split is that it is a great way to save costs on energy.

Another unique factor that makes the mini-split system worth using is its internal component, which does not require complex installation.

So, as long as there is electricity, you can install it anywhere in the house.

#2. Multi-Zone Ductless Air Conditioners

It would help if you had multi-zone air conditioners in a house where many people live together with many rooms available.

These air conditioners will settle the issues relating to some rooms having air conditioning and others not.

They are very similar to the mini-split system, except that you must install them in multiple numbers.

For instance, you will need to install three single zones for two rooms to improve temperature control. Nevertheless, there are serious factors to consider when using a ductless air conditioner.

The factors to consider and the reason for consideration are available in the table below:

Location/spaceThe location of your AC unit is crucial. For instance, the widow units will serve you best if you have large windows or patio doors. At the same time, the wall-mounted units will serve any room in the house.
SizeThe widow units will serve single rooms best, while the wall-mounted units will serve the larger rooms or even cool multiple rooms. 
Efficiency Individualized controls that allow you to cool only the room you are using will allow you to save a lot of money from the monthly energy bill.
Central systemMost times, there is a centralized air system that you can control by each zone’s thermostat. But if you decide to have zones in each room, managing it may be more tasking and costly despite the advantage.
Installation costA high-velocity system costs between $20,000 to $45,000, whereas a mini-split system will cost only $4,500 and can save cost by focusing on one or two rooms simultaneously.

How Much to Install Central Air With Ductwork?

Installing new ductwork and a central AC system should cost about $3,000 to $10,000. That I know would be what Homeowners will be expecting you to pay for the project.

The following are the factors that affect the installation costs of the central air conditioner with ductwork:

#1. House Size

The more the ductwork, the more the cost, so choose a duct system that will cut down your expenses.

#2. Location 

The cost will be influenced by location because you can place them on your building’s walls, ceilings, and floors.

#3. Comfort/ Taste

If the comfort level or taste you desire is the best, you will surely pay a lot more for the units and the ductwork.

#4. AC Type

In the period we find ourselves, there are many different types of AC systems around with varying capabilities. And this is why some AC needs special ductwork and accessories.

#5. Temperature Control zones

Even in a particular space, this allows you to control the temperature of different zones, and each area has its thermostat. However, this factor will incur a higher cost during installation.


The cost of central air installation with no existing duct wood is $5,000 to $12,000 and $5,000 to $13,000 with heat.

You can now install central air in a house with ductwork either by using a mini-split or a multi-zone ductless air conditioner.

Finally, Installing central air with ductwork will cost you between $3,000 to $10,000.

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