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Cost Report: Cooling Your Home in Toronto’s Hot Summer

As the weather temperatures increase, more and more Torontonians are looking to stay cool when they are indoors. But what’s the average cost? This post is the first in a series of blogs intended to provide a measure for homeowners to gage their budget for keeping cool this summer.

At Walden Homes, they understand that it can be difficult to do your research when it comes to determining costs for the average home improvement project. To keep things simple, they’ve based estimates on a “typical” Toronto home, which homeowners can use as a scale to measure – up or down.

The home pictured is roughly 20′ x 40′, approximately 800 sq ft per floor. Overall, including the basement, that is 1,600 square feet, the total is around 2,400 sq. ft.

The cost of cooling this typical home depends on how you choose to keep it cool;

Central Air

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

This means that if your home currently has no existing ductwork you could expect to pay in the neighbourhood of between $9,000 to $11,000 for the system and installation. There would be an additional cost for “boxing” or closing up and finishing the areas where the ducting is to be installed, likely $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 an alternate system.

High Velocity

An energy-efficient, high-pressure air delivery system or a high velocity system, can be designed to provide heating, cooling, filtration, ventilation, humidification and dehumidification. It is more 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.

The cost  of  the equipment (cooling only) and installation is between $15,000 to $18,000.

A high velocity system is a good option for those living in older homes with no pre-existing ductwork. The typical home would require a 2.5 ton system for cooling the entire space. There may be additional costs for repairs to walls and ceilings.

Mini Split

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

The units cost between $3,000 and $7,000 to purchase and install.

The 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 air throughout the house.

A geothermal system is about $20,000 compared to the average $9,600 for installing a conventional furnace system.

The annual savings of 75-80% off your heating bill could result from having an earth-energy system installed. Payback on the system can be reached after about three to five years post installation.

This information should prove useful for homeowners enduring the few months of hot and humid weather throughout the summer. For more information on keeping cool, stay tuned for more posts in this series.

To find a service professional for air conditioning installation visit our directory listing at

Editor, Dawn Boshcoff

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