How much does a window AC unit cost to install?

$150 – $800 window AC unit cost only
$300 – $1,100 window AC unit + installation cost

Get free estimates from window AC installers near you, or view our cost guide below.

December 27, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 3 expert AC services on HomeGuide.

Window AC unit cost

A window air conditioner installation costs $300 to $1,100 for the unit and labor. Window AC prices are $150 to $800 on average for the unit alone, depending on the BTU size, brand, efficiency, and features. The cost to run a window AC is $12 to $120 per month.

Window AC unit cost installed - chart
Window AC unit cost installed - chart

Window AC unit cost installed
National average cost $640
Minimum cost $150
Maximum cost $1,700
Average cost range $300 to $1,100

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.


Window AC installation cost

Professional window AC installation costs $150 to $300 for labor and takes approximately 2 hours. Electrical or window modifications increase the installation time and costs.

Window AC installation cost
Factor Average cost
Remove and dispose of old window AC unit* $50 – $200
New window AC unit $150 – $800
Installation labor $150 – $300
Total installation cost $300 – $1,100

*Optional.

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Window air conditioner professionally installed
Window air conditioner professionally installed

The following factors affect the cost of installing a window AC:

  • Adding an electrical outlet costs $100 to $150 if a 115V outlet is not within reach of the installation area.
  • Hiring an electrician costs $40 to $100 per hour for labor to install a dedicated electrical circuit required by the National Electrical Code (NEC).
  • Hiring an HVAC contractor costs $75 to $150 per hour for labor to install the window unit.
  • Removal and disposal of the old window AC unit costs $50 to $200, depending on local recycling and the freon removal fees.
  • Weatherstripping material costs $5 to $10 to seal around the window frame, preventing air from escaping or entering. AC units often include weatherstripping.
  • Window frame repair costs $150 to $600. Modifications are required to install a window AC unit in a casement or sliding window.
  • Window glass replacement costs $150 to $500 on average if the glass is damaged during installation.
  • Permanent installation requires additional sealing and protection of the exterior components against the weather at an added cost.

Window AC unit prices vs. through-the-wall or portable

Window AC prices vs. other types - chart
Window AC prices vs. other types - chart

Window AC unit prices by type
Type Unit cost Total cost installed
Window AC unit $150 – $800 $300 – $1,100
Portable AC unit* $200 – $900 $200 – $900
Wall-mounted AC unit $400 – $1,800 $700 – $2,400

*No installation required.

Window air conditioner prices

Window air conditioner prices are $150 to $800 on average for the unit alone, depending on the size, brand, efficiency, and features. Extra-large window AC models with heating and cooling features cost $550 to $1,000 or more.

Window air conditioner prices by size
Cooling area (square feet) BTUs Price range
150 – 350  5,000 – 8,000 BTU  $150– $520
350 – 550  8,000 – 12,000 BTU  $220 – $570
550 – 1,000  12,000 – 18,000 BTU  $300 – $800
1,050 – 1,600  18,500 – 25,000 BTU  $550 – $1,000
  • Brand – High-end brands like LG and Panasonic cost more but provide a longer lifespan and better warranty.
  • Cooling capacity (size) – Larger and warmer rooms require bigger units with more BTUs to cool the space.
  • Energy-efficiency – Energy Star-rated units cost more upfront but are more efficient and save on energy bills over time.
  • Features – Units with adjustable fan speed, programmable timers, remote controls, dehumidifying, and sleep modes typically cost more.
  • Heaters – Adding a heating unit increases material and installation costs but makes the room comfortable year-round.
  • Smart controls – Wi-Fi smart air conditioners are better at saving energy and maintaining a comfortable room temperature.

Wall AC unit cost

A through-the-wall AC unit costs $700 to $2,400 installed. A through-the-wall unit is quieter than a window unit but is more permanent and expensive because the installation requires cutting a large hole in the exterior wall. Installation may include these additional expenses:

A ductless mini-split system costs $2,000 to $6,000 for a single-zone system or $3,200 to $10,500 for a 3-zone system installed. A mini-split indoor unit may be mounted on a wall and provides cooling with no unsightly components protruding from the window.

Portable AC unit prices

A portable AC unit costs $200 to $900 for the unit alone. A self-contained portable unit does not require permanent installation and uses a hose to vent hot air to the outside through a window, wall, ceiling, or door.

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Cost to run a window AC unit

The cost to run a window AC unit is $12 to $120 per month, depending on the BTU size, Energy Efficiency Rating (EER), local utility rates, and how often the unit runs.

Cost to run window AC unit per month - chart
Cost to run window AC unit per month - chart

Window AC unit cost to run
Size Cost per hour Cost per day* Cost per month*
5,000 BTU $0.05 – $0.12 $0.40 – $1.00 $12.00 – $30.00
8,000 BTU $0.08 – $0.20 $0.60 – $1.60 $18.00 – $50.00
12,000 BTU $0.12 – $0.30 $1.00 – $2.40 $30.00 – $70.00
15,000 BTU $0.15 – $0.40 $1.20 – $3.20 $36.00 – $96.00
18,000 BTU $0.20 – $0.50 $1.60 – $4.00 $48.00 – $120.00

*Running 8 hours per day.

Other factors also impact the cost to run a window AC unit:

  • A unit with a higher combined energy efficiency ratio (CEER) reduces utility costs.
  • Pre-programming the thermostat or using a smart thermostat saves on energy costs.
  • Hot and humid summers require longer AC running times, increasing energy usage.
  • Replace AC filters frequently to keep the unit running at maximum efficiency.

Is it cheaper to use central air or window units?

A Window AC unit is cheaper to install and costs less to run than a central air conditioning system. Central air conditioning costs $2,500 to $7,500 to replace an AC unit alone or $6,000 to $12,000 for installations requiring new ductwork.

Central air vs. window AC unit
Factor Window AC unit Central air conditioning
Installation cost $300 – $1,100 $2,500 – $7,500
Monthly cost to run $12 – $120 $80 – $200
Pros
  • Less expensive
  • Less intrusive installation process
  • Can cool only a single room
  • Uses less energy
  • Whole-home cooling
  • Even room temperature with no hot spots
  • Better air filtration
  • Cooling and heating options
Cons
  • Minimal filtration options
  • Hot spots in rooms due to less air circulation
  • Requires multiple units to cool the whole home
  • More expensive to install
  • More intrusive installation process
  • More expensive to run
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Frequently asked questions

How long do window AC units last?

A window AC unit lasts 8 to 10 years on average but can last up to 20 years if properly sized and maintained. A unit that leaks air or is too small for the space works harder and fails sooner. Clean the filter monthly to prolong the unit's lifespan.

What size window AC do I need?

The ideal window AC unit size depends on the room size and usage. A window AC unit's cooling capacity is sized in British thermal units (BTU).

Recommended window AC size
Room size (square feet) Window AC size
150 – 350 5,000 – 8,000 BTU
350 – 550 8,000 – 12,000 BTU
550 – 1,000 12,000 – 18,000 BTU
1,050 – 1,600 18,500 – 25,000 BTU

Other factors that affect the required BTU size include:

  • Room size – A window air conditioner needs 20 BTUs per square foot of living space.
  • Room purpose – Add 4,000 BTUs for kitchens, offices with computers and electronics, or other warmer spaces.
  • Occupancy – If more than two people regularly occupy the room, add 600 BTUs for each additional person.
  • Sunlight – Increase the capacity by 10% for west-facing or sunny rooms.
  • Shade ­­– Reduce the capacity by 10% if the room is heavily shaded.

Can I install a window AC myself?

Installing a window unit is a simple DIY project for handy homeowners. Hire a professional HVAC contractor or skilled handyman if electrical or window modifications are needed.

  1. Measure the window opening and select the model that fits the dimensions.
  2. Inspect around the window for rot or damage and confirm the window can support the weight of the AC unit. Add a support bracket if necessary.
  3. Slide the accordion panels onto both sides of the unit if not preassembled.
  4. Center the unit in the open window resting on the support bracket or window frame.
  5. Confirm the bottom flange is flush against the windowsill.
  6. Trim the piece of foam weatherstripping to an appropriate length and insert it between the window sashes.
  7. Pull the window sash down behind the upper flange for stability.
  8. Use screws to attach the top and bottom of the unit to the window.
  9. Extend the accordion panels from the sides of the air conditioner and secure them with screws to seal out the outside air.
  10. Confirm if the current outlet can safely power the unit. Larger units pull more energy and need a dedicated outlet to handle the increased current requirements.
  11. Power up the air conditioner.

Do window AC units use a lot of electricity?

A window AC unit uses 500 to 1,500 watts of electricity on average, more than most home appliances but less than a central air conditioner. Energy Star-rated units with higher CEER ratings use less energy.

Check the yellow EnergyGuide label on the unit for annual energy consumption and operating costs.

Where to buy window AC units?

Window AC units are sold at most appliance and home improvement stores, including Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, Best Buy, and Walmart. When comparing models, consider warranty coverage and available rebates in addition to the unit price.

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Hiring a handyman or window AC installer

When hiring a window AC installer, be sure to:

  • Look for a handyperson or HVAC contractor that has been in business for more than five years.
  • Browse their reviews on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Get at least three estimates to compare. Confirm the equipment is comparable in the estimates.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full upfront. Follow a payment plan and do not make the final payment until fully satisfied.

Questions to ask

  • What experience do you have with installing window AC units?
  • What size window AC unit do you recommend for my home?
  • Does your estimate include all labor and materials in addition to the window unit?
  • Will you provide a list of references with contact information?
  • May I have a copy of your insurance policy for my records?
  • Does the window AC unit come with a manufacturer's warranty?
  • Do you guarantee your work or offer an extended warranty?

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