Carrier air conditioner prices and models: a 2014 update

Carrier air conditioners are leaders in the industry and here’s a brief 2014 update on its central AC models and prices.

While the kids are headed back to school and folks in many parts of the country can smell the snap of fall approaching, it’s still hot in lots of places. May not be a bad time to get in on some bargains for a new central air conditioning system for your home. Carrier is a leader in the industry and if you suffered this summer, it might be a great time to lock down a new Carrier air conditioner for the last blast of heat this year and to be prepared for next year.

Here’s a brief, updated overview of Carrier air conditioners, models and prices:

Start with good stock

carrier ac 2014(a)Carrier has come to be a name people trust when it comes to residential air conditioning. It’s been true since the founder (Willis Carrier) and a few of his engineering buddies invented what would come to be known as the modern residential air conditioning system in 1902.

Today, Carrier offers homeowners a wide range of heating and cooling products and services including:

  • Central air conditioners
  • Boilers
  • Ductless systems
  • Evaporator coils
  • Gas and oil furnaces
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Packaged products

They also provide products and service to improve the quality of the air in your home. You can rely on Carrier for:

  • Air cleaners and filters
  • Humidifiers
  • UV lights and lamps
  • CO alarms and detectors

Find local HVAC contractors and get quotes on a Carrier air conditioning system

While you can get cooling through several of the product lines offered by Carrier (notably some of its ductless systems and its heat pumps) most families will turn to Carriers line of central air conditioning systems and units.

Factors to consider when comparing AC units

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to central air conditioning units as you don’t want to be pouring more money into energy use and cooling capacity than your home needs. On the other hand, you don’t want to select a unit that is underpowered or lacks the proper cooling capacity causing your unit to be constantly working (eventually overworking) to keep you and your family comfortable.

Air conditioners are rated and measured using a government and industry recognized standard known as the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. The SEER rating essentially measures how much energy any given central air conditioner requires in order to do its job (that is, cool a specific amount of space.) While there are many technical elements that go into calculating a SEER rating, just know that the higher the rating, the more efficient the unit will be. The federal government has set a standard for new air conditioning units sold in the U.S. Air conditioners must meet a minimum SEER rating of 13 in order to be sold and installed in a residence in the U.S.

Another factor to look at when comparing central air conditioning units is size capacity. This can get a bit confusing for consumers if they don’t know what to look for or what they’re reading when looking at AC system reviews or brochures. Size capacity of central air conditioners is measured by the Btu output per-hour of a specific unit. It is usually reported as the ton size of a unit. A one-ton air conditioner puts out 12,000 Btu’s per-hour. A two-ton unit puts out 24,000 Btu’s per-hour (and so on.)

You might also want to make yourself aware of the growing number of federal, state and local energy efficiency tax credits or energy rebates available when you buy or upgrade a central air conditioning system. A popular rating system along these lines is the federal government’s ENERGY STAR program. ENERGY STAR is a program created and managed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a way of recognizing products that exceed basic standards for energy efficiency and for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Product manufacturers voluntarily submit products for evaluation on a tighter scale in order to earn an ENERGY STAR designation. For example, while the federal government has set a minimum SEER rating of 13 for central air conditioners sold in the U.S., to earn an ENERGY STAR designation, a central air conditioning system must meet a SEER rating of at least 15.5.

Carrier central air conditioners

Carrier features three separate lines of residential air conditioning systems:

  • The Comfort Series
  • The Performance Series
  • The Infinity Series

Each progressive series offers you increasing levels of efficiency, performance, reliability and (as you might expect) cost. Determining which series and which unit within that series will work best for you and your family is going to depend on a wide range of considerations.

Here’s a summary of each series and the models you can find:

Carrier Comfort Series

carrier ac 2014(b)This is the starter series or economy class of central air conditioners offered by Carrier. Within this series, you can select from three separate models:

  • Carrier Comfort 13
  • Carrier Comfort 13Coastal
  • Carrier Comfort 16

The number designation of these models indicates the SEER rating you can expect with each successive selection (starting at a SEER rating of 13 and progressing up to at least a SEER rating of 16.) The 13Coastal is a specialized unit that offers features to guard against corrosion and salt-related deterioration in coastal or more humid communities. All of these Comfort series models feature:

  • ENERGY STAR designation
  • A single-stage scroll compressor
  • Carrier’s WeatherArmor protection
  • More environmentally friendly Puron refrigerant

In addition to being ENERGY STAR eligible, several of the models in this series qualify for state and local energy rebates and tax credits.

Carrier Performance Series

carrier ac 2014(c)The next step up, this mid-range series of central air conditioners offers, perhaps, the most versatile and best overall set of options for homeowners, balancing cost with a range of performance that is hard to find in other air conditioning options. The models in this series include:

  • Carrier Performance 13
  • Carrier Performance 13Compact
  • Carrier Performance 16
  • Carrier Performance 17

As with the Comfort series, the number designation will tell you what you can expect from a SEER rating performance of these models (though each model routinely exceeds the base SEER rating found in the model number.) This series also includes a Compact unit designed for homes with smaller footprints and less available space for a unit. The Compact unit also accommodates the possibility of having these units in close proximity to other homes by adding some impressive noise filtering. The Compact unit operates at around 68 decibels (quieter than a modern dishwasher.)

Other features found in the Performance series include:

  • ENERGY STAR qualified
  • Filter drier system protection from moisture and contaminants
  • Puron refrigerant
  • Carrier’s WeatherArmor Ultra protection

With the top-end model in this series (the Performance 17) buyers can select a two-stage compressor system. A two-stage compressor gives the homeowner more control over settings and when a unit needs to kick in for extra cooling. All of the units in this series are eligible for federal energy tax credits and on average, these units can deliver the homeowners $550 in additional local energy tax rebates.

Carrier Infinity Series

carrier ac 2014(d)The top-of-the line in Carrier central air conditioners, this series offers homeowners the widest range of performance and efficiency options. The models in this series include:

  • Carrier Infinity 16
  • Carrier Infinity 17
  • Carrier Infinity 17Coastal
  • Carrier Infinity 19VS
  • Carrier Infinity 21

This series delivers the highest efficiency rating available in a Carrier central unit (SEER rating upwards of 21) and all of these units can be augmented with Carrier’s Infinity Control system, allowing even more flexibility in setting when and how much cooling the units deliver. The units in this series also share these features:

  • ENERGY STAR qualified in all sizes
  • Two-stage scroll compressor (except for the 16 model)
  • Compressor sound blanket and Silencer System II design
  • Filter drier system protection from moisture and contaminants
  • WeatherArmor Ultra protection
  • Puron refrigerant
  • Up to $1,300 in local energy credit rebates

The Infinity 21 was rated Best Buy by Consumers Digest and the 19VS has a unique five-stage compressor that can allow the unit to operate using as little as 25 percent of its energy capacity while maintaining a comfortable setting. The lower operating setting also mean quieter running and this unit can operate efficiently while only generating 56 decibel of noise.

Cool off and get an estimate on a new central AC unit today!

Prices and warranties

Nailing down an exact price for any central air conditioning system is a difficult endeavor. For one thing, manufacturers rarely put prices on websites or even product catalogs. If you can find prices, often they are the wholesale or cost-to-contractors prices. In addition to purchasing the unit, you have to factor in what the cost of installation will be. Unless you are a licensed and properly certified HVAC contractor, you will have to hire one to have your unit properly installed. Contractor rates are as varied as contractors themselves. It makes good sense to get some competitive quotes from local contractors (we suggest at least three local competitive quotes) to give yourself an idea of what you will be paying for.

Remember, unless you use a properly licensed contractor certified to install and service your specific brand of central air conditioning unit, you may void any warranty that covers it.

It would be oversimplifying it to say that your Carrier central air conditioning options range in price form the lower-end Comfort Series to the higher end Infinity Series (with the Performance Series fitting in nicely in-between) but we can do a bit better.

Here is a narrower range of what the price-to-contractor cost of these units is (based on compiled catalog and contractor information gathered in late summer of 2014):

Carrier Comfort Series

  • Comfort 13 -- $3,200 - $3,500
  • Comfort 13Coastal -- $3,100 - $3,450
  • Comfort 16 -- $3,800 - $4,000

Carrier Performance Series

  • Performance 13Compact -- $3,400 - $3,600
  • Performance 13 -- $3,450 - $3,700
  • Performance 16 -- $3,800 - $4,000
  • Performance 17 -- $4,200 - $4,400

Carrier Infinity Series

  • Infinity 16 -- $3,700 - $3,950
  • Infinity 17 -- $3,900 - $4,100
  • Infinity 17Coastal -- $3,850 - $4,100
  • Infinity 19VS -- $4,150 - $4,300
  • Infinity 21 -- $4,300 - $4,500

All Carrier home air conditioners are covered by a limited 10-year warranty on all parts (including compressors.) The coastal units also come with a limited 5-year warranty against any corrosion that may befall the unit. Reading the warranty on your new air conditioning is one of the most important steps you can take before hiring someone to install your air conditioner. The warranty can reduce your new air conditioning costs over time because you won't need to reach into your pocket for many repairs. Carrier offers you the option of adding labor coverage to your warranty (fees vary depending on where you live) and Carrier will even suggest and connect you to Carrier-certified contractors near you to do the warranty work.

If you and your family are looking for a dependable, reliable and well-established supplier for a new or upgraded central air conditioning system, you have a number of excellent solutions with Carrier. Contacting some local air conditioner experts to see just which system is best for your unique needs is a highly recommended move. We here at Reply! can help you by putting you in touch with local HVAC contractors who can give you an estimate and help you pick the right cooling solution for your home and family.

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