How Much Does HVAC Installation or Replacement Cost?
$4,820 – $9,350 Replacement
$6,820 – $12,350 With Ductwork
$6,820 – $12,350 With Ductwork
HVAC installation costs $6,820 to $12,350 on average which includes new ductwork, a new central air conditioner, and a new gas furnace. Replacing an HVAC system without ductwork costs between $4,820 and $9,350 depending on the size of your home, and the brand and grade of equipment chosen. Get free estimates from HVAC contractors near you or check our out cost guide below.
HVAC System Cost
The average cost to replace an HVAC system is $4,820 to $9,350, which includes the combination of a new central air conditioner unit and a new gas furnace. Installation of a new HVAC system with ductwork costs between $6,820 and $12,350 in total.
|Job||Install Time||Average Cost|
|HVAC Replacement||1 Day||$4,820 – $9,350|
|HVAC Install With Ductwork||3 – 5 Days||$6,820 – $12,350|
|HVAC Install With Add-Ons||4 – 7 Days||$13,000 – $17,000|
Pricing depends on the size of your house, the brand and efficiency rating of your new HVAC unit, the length of your ductwork, and labor expenses. Ductwork alone costs $2,000 to $3,000 to install, and upgrades like a humidifier, zoning system, or air cleaner will increase the price by $2,000 to $4,000 more.
|National Average Cost||$9,582|
|Average Range||$6,820 to $12,350|
An HVAC system takes care of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in a building so that you can live in a comfortable environment that vents away stale air while introducing freshly warmed or cooled outside air (room air distribution).
Table of Contents
HVAC Installation Costs
The HVAC installation costs in the chart below are based on a single residential unit, whereas two units will be about double the price. Labor costs typically make up 40% to 50% of the cost of the unit(s) which are included in this pricing.
|HVAC System Installation||$4,820 – $9,350|
|HVAC Ductwork Installation||$2,000 – $3,000|
|HVAC Air Handler||$2,500 – $3,500|
|Install Zoning System||$2,300 – $3,500|
|Install Thermostat||$200 – $500|
There are three types of HVAC installation packages: the change-out, which includes a new air conditioner installation and a new heating system, the full installation which includes all the HVAC equipment and ductwork, and the full install that includes additional features such as a zoning system.
Change-Out HVAC Installation Cost
- Cost: $4,820 – $9,350
- Job Time: 1 Day
Replacing your HVAC system costs between $4,820 and $9,350 and takes about a day to complete. A change-out is simply replacing out the main components of your HVAC system without any new ductwork. You should only get a change-out if your ductwork is in excellent condition.
Keep in mind, over 80% of HVAC installation jobs will require new ductwork. HVAC contractors will try and push change-outs because installing ductwork is the most time-consuming and challenging part of the job.
Cost to Install HVAC System with Ductwork
- Cost: $6,820 – $12,350
- Job Time: 3 – 5 Days
The cost to install an HVAC system with ductwork ranges from $6,820 – $12,350. Ductwork installation adds 2 to 4 days of labor and $2,000 to $3,000 to the total cost of your new system. If it’s time to replace your HVAC system, you should get ductwork replaced at the same time.
If the ductwork has been there as long as the system that just wore out, it’s a good bet the ductwork is in poor condition. New ductwork has no leaks, nor has it accumulated dust and allergens. New ductwork goes a long way toward lowering your energy bills.
HVAC Installation Cost with Add-Ons
- Cost: $13,000 – $17,000
- Job Time: 4 – 7 Days
A new HVAC installation with additional features can cost from $13,000 to $17,000 and take 4 to 7 days to complete. Installing a zoning system can add $2,300 to $3,500 to your HVAC system installation. Additional upgrades include a variable speed fan, a whole house humidifier, or UV lighting.
HVAC Unit Costs
A new HVAC unit costs about $1,900 without installation for a 1,000-square-foot home and up to $5,600 for a 3,000-square-foot home. The cost of the HVAC unit will mostly depend on the size of your house and the brand and efficiency rating of the new unit.
HVAC installation usually brings the total cost to 40% to 50% more than the unit prices. An HVAC unit doesn’t have one standard rate because it can be powered in many different ways. Prices below are for the unit and installation costs.
|HVAC Unit||Average Install Cost|
|Furnace and AC Combo||$4,820 – $9,350|
|Central Air Conditioner||$3,350 – $5,910|
|Ductless HVAC||$1,300 – $4,500|
|Air Handler||$2,500 – $3,500|
|Gas Furnace||$1,800 – $4,000|
|Electric Furnace||$1,600 – $2,500|
|Oil Furnace||$4,200 – $6,900|
|Boiler / Radiator||$1,500 – $3,500|
|Air Source Heat Pump||$5,000 – $8,000|
|Geothermal Heat Pump||$20,000 – $25,000|
HVAC Replacement Costs
HVAC replacement costs $4,820 to $9,350 on average, which includes a new AC unit and a new furnace. When adding new ductwork, expect to spend between $6,820 and $12,350 depending on your home's size, the brand of the HVAC system, and the length of your ductwork.
If problems exist with only a single component, replacement prices for parts and labor can cost a lot less depending on which part is not functioning correctly. Your HVAC system could be working properly, but your ductwork may be damaged, causing airflow problems.
Cost to Replace HVAC Ductwork
The average cost to replace HVAC ductwork is $35 to $55 per linear foot, which includes materials and professional installation. With a typical single-family home needing from 30 to 90 linear feet of ducting, total costs to replace ductwork is between $1,000 and $5,000.
Most homeowners will spend $2,000 to $3,000 to replace their HVAC ductwork with all new, R-6 insulated, Mylar-sheathed ductwork. Professional installation will take a solid 2 of 3 days. Air ducts mostly come in plastic, fiberglass, or metal. The ductwork must be sized to match the airflow from the HVAC unit and sealed correctly to avoid leaks and proper airflow.
If the ducts are more than 15 years old, it’s nearly always best to install new ductwork for higher efficiency and better air quality in your home. It’s not just that they can collapse or develop leaks; it’s also that they can collect pests, debris, dust, and pollen. Ask your HVAC specialist to do a blower door test (which measures airtightness in ductwork) to see if your ductwork is up to par. If there are only a few small leaks discovered, these can be sealed rather than replaced.
Furnace and Air Conditioner Replacement Cost
The average cost of a furnace and air conditioner replacement is $4,820 to $9,350. A heater and AC combo is worth installing if your repair costs on the old unit are coming close to 30% of the cost of a new unit. HVAC package unit prices are impacted by the brand, the SEER rating, and the contractor's labor.
AC Replacement Cost
The cost of retrofitting an existing forced air furnace with an AC unit costs about $3,350 to $5,910. New central air conditioner prices run from $1,080 to $1,740. If you already have the cold air and heating separated, you’ll only need to replace the air conditioning unit, but if your furnace is older and struggling to work properly, it could be more cost effective to replace both systems with one HVAC system.
Furnace Replacement Cost
A new furnace replacement costs $2,150 to $5,900 with most homeowners paying around $3,100. You’ll need first to have your home inspected to see if your existing ductwork can hold up to the new furnace installation in size and insulation capabilities.
HVAC Cost Estimator
How To Calculate HVAC Installation Costs
You must consider three things to calculate a fair HVAC installation cost:
- The price of the equipment you’re installing based on your required size of AC, size of the furnace, desired SEER value, and desired AFUE value.
- Factor in labor costs as well as installation supplies such as sheet metal, refrigerant, a thermostat, AC pad, and a line set.
- Factor in the contractor's profit margin, which is typically 40% to cover all expenses.
That is basically how a contractor will figure your bid, but you should get a detailed or line-by-line quote, so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
HVAC Installation Cost Factors
Additional cost factors that could affect your final installation cost include:
- The size and scope of the construction
- The brand and grade selected for each component
- The type of each component chosen—for example, natural gas vs. oil vs. geothermal for heating
- The complexity of the installation—it’s harder for technicians to work in an attic or a crawlspace.
- Whether ductwork is required or not
- The length of the ductwork in your home (typically ranges from 30 to 90 feet)
- The quality of construction of your home, its age, the condition of the ductwork currently in place.
Instead of guessing at the correct size unit for your size house, contractors will use a Manual J calculation to get just the right size HVAC system. If it’s too large, it won’t run long enough to dehumidify your home, leaving it cold and clammy. If it’s too small, it will run all the time but never achieve the cold climate you want. The newest Energy Star guidelines say that HVAC systems can’t be any more than 15% larger than the square footage calls for.
BTUs (British Thermal Units)
Furnaces are sized by “BTU output,” which measures the amount of heating a furnace provides in a given time. Typical residential furnaces range from 35,000 – 100,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units). For reference, one BTU is equal to the heat output of lighting one match.
|Square Feet||BTUs Needed|
|700 – 1,000||18,000|
|1,000 – 1,200||21,000|
|1,200 – 1,400||23,000|
|1,400 – 1,500||24,000|
|1,500 – 2,000||30,000|
|2,000 – 2,500||34,000|
Also, the following can affect the efficiency of your unit’s heating and cooling abilities and will change the number of BTUs required in your unit:
- High ceilings – increase BTUs x 10%
- Hotter climates– increase BTUs x 10%
- Number of occupants – increase BTUs x 10% for each additional person in a room
- Sun exposure levels – increase BTUs x 10% or decrease x 10% if there is no sun exposure
- Kitchens – increase BTUs x 600
Tonnage will increase the price by about $300 to $400 per extra ton of cooling. ACs are sized in “tonnage,” which measures the amount of cooling the unit can provide in an hour. Typically, residential ACs range from 1-ton units to 5-ton units (half sizes included, i.e., 2.5 tons). In general, purchase according to 1,000 square feet per ton.
The brand you choose for your home and what it costs varies widely. Name brands can cost much more than a brand you’ve never heard of, but the name brand sometimes manufactures the no-name brand. For instance, the Goodman and Bryant air-conditioning systems use the same internal parts that Amana and Carrier use, but the Goodman and Bryant air conditioners cost less.
All new appliances are assigned a SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), which measures the energy efficiency of all HVAC systems. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient it is at heating and cooling in different temperatures.
The average summer temperature to arrive at the SEER rating is 83 degrees, so to arrive at the correct SEER rating for your area, subtract two points for every 10 degrees over 83. Air conditioners have SEER ratings that range from 14 to 21. If you find a great deal on an AC unit, but its SEER rating is below 13, it's not worth it.
Certain zones have mandatory SEER ratings for mini-split systems.
- Split-system central air conditioners installed in the Southeastern Region of the US must be at least 14 SEER.
- Split-system central air conditioners installed in the Southwestern Region must be a minimum of 14 SEER and 12.2 EER.
- Split-system central air conditioners installed in all other states must continue to be a minimum of 13 SEER.
The harder it is to reach your existing HVAC system, the more it will cost to replace it. A few things that make a system difficult to access are:
- A small attic,
- An attic filled with blown-in insulation,
- A historic home, or
- Your system will require many custom-made pieces.
All those things will add to the cost of your new HVAC system. If any of these conditions exist in your home, talk to your contractor about his/her prices to compensate for these before signing the contract.
There are many types of ductwork, but the most common is round. It carries the cold air from the outside unit and delivers it to the rooms in your home. If there are holes or rips in the ductwork, it’s allowing that cold air to escape into your attic and not delivering it to your rooms. This cuts down on the efficiency of the system.
HVAC Permit Cost
The cost of permits to install your HVAC system runs from $250 to $400. Check with your city’s planning and zoning office to see if you are required to have a permit before work can begin. A contractor who tells you a permit is not necessary when it actually is, is placing you in jeopardy. The city might require you to remove any installed equipment at your own expense if it was installed without a permit.
HVAC Labor Rates
The national average hourly rate for HVAC service is $50 to $75 per hour on average or about 40% to 50% of the cost of the HVAC unit. Depending on the complexity of your job, you can have any combination of apprentice, journeyman, or master technicians working for you.
Most HVAC jobs take 1 – 5 days. For a job of low complexity, where the old HVAC is being replaced by new equipment, the average range is between 6 to 10 hours for one technician and one laborer. Adding new duct work could add another 1 – 3 days depending on complexity and ease of access.
HVAC System Upgrades
HVAC Zoning System Cost
An HVAC zoning system costs $2,500 to $3,500 to install but can save you money on energy bills. A zoned system will regulate the air temperature in each zone of your home, and each zone has an air-handling system. For instance, the bedrooms may be in one zone to keep them cooler later at night while not keeping the living room and kitchen cool while everyone is sleeping.
HVAC Variable Speed Fan Cost
The average cost to install a variable-speed HVAC unit is about $4,000 to $8,000 more than other units. Rather than having a fan go the same speed all the time, a variable speed fan will blow however hard it’s needed to maintain the desired temperature. This means it will require a different type of motor, and it will raise the cost of your HVAC system, but it can save you money on energy bills over the long run.
Cost To Add Humidifier To HVAC
The average cost to add a humidifier to your HVAC unit is $100 to $300. If you live in a dry climate, a humidifier attached to your HVAC system can make your home a more comfortable place—a little moisture in the air can reduce allergy problems, help your skin feel better, reduce static shock, and protect your wood furniture.
HVAC UV Light Installation Cost
The average cost to install a UV light for an HVAC system is $400 to $800 depending on your location. Ultraviolet lights (UV lights) kill germs, bacteria, fungus, viruses, and pathogens. By installing them in your HVAC system, germs and the like will be killed before they enter the airstream entering your home, thus improving your indoor air quality.
Heating and Cooling Systems Prices
Heating and cooling units vary enormously in type based on the building and construction type. Whether it's residential or commercial, or if it's a mobile home versus a 2,500 square foot home.
New Construction HVAC Cost
New construction HVAC installation costs $1.75 to $2 per square foot. You’ll also pay up to $1,500 to $4,000 to install the new ductwork. Because all the rough-in ductwork is already in place, the HVAC technician doesn’t have to go in behind walls and into attics to install the system properly.
|Square Feet||Average Cost|
|1,000||$1,750 – $2,000|
|1,200||$2,100 – $2,400|
|1,500||$2,625 – $3,000|
|2,000||$3,500 – $4,000|
|2,500||$4,375 – $5,000|
|3,000||$5,250 – $6,000|
HVAC System Cost Per Square Foot
An HVAC system cost is $15 to $18 per square foot for a two-pipe set up (hot and cold water using the same pipe both ways). A four-pipe set up (hot and cold with their own pipes both ways) will run $18 to $21 per square foot for residential dwellings. Most contractors will not quote you by the square foot, and ductwork is based on linear feet—the distance the ductwork has to travel from the unit to each room and through each vent to the outside of the house.
Mobile Home HVAC Systems Prices
Replacing the HVAC system in a mobile home costs less at $1,850 – $2,450 and is quite different than installing one in a stick-built house. The components are smaller and configured specifically for the manufactured home. An HVAC system built for a standard home will not work in a manufactured home and could be dangerous.
HVAC Split System Cost
A split HVAC system costs $7,400 for an average family home. Costs can go as high as $16,000 if you add on all the extras. Split-systems are most popular type of HVAC system with one unit outside (in the shade), connected to the unit inside. Thus, it’s called a “split” system.
Rooftop HVAC Cost
A rooftop HVAC unit costs between $5,500 and $11,000. This practice is no longer common, as most people don’t want to see that on top of their home, but it was quite popular in the last third of the twentieth century.
Alternative HVAC Systems
|Attic Fans||$31 – $309|
|Electronic Baseboard Heaters||$50 – $97|
|Radiant Heating||$100 – $135|
Commercial HVAC Costs
Installing a commercial HVAC system in a recreational building runs from $17 to $22 per square foot, and in an office building it costs from $15 to $23 per square foot. A commercial HVAC system starts at $4,000. It is quite a bit larger than a residential HVAC system and typically delivers air to more rooms and a much larger area than the smaller home HVAC units.
Energy Efficiency & High-Efficiency HVAC
Even the lowest SEER rating will give you an efficient HVAC system. A system rated with higher SEER numbers is considered high efficiency and will save you a considerable amount in energy bills, but the system itself is much more expensive. If you are currently in the market to upgrade your system, it’s possible to save 50% on energy costs if you install a SEER rating of 16 instead of the eight you’ve had for a while.
Also, consider installing a smart thermostat from Nest, Ecobee, or Honeywell to help regulate heating and cooling cycles to improve energy efficiency.
Energy Star Certification
Energy Star products have the backing of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ensuring that these products/appliances deliver better indoor air quality, protect our climate, and save money, as well as energy. A home or business can receive a certification if all systems are built using Energy Star products, and federal and local rebates are offered on specific Energy Star units.
Insulating ductwork can help your HVAC system work more efficiently, which keeps your home cooler (or warmer) and saves you money on energy costs. It can also help avoid the problems inherent with cool air passing through warm air and the resulting condensation, which usually occurs. Avoiding the condensation also prevents issues with mold and mildew.
The V in HVAC stands for ventilation and is a significant component of your system. Without adequate ventilation, there is no fresh air, and the air you do have becomes uncomfortable. At worst, lack of ventilation can trap toxins in the unit that will then blow into your home, making people sick.
HVAC Maintenance Cost
Scheduling a regular HVAC tune-up costs $50 to $200 and should be performed yearly. HVAC maintenance contracts cost $150 to $300 per year, and you’ll get an annual maintenance visit, one included service call, a discount on parts, and usually some other benefits.
DIY Maintenance Every 2 – 3 Months
- Replace the filter.
- Seal air leaks in ducts.
- Maintain a 2-foot clearance around the unit and clear any debris.
- Clean the indoor evaporator coil, drain pipe, and evaporator trap with a garden-hose spray.
- Replace or adjust your thermostat.
HVAC Tax Credits & Rebates
HVAC companies will often offer incentives for purchasing their associated brands, and they also offer attractive financing terms. For instance, Lennox offers a $1,700 rebate which covers some of the higher-end options in HVAC systems, such as a zoned system.
Many local energy providers offer rebates or discounts on energy efficient usage. Find rebates, incentives, and even financing for energy projects. For example, United Cooperative Services in Texas will give you a $100 rebate just for giving your HVAC a tune-up.
If you install systems in your home that use renewable energy such as solar panels, wind turbines, solar-powered water heaters, and many others, you may be eligible for a tax credit. For example, you can get a 30% federal credit for installing solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), or fuel cells using renewable fuels.
Best HVAC System Brands
In general, the best HVAC systems range in cost from $1,050 to $1,750. Brands like Bryant, Goodman, and Coleman tend to provide excellent value to consumers.
HVAC Unit Price Comparison
|Brand||Average AC Unit Prices||Average Gas Furnace Prices|
|Rheem / Ruud||$1,210||$1,100|
HVAC Brand Comparison
|Rheem / Ruud||$2,126||
Base Limited Warranty
Registered Limited Warranty
Optional Extended Warranty
Affinity Split System AC units and Heat Pumps
LX Split System AC units and Heat Pumps
|Rheem / Ruud||
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does It Cost To Install Dampers In HVAC?
The average cost to install HVAC power dampers is $85 to $175 for round branch ducts and between $150 to $325 for rectangular dampers on large trunks.
Should I Replace My Air Conditioner and Furnace At The Same Time?
Replacing both your furnace and AC at the same time ensures compatibility and the most energy efficient system. However, most furnaces have a lifespan of 15 to 30 years, and AC units have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, so you may have a good 10 years left before needing to replace the furnace.
How Long Does an HVAC System Last?
The Department of Energy recommendation is to replace your HVAC system every 10 to 15 years to have the most energy efficient system available. Each component has a different lifespan:
|Furnace||15 – 30|
|AC Unit||15 – 20|
|Heat Pump||10 – 20|
When Should You Replace Your HVAC System?
You should replace your HVAC system if:
- Your AC is older than 10 years old, and the HVAC repair bill would be more than 30% of the cost of a new AC unit.
- Your power bills keep going up and up.
- Your house is dusty, and the air quality seems poor.
- You can’t maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.
- Odd smells and sounds are emanating from the units.
Getting HVAC Quotes
Before you sign a contract, get 3 to 5 quotes from reputable HVAC contractors and choose the best one. It’s never a good idea to select the lowest quote as they may be unlicensed or inexperienced.
- Don’t accept a quote from a contractor who didn’t come out to your home to give an accurate bid.
- Make sure the quote you do accept comes from a contractor who is licensed, bonded, and insured.
- Check online reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
- Choose a company that has been installing HVAC systems for at least five years.
- Choose the best warranty on labor.
- Make sure the system that has been recommended for your home is the correct size, and it doesn’t have more add-ons than you need.
Tips to Save Money
- Be careful with HVAC change-outs.
While a change-out may be the cheaper option, it’s not always the best solution. Many contractors push this solution because it’s a quick and easy job for them. If you choose a change-out, make sure your ductwork is in excellent condition.
- Asbestos Removal
If your contractor finds asbestos in your home, you must hire an asbestos removal company to get rid of it. In some states, it is against the law to have anyone else do it. If it’s not done right, it can be dangerous to your health. Protect your home and hire the professional. Asbestos removal costs about $500 – $1,000.
- Select a maximum of 16 SEER units in most scenarios.
Installing appliances with a SEER number higher than 16 can significantly increase the cost. The 16 rating is sufficient for saving on your power bill.
- Tonnage will increase the price by about $300 – $400 per extra ton of cooling.
Just be sure you purchase the correct size system for your home, and you won’t be spending this extra money.
- Look for a company that does residential and commercial HVAC.
Technicians who work in both residential and commercial applications will have the most knowledge and experience.
- Be careful of dishonest HVAC contractors.
It can be hard to know who is honest and dishonest, but in general, if a bid is substantially lower than all the other bids, stay away from it. Proposals prepared by reputable companies will come within a similar range of each other.
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