AC Sticker Shock!!!

13 Replies

I just recently had an air conditioner condenser unit replaced in June in my California duplex.The bill was for $2200 for a 3 ton with r-22 Freon.The second unit just went out and now I am quoted $2800 for 14 seer 31/2 ton. Apparently California has upped the minimum seer to 14. I am out of state so my property manager has been handling the quotes .When I look up the unit on the internet they sell for about $1500 I cant believe it costs over a$1000 for a change out . Any ideas or advice to cut the costs?

Considering yours are in CA it's not out of line with what we are seeing up here. We paid about $1095 for a 4ton 13seer, but there were extra costs in the new line set ($225) & the new Evap coil ($350).

Install labor for us runs around $600 to qualify for the 'contractor installed warranty'.

Be advised also that R22 is being replaced by non-chlorinated formulations. I almost expected that to be a requirement in CA, even for replacement systems. The newer refrigerants are less efficient, so the higher SEER requirement leads to higher costs.

Also, there's no such thing as "freon". "Freon" is a brand name for DuPont's line of halogenated hydrocarbon refrigerants. The stuff in the system that makes it work ("the thingamabob that does the job") is called "refrigerant".

I know California is requiring the new seer and coolant in 2016 but the labor of $600 - 1000 does seem high considering in Palm Springs area a unit lasts fora bout 10 years due to heavy use. Thanks  @Pat L.  and @Daria B. and @David Dachtera for the resposnes. It is just another expense to factor in the joys of landlording

I feel your pain...(although I think the pricing you are getting is fair) this is precisely why I have had a Home Warranty on every rental property I have ever owned.  $400-600 a year per rental...covers everything major that can go wrong for $55-$75 per service call.  I've had A/C's repaired and replaced...plumbing main line cracks replaced, dishwasher's repaired and replaced, garage door opener's repaired and replaced.  Electronic circuit board on refrigerator replaced...best investment in my opinion an investor can make.

I currently use American Home Shield for my rentals.  I also have used Fidelity, briefly, when I ought a place that had them for the 1st year, and I switched to American Home Shield at the end of the year.  AHS is not the cheapest, but they are the easiest to work with, they are tenant friendly, and they use good service companies.

Yes @Percy N. .. I have had two roof top A/C units replaced (different houses) with brand new 3.5 tons units and it cost me a whopping $60 for each of them for the service call.  At the same time, I have another rental built in 1988 that has had probably 10 service calls in 18 years for the A/C that keeps blowing a large capacitor and they just replace it.  But I'm good with that too.

I hate to propose this, but if you know the AC guy well, sometimes they have used condenser units that they will sell and install for you (save maybe $400-600), but with labor costing what it is, I don't normally bother because it will only be a few years before you need to put another one in. 

You got a deal ,  $ 1500 may be the price of the unit ,  there are other materials necessary .   Then there is labor and profit .      $ 2800 is dirt cheap