The prices in this guide are accurate, as of 2023*
Every year, the UK gets hotter during the summer months. If the heat is becoming unbearable for you, you might be looking into different options for what you can do to keep your home cool during these record heat waves, especially if you work from home a lot.
Having A/C also makes your home more desirable, setting it apart from other properties on the market and increases its value.
Air conditioning could be a good solution and is one of the most effective ways to cool your home. The most common types of air conditioning systems are split A/C and ducted A/C, but this guide will cover all your potential options.
You could spend anywhere between £600 and £15,000, depending on the type of aircon you want, and how many rooms you want it installed in.
This air conditioning price guide covers how much it costs to install aircon, as well as running costs. Prices in this guide will always clarify where they include cost of labour and materials, and where they refer to prices separately.
Keep in mind that where you live in the UK will affect the cost of labour, which rises in London and the South East.
What are the different types of air conditioning systems?
When it comes to selecting what type of A/C would be best for you, make sure you keep a few things in mind:
- How much space you have
- How much you expect to use the A/C and your energy consumption
- Your budget
- Cooling capacity
You might also want to measure your room to find out the BTU output you’ll need to cool your room properly. You can use a BTU calculator to help you figure it out.
If you aren’t sure what air conditioning unit would be best for you, speak to a skilled tradesperson, who can help you decide.
|Type of air conditioning system||Pros||Cons|
|Floor-mounted A/C||Easy to install Don’t take up a lot of space so great for smaller properties||Air flow can sometimes be decreased by the presence of furniture in the room Not suited for large rooms due to localised and uneven airflow|
|Window-mounted A/C||Easy to install Easy to maintain Doesn’t take up floor space Cost effective and cheap to operate Very good cooling capacity Come in a range of sizes||Emit a noise whilst in use Visible from the outside of your property Need to be installed near a suitable electrical outlet Obstruct free from window Irregular shaped windows are not compatible|
|Ducted / central A/C||Cools an entire area quickly and in a regulated way Decreases the effects of humidity Fairly quiet indoor operation Can be controlled from the home thermostat||Consumes a lot of energy so higher energy bills Require an outdoor unit which some people consider unattractive and difficult to hide High initial installation and purchase cost|
|Split system A/C||Don’t require ductwork and can be installed everywhere Can monitor individual unit temperature Usually come packaged with purifiers and humidifiers Noiseless Cost-effective to run||One unit is insufficient for cooling large spaces Usually wall-mounted and highly visible More suited for larger homes and not for smaller properties The outdoor unit is noisy|
How much does it cost to have air conditioning installed?
These prices include cost of materials and the installation price. You could opt to have your air con wall mounted, or have it mounted into your window or on the floor. The choice is yours.
Most A/C installations take one or two days, though larger systems can take as long as three to seven days.
|Type of air conditioning system||Average cost|
|Floor-mounted air conditioning for one room||£600 – £1,500|
|Window-mounted air conditioning for one room||£500 – £1,300|
|Ducted air conditioning system for one room||£2,500 – £4,000|
|Ducted A/C for a six-room house||£10,000 – £15,000|
|Split air conditioning for one room||£1,000 – £2,000|
|Split A/C for a six-room house||£6,500 – £9,500|
How much you spend will depend on a range of factors:
- How big the area you want cooled is
- The system you choose to buy, including its model and quality
- Extra features like app access, sleep mode, and remote controls
In some cases, no installation services are required. You can buy a portable or freestanding air conditioner (the cheapest start at £50 but can reach upwards of £600), or an evaporative air cooler, that costs between £100 and £500. Neither require services for installation, you can just buy and set one up in your home yourself.
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How much does it cost to run an air conditioning unit in the UK?
How much it costs to run A/C is a FAQ. Different A/C units have different efficiency ratings, depending on their age and size. This means that running costs will vary widely, depending also on where in your home your air con is installed.
The below prices give you an approximate look at how much you might spend to run A/C in your house.
|What room in your home?||Running time||Cost per hour to run A/C||Cost per day to run A/C||Weekly cost to run A/C|
|Living room||8 hours||12p||96p||£6.72|
|Home office||8 hours||6p||48p||£3.36|
Standard air conditioning units cost between 8p and 20p per hour, which adds up to an average of around £25 – £30 a month (for one unit).
Portable A/C units are not energy efficient. To run a freestanding air conditioning unit, you could pay upwards of 45p an hour.
Do you need building regulations for air conditioning?
You do not need planning permission or building regulation approval to install air conditioning in your home.
However, extensive air conditioning systems (bigger than 0.6m3) are sometimes not covered by permitted development, especially if you’re having one installed on a pitched roof or within a metre of the edge of a flat roof.
You will also need planning permission if you live in a conservation area.
If you aren’t sure whether you can install air conditioning in your home, a skilled tradesperson can help you identify what you will need for the project. You can ask for some free quotes here.
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How often should air conditioning be serviced?
The standard advice is to have your A/C checked annually, as it won’t always show noticeable signs of defect. To make sure it’s performing as best as it can, regular checks will ensure your A/Cs performance stays on track, increasing your unit’s lifespan as well.
If your air conditioning:
- Makes more noise than usual
- Leaks excessively
- Takes longer to cool your room down than usual
- Leads to higher energy costs than usual
These are all signs that there might be something wrong with your unit. Contact an expert to come and service your air conditioning as soon as possible.
The average cost of an air conditioning service is between £50 and £200 per unit, with air conditioning engineers charging between £20 and £50 an hour, depending on where you live in the UK.
You may also be charged for the cost of the refrigerant you need. This tends to cost between £30 and £120.
How can I save money on air conditioning?
There are definitely a few tips you should be aware of if you want to make the most of your air conditioning unit and save money in the long run.
- Always opt for high-efficiency products. They might cost you more up-front to buy, but they will almost certainly save you money in the long run in running costs than a low-budget system.
- Make sure your home is properly draught proof and insulated. This will ensure that the cool air stays in and the warm air stays out whilst you use your A/C, allowing you to maximise its effects in your home just like it does during the winter months when you switch on your heaters.
- Use a timer to set your A/C. this will avoid you forgetting that you have it switched on, as this could cause you to leave the house with it on or have it running when you aren’t in the room. The same advice goes for smart devices like thermostats and other temperature controls that automatically switch off the A/C once it gets to a certain temperature.
- Invest in window covers. Whether this is curtains or window film, this is an excellent way to block sunlight coming into your rooms, which in turn warms them up and minimises the effects of A/C. Solar screens are another great option.
- Always pick skilled tradespeople to install your air conditioning. This will avoid you paying for costly repairs further down the line, and will ensure that the whole process goes smoothly, and that your A/C works as effectively as possible. You can hire a tradesperson to install your air con here.
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Air conditioning is something that can truly impact how much you enjoy your home during the warmer months of the year.
How much your air conditioning unit will cost to install depends largely on the size and type of A/C you want, as different systems cost a range of prices. The larger the area you want cooled, the more you will have to pay.
Where you live in the UK will also have an impact, as the cost of labour rises in London and the South East.
The prices in this guide are an approximate estimate of how much you could spend. For an accurate quote, let us know what you have in mind, and speak to a skilled tradesperson today.
The Rated People cost guides are produced in collaboration with the quote-building platform PriceBuilder, and a range of tradespeople across the 30+ trades on our platform were consulted. Please note that the prices included are for guidance only – how much you end up spending will depend on the specific requirements of your project.