How Long Does It Take to Install an AC Unit?

With an AC unit installed in your home, you’ll notice an immediate improvement in the air temperature even on the hottest days. So you may wonder how long does it take to install an AC unit?

Installing an AC unit could take 4 to 8 work hours and will vary depending on the type of unit you are installing and the building you live in. The installation of an entire apartment HVAC system without an existing one could take up to 24 work hours.

Now, let’s break down the details of installing various AC units in your house or apartment.

How Long Does It Take to Replace an Outside AC Unit?

Some people don’t realize that if you replace an AC unit, the process is much simpler than a first-time installation or changing the type of AC system. 

Before installing your new outside AC unit, the old unit system must be removed and disposed of appropriately.

Then ductwork and vents are examined in case repairs are necessary.

Replacing just your unit generally allows you to continue using the same ductwork and vents, cutting down the cost of parts and service, and should take no more than 4 to 6 hours total depending on the size of your home. 

Bigger houses that require larger AC units may take longer to install.

Only a few of those hours will be physical installation. Your professional installer will have to conduct tests to ensure everything runs correctly. 

How Long Does It Take to Install a Window AC Unit?

It’s easy to install a window AC unit yourself without the help of a professional. The process should take you no more than an hour. 

The most time-consuming part of a window installation will be securing the unit safely to ensure it doesn’t fall out of the window.

Still, many AC units come with external brackets to help secure the unit, which should take only a few minutes.

How Long Does It Take to Install a Heat Pump? 

Generally, heat pump installation takes around 5 hours. The arrangement of your home will impact the time required. 

Most professionals will include removing and disposing of the old pump before replacing it with the new one, and then the new unit can be installed and tested.

How Long Does it Take to Install an AC in an Apartment?

You can expect the entire apartment installation process to take anywhere between 8 and 24 work hour.

Technicians may alert you to delays in ductwork installation depending on the layout of the apartment and the need to work around plumbing or electrical lines. 

Installing a full HVAC system in an apartment that doesn’t have one already takes longer than a house installation, and that’s because of the location of the AC unit.

Contractors may need a crane to lift the unit onto the roof unless you have a ground-level apartment. You often have the outside AC unit mounted outdoors, which can add to the time it takes to install in an apartment.

What Is the Average Cost to Install an AC Unit?

Your new AC unit installation will likely cost between $4,000 and $7,500. 

You’re probably wondering why the range is so broad. Simply put, there are many factors which will influence the total price, including: 

  • The size of your home 
  • AC unit designs
  • Energy efficiency (SEER rating)
  • Location 

Professional installation will take square footage into account to determine whether you require a split system, for instance. 

The cost of installing an AC unit will depend on the amount of work required.

If the vents and ductwork must be repaired or replaced, the installation will take longer and cost more. 

Is It Cheaper to Install the AC in the Winter?

The odds are good that it will be cheaper for you to have your AC installed in the winter. Several factors play into this lower cost. 

  • Low demand for AC
  • Contractor flexibility
  • Energy savings

In the cooler months of the year, most HVAC contractors have more scheduling flexibility and may charge lower rates or offer discounts to keep business coming in steadily.

After all, the height of summer is their busy season.

You also have plenty of flexibility with your own shopping decisions when purchasing an AC in the winter.

Since there is no immediate pressure to cool your home during the winter, you can shop around for the best deal. 

Can I Install an AC Myself?

The short answer is, it depends on your skills and the complexity of the AC. 

To ensure your central air conditioning unit meets all code requirements, you may consider hiring a professional HVAC contractor to install permanent units.

However, you can easily install portable window and interior units yourself. 

Otherwise, you will need to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the installation process. I

f you choose to install your own AC system for the first time, you will need to consider the size of your home.

The square footage will impact the type of system and size of units you need.

Multiple factors affect the time a new air conditioner takes to install.

Keep in mind that how long it will take to install central air and outdoor units may also be longer than the standard 4 to 8 hours if you choose to do it yourself.

A great option is to talk with our licensed HVAC technicians who can give you a quote on your AC installation.

Final Thoughts

It’s worth doing a little research to determine whether the cost savings of installing your air conditioning unit outweigh the work you will need to do.

If you decide to install your system, you should determine the best approach based on your home and location.

So, exactly how long does it take to install an AC unit? 

Though impacted by multiple factors, installing your AC unit that is more complex than just a window unit should take between 4 and 8 hours.

Afterward, you will be able to bask in your own cool, indoor breeze.

About Roy Cohen

Roy Cohen has a burning passion for heating, cooling, and ventilation. He aims to help you save money on expensive repairs and bring you the best HVAC products. He has years of experience behind him in HVAC repair and garage maintenance.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]

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