Hot office with a broken window air conditioner

A window air conditioner is the simplest form of an air conditioning system. It’s essentially an amped up fan that can be mounted on walls or windows (hence the name). Window AC units usually cost $175 – $850, depending on several factors.

There are many reasons why a homeowner may choose a window air conditioner over an HVAC system. The first that comes to mind is the fact that window air conditioners can potentially save you a lot of money.

Depending on your cooling needs, you might find that it makes more sense to buy a window air conditioner unit instead of kitting out your entire house with a new heating and cooling system. For example, you might have a system that runs perfectly well, but there is one room in the house that is always too warm.

It might have sliding doors or a lot of windows, which lets more heat into the house during the summer. Buying a window air conditioner for this one room is a lot cheaper than investing in a new HVAC system with a higher output.

Clearly, window air conditioners can be a feasible option for the home. Thus, it’s appropriate to find out how much they cost. Here is a rundown of the factors that affect the cost of a window air conditioner, as well as some specific cost calculations:

The Size of the Room

The size of the room you’re installing the window air conditioner in contributes to the overall cost. This is because the size of the room influences the required BTU of the air conditioner. BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a universal measurement of energy. The larger your room, the more BTUs you will need. For example, in a 10 foot by 10 foot (100 foot squared) room, you will need a 5,000 BTU window air conditioner. To find the amount of BTUs your window air conditioner should have, you use the length and width of the room to calculate the necessary BTU output.

The Size of the Unit

When you buy a window air conditioner, it’s important to get the size right. If you buy one that’s too overpowered, it will cost you unnecessary money to run and will also be less effective in terms of dehumidifying the room.

This is because window air conditioners also dry the air, and one that is too big for the room will shut off more often because it has already performed its cooling job. Buying one that is too small is even worse, because you’ll have it running continuously to maintain comfort, and you’ll soon see this reflected in your utility bills.

The bigger the unit (in terms of power, not size), the more expensive it is.

Brand and Features

The brand and features of the window air conditioner can mean that you can pay anything from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand bucks for one. Don’t worry, however; an average window air conditioner will not go into the thousand range.

Deciding what features you deem necessary will help you filter out units that are too indulgent. Well-known brands will generally cost more than unfamiliar ones, but sometimes a well-known name can provide you with assurance that might make a bit more money worthwhile.

Different homeowners have different priorities in mind when they make a purchase, so it’s entirely up to you how much emphasis you wish to place on the brand and features included in your new window air conditioner.

Cost Calculations

Now that we’ve discussed some factors to be considered when trying to ascertain the cost of a window air conditioner, here are some specific cost calculations that will help you arrive at an accurate figure:

Assuming that the unit is 115 volts with an adjustable thermostat and remote, here are the estimated prices of a window air conditioner (installation included) for some different sizes of rooms:

Costs for a window air conditioner for different sized rooms
BTU Room Size Cost
5,000 150 ft2 $172
8,000 340 ft2 $272
10,000 450 ft2 $332
15,000 800 ft2 $432
25,000 1500 ft2 $850