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#4461180 - 07/16/17 07:43 PM AC install profit margin? Highway robery?
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 4838
Loc: Houston, Texas
I always thought that most of the cost to install an ac unit was the cost of the unit itself, but looking at ac units online I've found that your typical ac unit only cost like $1,000 bucks, and the last time I checked they usually charge like $7,000 to install an ac.
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#4461189 - 07/16/17 07:50 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
L_Sludger Offline


Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 3947
Loc: Ohio
It comes down to the licensing and permitting syndicate that limits the pool of potential installers.
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#4461195 - 07/16/17 07:57 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
oilmutt Offline


Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 429
Loc: Connecticut 06033
A few years ago i wanted to install central AC, but i could not any cost on the unites themselves,. The contractors wanted between $21&$25k to do the job and would not break the cost out between parts and labor.Good luck in getting the information you need to make a rational decision. I still don'T have central AC.
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#4461205 - 07/16/17 08:07 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
Kool1 Offline


Registered: 01/25/13
Posts: 906
Loc: California
If you have an old vehicle and want to install an A.C. system that uses R-12 refrigerant, good luck as you will probably need to get a second mortgage on your house to pay the bill.

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#4461206 - 07/16/17 08:08 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
Jim_Truett Offline


Registered: 01/07/09
Posts: 277
Loc: San Diego, California
How big is your House? Do you already have central heat? $1000 gets you a decent 3 ton condenser, but it takes a lot more to get cool air in the house.
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#4461213 - 07/16/17 08:23 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
funflyer Offline


Registered: 06/26/14
Posts: 690
Loc: Northern Arizona
Originally Posted By: motor_oil_madman
I always thought that most of the cost to install an ac unit was the cost of the unit itself, but looking at ac units online I've found that your typical ac unit only cost like $1,000 bucks, and the last time I checked they usually charge like $7,000 to install an ac.



You didn't know that along with an HVAC license they get an honorary medical degree? If you visit the HVAC forums you'd see some of those guys think they're brain surgeons.
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#4461216 - 07/16/17 08:28 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: Jim_Truett]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 4838
Loc: Houston, Texas
Originally Posted By: Jim_Truett
How big is your House? Do you already have central heat? $1000 gets you a decent 3 ton condenser, but it takes a lot more to get cool air in the house.


That's right I forgot their are more parts to it, but I still have a feeling they make big bucks
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#4461224 - 07/16/17 08:53 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
JustinH Offline


Registered: 04/17/04
Posts: 5169
Loc: Texas
Paid $4000 for a system swapout with 2.5 ton AC and new gas furnace.

Price of furnace/ac was 2500, labor was 1500.

Contractor ate the cost of AC pan $70.

I presume he made $1430 in 4 hours of labor, two employees did the job.
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#4461228 - 07/16/17 08:56 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
JimPghPA Offline


Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 3859
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
It is hard to buy sections of a whole house AC systems in pieces. Now days the entire system consist of each section being properly chosen to be the proper size so that when it is all put together it runs at a high efficiency. Now days if one part goes bad you may have to replace the entire system because they are hard to get sections the proper size.
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#4461238 - 07/16/17 09:09 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
bullwinkle Offline


Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 7649
Loc: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Originally Posted By: motor_oil_madman
Originally Posted By: Jim_Truett
How big is your House? Do you already have central heat? $1000 gets you a decent 3 ton condenser, but it takes a lot more to get cool air in the house.


That's right I forgot their are more parts to it, but I still have a feeling they make big bucks
One thing that makes it somewhat expensive is the need to match the furnace plenum (where the A-coil/evaporator goes) in the furnace outlet to all the rest of your ductwork, as well as the size of the outlet of your furnace. You'll need refrigerant lines & a disconnect installed as well, and this is about the worst time of year to have A/C installed, I pretty much guarantee any company you try to get to do it will be backed up for a while. Disclaimer-I'm actually a refrigeration service guy, but I have a universal HVAC license. Your best bet is to do what I did on my first house-get a guy to help you on the side, doing the electrical & grunt work yourself, letting him or her handle the actual hooking up of the lines, pulling a vacuum, getting it charged & running. You'll also benefit from his (likely sizable) discount at the supply house, too!
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#4461241 - 07/16/17 09:14 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
HangFire Offline


Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 2506
Loc: Central Maryland
Originally Posted By: motor_oil_madman
I always thought that most of the cost to install an ac unit was the cost of the unit itself, but looking at ac units online I've found that your typical ac unit only cost like $1,000 bucks, and the last time I checked they usually charge like $7,000 to install an ac.


A/C unit, did you price the other large cost, the indoor coil and/or air handler? Next is the gas charge, and then the lineset. Other small costs that add up... Thermostat? Aluminum Tape? Wire?

Labor (already discussed)
Profit (of course)
Time on Specialty equipment- pumpdown unit, gages, plus factory required programming h/w+s/w on some units.

Even considering all that, yes, some quotes are highway robbery. When I had mine done, quotes ranged from 4,600 to 11K. The 11K quote wanted to grossly oversize my unit, which would have caused short run problems down the road.

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#4461260 - 07/16/17 09:43 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: funflyer]
spiritrider Offline


Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 49
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: funflyer
You didn't know that along with an HVAC license they get an honorary medical degree? If you visit the HVAC forums you'd see some of those guys think they're brain surgeons.

Isn't that the truth.

Although, my impression was that the HVAC guys especially at HVAC-Talk think they are rocket scientists. The condescension and downright hostility to DIY is apocalyptic.

Yet, when I dealt with several HVAC contractors trying to get quotes to install an HVAC system. I never met such a bunch of unprofessional incompetent Neanderthals.

Twenty (20) years ago, I took a couple of HVAC courses at the local state Voc Tech college, then took an EPA certification course and passed the exam at a local HVAC distributor. Those were prerequisites to them selling me a system.

A buddy and I with the phone support of a really helpful tech at the distributor, we each purchased the necessary equipment, tools and supplies. We did the installation and maintenance ourselves. We just replaced his system about a month ago, and knock on wood my system is still going strong. Haven't had to add a drop of refrigerant in all that time.

If you are a reasonably competent DIY auto mechanic with competent mechanical/plumbing/electrical installation skills and are willing to take the time to learn the minimal necessary HVAC knowledge, there is no reason you can't DIY a HVAC system.


Edited by spiritrider (07/16/17 09:45 PM)

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#4461324 - 07/16/17 11:02 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
Coprolite Offline


Registered: 07/03/11
Posts: 1224
Loc: Houston, TX
If there were huge profits to be made in HVAC, more people would be doing it. The key to avoid getting gouged is to shop around and understand the warning signs of an impending [censored] storm.

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#4461348 - 07/16/17 11:48 PM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
Merkava_4 Offline


Registered: 01/30/07
Posts: 17501
Loc: Clovis, CA
The whole entire business is a racket. If you call up the A/C supply house and ask them what the A/C unit will cost the contractor, will they tell you? Never.

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#4461469 - 07/17/17 07:54 AM Re: AC install profit margin? Highway robery? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5742
Loc: Illinois
Home Depot sells complete DIY units.
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