Monday, 3 Oct 2022

How much does it cost to install air conditioning– and is it worth it?

woman sat by rotating fan

With two heatwaves making this one of the hottest summers in the UK, it’s pushed many to install an air conditioning unit in their homes. 

This is hardly surprising either.

With our typical go-to devices circulating the already-stuffy air, it’s clear fans – whether they’re handheld, standing or big enough for your desk – simply haven’t done the trick. 

While we’ve experienced some muggy and unbearable summers in the past, temperatures are rising – and this year it feels like we might have to start thinking about installing air conditioning for the future.

However, with the rise in energy bills and the overarching cost of living crisis, how much will your air con unit cost to install and run? 

We spoke to experts who tell us how much an installation might cost, and if it’s even worth investing in one. 

How much does it cost to install air conditioning in the UK?

Richard Salmon, director of The Air Conditioning Company, says installing an air conditioning unit ‘completely depends’ on the system required and how many rooms you’re looking to cool.

‘As a ballpark figure, you’d be looking at between £2,100 to £2,400 per room in a typical bedroom or living room,’ he tells Metro.co.uk.

‘The price will vary from company to company and will also depend on the manufacturer of the unit you choose to install.’

Jose Alves, UK country manager at Panasonic, also suggests a similar estimate.

‘From a cost perspective, depending on the unit selected and installation requirements, a typical bedroom installation would cost in the region of £1,800 to £2,400,’ he tells Metro.co.uk.

The price is influenced by many factors – from the type of unit (such as noise level or efficiency level) to the design and complexity of the project. 

At the same time, with demand for home air conditioning now increasing, it means the average cost of supply and installation ‘compared to five to ten years ago’ has also increased, explains Jose.

‘If you value a good night’s sleep or working effectively from home, then it’s worth investing in an AC unit,’ Jose says.

Usually, the installation process takes one day, and doesn’t require any redecoration works, thankfully.

How much does an AC cost to run?

According to Evergreen Air Conditioning, running an air conditioner with a unit size of up to 10KW costs around 38p per hour.

Similar to installation, the exact cost of running depends on the size and amount of usage.

On average, people use their air conditioning for about four hours during the day and nearly five hours at night.

This amounts to roughly nine hours per day — adding £24 per week to your energy bill.

​​Is air conditioning worth it in the UK?

With hotter summers in the UK now becoming the norm, there’s no surprise that the popularity for air conditioning units is increasing. 

‘Consumers are far more conscious about hotter summers becoming a more regular pattern and this has also driven up the demand,’ Richard adds.

As more people are working from home, AC units are in more demand than ever, with the past two years being ‘the busiest on record’ for Richard’s company.

Air conditioning units can also provide ‘effective heating’ during the colder months, according to Jose.

‘Heat pump air conditioners are able to deliver heating as well as cooling very effectively,’ he says.

‘This heating function is far more efficient than conventional radiators,’ adds Richard.

‘The air conditioners we install in homes will typically have an A+++ efficiency rating. In fact, the government has totally removed the VAT element from domestic installations for this very reason.’

However, with hotter summers linked to climate change, some have concerns about UK air conditioning becoming mainstream.

‘Before we consider UK-wide adoption of air conditioning it’s important to look at other options for combating heat, which have less of an environmental impact,’ Paul Higgins, the innovation associate director at the Carbon Trust tells Metro.co.uk. 

He adds: ‘If active air conditioning is needed, then the most carbon efficient solution would be a heat pump, which provides heating and cooling at different times of the year.’

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