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How Much Does A Refrigeration System Cost?

Most homeowners spend between $495 to $700 nationally.
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A refrigeration system is a useful addition to your home, especially if you entertain guests or have a good wine collection. These systems go way beyond a simple refrigerator, and thus require the help of a professional to ensure they work as intended. Learn more about refrigeration systems and their costs to help you make an informed decision when searching for a contractor.

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National Install Refrigeration System Costs

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $453
Minimum Cost $135
Maximum Cost $750
Average Range $495 to $700
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How do we get this data? This info is based on 5 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.

Table of Contents

  1. Refrigeration Systems Cost
  2. Refrigerated Cooling Price Factors
  3. What Is Refrigeration?
  4. Why Install A Refrigeration System?
  5. Types Of Refrigeration Systems
  6. How Refrigeration Systems Work
  7. DIY Or Hire An HVAC Contractor?
  8. Find An HVAC Contractor

Refrigeration Systems Cost

The cost of a refrigeration system largely depends on the type. Systems that are easier to install typically cost less than the more complex models. The table below displays cost ranges for professional installation of the most common refrigeration types:

Type of System

Low End Cost

High End Cost










Consider including a refrigeration system as part of your kitchen remodel to help bring down the cost. The price of installing a simple refrigerator in a kitchen ranges from $200 to $1,200, and other kitchen appliances have similar installation prices. The installation of a refrigeration system is a much more involved process, and the costs reflect that. However, these systems also have more to offer.

Refrigerated Cooling Price Factors

How much you pay for refrigerated cooling largely depends on the type of system you choose for the space. The factors that affect the price of each individual system include:

  • Size of the room
  • Venting applications
  • Location
  • Amount of ductwork (if applicable)
  • Special features, like ice makers

Refrigerated Cooling Price Factors

What Is Refrigeration?

In simple terms, refrigeration is simply a cooling process. It involves removing unwanted heat from one space and transferring it to another. Removing the heat lowers the temperature to keep the space cool. A refrigeration system uses mechanical refrigeration to transfer heat. Other types of refrigeration can use ice, chilled water and even snow to achieve the same purpose.

Why Install A Refrigeration System?

The reasons for installing a refrigeration system in a restaurant or bar may seem fairly obvious since they are dealing with large amounts of beverages and customers. When considering the expense, some may have trouble justifying the installation in a home kitchen remodel. However, refrigeration systems have many uses in a home as well.

Those who enjoy collecting wine should install refrigeration systems to protect their investment and get the most out of their acquisitions. To preserve and age wines properly, they must be stored consistently at the proper temperatures and humidity levels. Refrigeration systems are essential for wine cellars.

When it comes to entertaining guests, having a refrigeration system can help making storing and serving up drinks easier. Small beer coolers are perfect for storing craft brews at ideal temperatures. However, if you have a full bar in your home, complete with taps for serving up draft beers, then you need a refrigeration system to keep the kegs cold. These are designed to accommodate a full keg and connect to the tap while keeping the temperature consistent.

Refrigeration systems are not just for beverages. If you collect cigars or other tobacco products, these cooling systems store your items at the proper temperature and humidity to keep them fresh.

Why Install A Refrigeration System

Types Of Refrigeration Systems

There are three main types of refrigeration systems to choose from: through-the-wall or forced air, ducted and split. The differences are vast and the best type greatly depends on what you need it for or the type of space you intend to cool. Depending on the type, refrigeration systems can operate similarly to air conditioning systems or swamp coolers.

Through-the-wall refrigeration systems are similar to window air conditioning units; however, they vent to another room rather than to the outside. These have the highest efficiency of the three types, but the disadvantages are that they have shorter lifespans and can be noisy. The cost of through-the-wall refrigeration system installation ranges from $500 to $1,600.

Ducted refrigeration systems are similar to forced air conditioning systems. The compressor and evaporator are all within the same housing, which often needs to be placed in a mechanical room or storage closet. Ducted systems also rely on ductwork and vents to disperse the cool air throughout the space. The cost of ducted refrigeration installation ranges from $6,000 to $12,000 because of the work required to install ducts throughout the space.

Split refrigeration systems can be either ducted or ductless. These systems are similar to central air conditioners with a condenser placed outside the house and an evaporator that often hangs on a wall inside the house. Split systems offer consistency with temperature and humidity, making them ideal for wine storage. The cost for split refrigeration system installation ranges from $3,000 to $12,000 depending on whether the system is ducted or ductless.

The table below compares the three systems to help you determine which one best suits your refrigeration needs:






5 to 8 years

12 to 20 years

15 to 25 years




Professional Required

Noise Level

55 to 65 dB

35 to 55 dB

35 to 60 dB

Venting Type

Interior only

Interior or exterior

Interior or exterior

Maximum Ambient Temperature

80 degrees

Up to 110 degrees

Up to 110 degrees

Types Of Refrigeration Systems

How Refrigeration Systems Work

Refrigeration systems use the processes of evaporation and condensation to remove heat and keep an area cool. The process starts in the evaporator, which is placed inside the room or space that needs to be cooled. The cold refrigerant liquid in the evaporator absorbs the unwanted heat from the space and it evaporates into a gas. The refrigerant gas is compressed by a compressor and is fed to the condenser.

The hot refrigerant gas cools off inside the condenser, which uses ambient air for cooling, and changes back into a liquid. The cool liquid travels through an expansion valve where it expands and its pressure decreases. As it does this, it cools due to adiabatic expansion. The cool refrigerant travels back to the evaporator and is now ready to absorb more heat from the space to cycle through again.

DIY Or Hire An HVAC Contractor?

Certain refrigeration systems can be DIY projects. For example, through-the-wall systems are relatively simple to install since they can only vent to an interior space. This means that you install it through a standard sheetrock wall without having to deal with exterior walls. However, other systems are quite a bit more complicated, especially if ducts are involved. In order to get the most out of your refrigeration system, it's best to call in an HVAC contractor to complete the job.

How Refrigeration Systems Work

Find An HVAC Contractor

A refrigeration system is a great addition to your home remodel — whether you're trying to install a small bar in your man cave or construct a wine cellar for your massive collection. In order to ensure proper installation, it's best to call in the pros. Use our free lead generator to find HVAC professionals in your area. Compare quotes to find competitive prices and check ratings of the contractor's past work to see if they can handle your project. You'll find a professional that meets your expectations and your budget. 

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