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Cost Report : Cooling Your Home

The Summers Are Getting Hotter.  What are your options and how much will it cost to cool your home?

At Walden Homes, we understand that it can be difficult to do your research when it comes to finding out what the  costs are for average home improvement projects. This blog post is the first in a new series that is meant to provide an average measure for homeowners to better get an idea of their budget.

To keep things simple, we will be using the following home as a “typical Toronto home” which readers can use as a measure to scale up or down from. This home pictured is roughly 20′ x 40′ in length.  So 800 sq ft per floor. Overall it is 1,600 square feet plus the basement, making it around 2,400 sq. ft.

This post researches the costs of cooling our  “typical home” during Toronto’s hot summer months. As the weather temperatures increase, more and more Torontonians are looking to stay cool when they are indoors. But what’s the average cost?

CENTRAL AIR (on existing forced air) - 3,000 sq. foot home

 In a home that already has existing duct work in place, you would expect to pay $3,400 to $3,600 for the cooling equipment. If ductwork is required, the cost of installation will increase by $6,000 to $7,000.

This means that if you home currently has no existing ductwork , you  would expect to pay something in the neighbourhood of $9,400 to $10,600 for the system and installation. There would be additional costs for “boxing” or closing up and finishing the areas where the ducting has been installed.

This can add another $4,000 to $5,000.  Adding a forced air system with cooling will cost $13,000 to $16,000 factoring in all costs.

Central air is one of the more cost-effective routes to take, assuming that you have existing ductwork. If ductwork needs to be added, it may make more sense from a cost perspective to go with another system.


 A Hi-Velocity system is an energy-efficient, high-pressure air delivery system that can be designed to provide heating, cooling, filtration, ventilation, humidification and dehumidification. It is popular in older homes with radiators that do not have ductwork.  High velocity systems operate with “mini ducts” that are designed to be installed inside existing walls with minimal remodeling.

High velocity systems are a good option for those of you living in older homes with no pre-existing ductwork.. Our typical home would require a 2.5 ton system to cool the home. The cost  of  the equipment (cooling only) and installation is between $15,000 to $18,000. There should be minimal additional costs for repairs to walls and ceilings.


A ductless, mini-split system makes a good retrofit add-on to a house with a “non-ducted” heating systems such as hydronic (hot water heat), radiant panels, and space heaters. They can also be a good choice for room additions where extending or installing distribution ductwork is not feasible. It is also good for very efficient new homes that only require a small space conditioning system.

The units cost between $ 3,000 and $7,000 to purchase and install.  Our typical home could be cooled using a single head system.  The cost would be $4,000 to $5,000..


Geothermal technology is one of the most efficient and advanced ways to extract energy out of the ground to better heat or cool your home and save on your energy bill. It doesn’t need a compressor or a cooling component because it uses an extraction method from the ground and a fan to circulate through the house.

The cost to install a geothermal system installed is about $20,000 compared to the average $9,600 for installing a conventional forced air furnace and cooling system.   The annual savings with earth-energy systems  can range from 75-80% on your heating bill.  Payback on the system can be reached after about three to five  years after installationA geothermal system is about $20,000 compared to the average $9,600 for installing a conventional furnace system. The annual savings with earth-energy systems usually begin three years after installation.

We hope this information proves useful for you over the next hot couple months!