How much does a new HVAC system cost to install or replace?

$5,000 – $11,000 cost to replace an HVAC system
$7,000 – $16,000 cost to install HVAC system with ductwork

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March 15, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 4 expert HVAC installers on HomeGuide.

New HVAC system cost

HVAC replacement costs $5,000 to $11,000, including a new furnace and AC unit. Installing a new HVAC system with ductwork costs $7,000 to $16,000. HVAC unit prices depend on the house size, ductwork length, and the HVAC system size, type, and brand.

New HVAC system cost - chart
New HVAC system cost - chart

New HVAC system cost
Replacement type Average cost installed
HVAC replacement $5,000 – $11,000
HVAC installation with ductwork $7,000 – $16,000
HVAC system with ductwork & add-ons $9,500 – $18,500

Average HVAC replacement cost

The following table shows the average cost to replace an HVAC system.

Average HVAC replacement cost - chart
Average HVAC replacement cost - chart

Average HVAC replacement cost
National average cost $8,000
Minimum cost $2,500
Maximum cost $18,500
Average cost range $5,000 to $11,000

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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Cost to replace HVAC system by unit

Cost to replace HVAC system by unit
HVAC unit Average cost to replace*
Central air conditioner cost $2,500 – $7,500
Ductless mini-split HVAC cost $3,000 – $10,000
Furnace cost $2,000 – $5,400
Heat pump cost $3,800 – $8,200
Geothermal heat pump cost $15,000 – $35,000
Boiler cost $2,200 – $10,000
Baseboard heater cost (each) $400 – $1,200
Radiant floor heating cost $1,500 – $6,000
Whole-house fan cost $600 – $2,300
Window AC unit cost $300 – $1,100

*Including installation labor.

HVAC installation cost estimator

HVAC installation cost estimator - chart
HVAC installation cost estimator - chart

HVAC installation cost calculator
Factor Average cost
HVAC unit $4,000 – $8,000
Installation labor $1,000 – $3,000
Total $5,000 – $11,000

There are three types of HVAC installation packages:

  • An HVAC change-out costs $5,000 to $11,000 and involves replacing the main components without installing new ductwork. A change-out typically takes 1 day. Only opt for a change-out if the ductwork is in excellent condition.
  • An HVAC installation with ductwork costs $7,000 to $16,000 and takes 3 to 5 days. Ductwork lasts 10 to 20 years and typically needs repairs or replacing when upgrading the HVAC system.
  • An HVAC installation with add-ons costs $9,500 to $18,500 and takes 4 to 7 days. Optional add-ons include a zoning system, whole-house humidifier, or UV light filter.

HVAC system cost per square foot

An HVAC system costs $3 to $6 per square foot, including a new furnace and AC unit installation. Replacing an HVAC system for a 2,000 square foot house costs $6,000 to $12,000.

HVAC system cost per square foot
House size (square feet) Average cost to install
1,000 $3,000 – $6,000
1,200 $3,600 – $7,200
1,600 $4,800 – $9,600
2,000 $6,000 – $12,000
2,500 $7,500 – $15,000
3,000 $9,000 – $18,000

Residential HVAC unit cost per ton

HVAC unit prices are $1,000 to $6,000 for the system alone. An average 3-ton HVAC unit costs $1,700 to $5,000. Models with high SEER ratings cost the most upfront but are more energy-efficient and cost less to run.

Residential HVAC unit cost per ton
Size BTU AC unit price AC system cost installed
1.5 Tons 18,000 $1,000 – $3,800 $2,000 – $5,000
2 Tons 24,000 $1,200 – $4,000 $2,500 – $5,500
2.5 Tons 30,000 $1,500 – $4,500 $2,700 – $6,000
3 Tons 36,000 $1,700 – $5,000 $3,000 – $6,500
3.5 Tons 42,000 $1,800 – $5,200 $3,100 – $7,000
4 Tons 48,000 $2,000 – $5,500 $3,500 – $7,500
5 Tons 60,000 $2,500 – $6,000 $4,000 – $8,000

New HVAC system prices by brand

The following table shows HVAC prices by brand and type without installation:

HVAC system prices by brand
Brand AC unit Furnace Heat pump
Amana $1,300 – $4,500 $900 – $2,900 $1,000 – $4,800
American Standard $1,500 – $4,300 $850 – $3,000 $1,500 – $4,500
Bryant $1,400 – $3,500 $800 – $3,400 $1,600 – $4,500
Carrier $2,500 – $5,800 $1,000 – $2,800 $2,100 – $4,900
Coleman $1,300 – $3,500 $800 – $2,000 $1,300 – $4,700
Goodman $1,200 – $3,000 $600 – $3,200 $1,100 – $3,900
Heil $1,400 – $3,000 $1,700 – $2,200 $1,200 – $4,700
Lennox $1,600 – $5,600 $1,400 – $7,500 $2,200 – $5,700
Rheem / Ruud $1,800 – $5,500 $800 – $3,900 $1,400 – $3,800
Trane $1,600 – $5,800 $1,200 – $3,400 $1,800 – $4,200
York $1,400 – $4,700 $800 – $2,000 $1,400 – $3,600

*Installation adds $1,000 to $3,000

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Cost to install HVAC system with ductwork

The cost to install an HVAC system with ductwork is $7,000 to $16,000, depending on if the system includes a separate furnace and AC unit or a heat pump. Most ducts need work when replacing HVAC systems more than 15 years old or when upgrading to bigger or higher-efficiency units.

Cost to install HVAC system with ductwork
Factor Average cost
HVAC unit $4,000 – $8,000
Installation labor $1,000 – $3,000
Ductwork $2,000 – $5,000
Total $7,000 – $16,000

Ductwork replacement costs $1,400 to $5,600, while installing new ductwork costs $2,400 to $6,600.

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Residential HVAC cost for new construction

New construction HVAC costs $1.75 to $2.50 per square foot, depending on the system size and type. New ductwork adds $2,000 to $5,000 to the cost. HVAC for new construction costs less than replacing an existing system because the walls are still open.

Commercial HVAC cost calculator

Installing a commercial HVAC system costs $6,000 to $30,000 or more, depending on the type, building size, and layout. Commercial HVAC pricing is $15 to $30 per square foot on average for office buildings or $17 to $22 per square foot for recreational buildings.

HVAC unit replacement cost factors

The following factors affect the cost to replace an HVAC system:

  • HVAC system size – AC units and furnaces in larger BTU and ton sizes cost more.
  • Efficiency and SEER rating – High-efficiency models with higher SEER ratings cost more than standard efficiency units.
  • Fuel type – Furnace and heat pump connection requirements differ depending on if the system is gas, oil, or electric-powered.
  • Brand – Top brands like Lennox, Carrier, and Trane typically cost more but use higher-quality parts.
  • Location and accessibility – Installation costs more for HVAC systems in difficult-to-access areas like attics and crawlspaces.
  • Thermostat installation costs $140 to $350.
  • Permits for HVAC replacement cost $100 to $250. Permits for new HVAC installations with ductwork cost $250 to $1,500. Contractors include permit fees in the estimate.
  • Removing old HVAC equipment costs $100 to $200, depending on local disposal and freon removal fees.
  • Asbestos removal costs $1,400 to $2,800 on average or $20 to $65 per square foot and may be required in homes built before 1986.
  • New insulation costs $1 to $5 per square foot, depending on the type and location.
  • HVAC repairs cost $150 to $450 on average.

HVAC labor rates

The labor cost to install an HVAC system is $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the home size, furnace and AC unit type and size, and installation complexity. HVAC labor rates are $75 to $150 per hour.

Labor costs more for HVAC installations in areas that are difficult to access, like rooftops, tight crawl spaces, and attics.

Cost of adding zones to HVAC

Adding zones to an HVAC system costs $2,000 to $6,500, depending on the number of zones, features, brand, and thermostat type. A zoning system uses sensors throughout the home and motorized dampers in the ducts that open and close to create separate temperature zones.

Costs to upgrade an HVAC system

The following upgrades are available for HVAC systems:

High-efficiency HVAC prices by SEER

HVAC systems have a minimum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating of 13 to 26, depending on the brand and model. High-efficiency HVAC units with a higher SEER rating cost more upfront but reduce long-term energy costs.

High-efficiency HVAC prices
HVAC efficiency AC unit prices Efficiency
13 – 14 SEER $1,000 – $4,200 Standard efficiency
15 – 16 SEER $1,500 – $5,700 High efficiency
17 – 18 SEER $1,800 – $6,100 High efficiency
19 – 21 SEER $2,500 – $7,500 Very high efficiency
22 – 26 SEER $3,700 – $8,500 Maximum efficiency

High-velocity HVAC system cost

A high-velocity HVAC system costs $3,500 to $15,000+ with installation, depending on the home and system size. Small duct, high-velocity (SDHV) systems use compact, flexible tubing instead of ducts, allowing older homes without room for conventional ductwork to be retrofitted for central air.

High-velocity HVAC systems are quieter, more efficient, and remove more humidity than traditional HVAC units.

Tax credits, rebates, and ways to save money on an HVAC system

New HVAC systems may qualify for tax credits and rebates. Check the Energy Star rebate finder and the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) for available rebates and tax incentives.

Other ways to save money include:

  • Install the new system in the spring or fall when HVAC contractors aren't as busy.
  • Look for dealer promotions and manufacturer's rebates.
  • Replace the heating and cooling systems at the same time to avoid separate installation costs.
  • Only opt for an HVAC change-out if the ductwork is in excellent condition.
  • Get a professional home evaluation to determine the ideal HVAC size. A system that is too large will cost more and use more energy.
  • Before investing in a high-SEER unit, compare the annual energy savings to confirm the unit will pay for itself over time.
  • Select a geothermal heat pump, which is eligible for the federal residential energy-efficient property tax credit through 2023.

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Frequently asked questions

When to replace an HVAC system

Consider replacing instead of repairing an HVAC system if:

  • The HVAC system is more than 10 years old.
  • The repair cost is at least 50% of the price of a new system.
  • The repair cost multiplied by the system's age in years exceeds $5,000.
  • Your energy bills are increasing.
  • The HVAC system can't maintain comfortable temperatures in the home.
  • The home is too dry in winter or too humid in summer.
  • Odd sounds or loud noises coming from the HVAC system.
  • Excessive dust, poor air quality, or musty odors from the system.

Should I replace my furnace and AC at the same time?

Replacing the furnace and AC at the same time minimizes installation costs and ensures compatibility and the most energy-efficient system. Replacing the outdoor AC unit without replacing the indoor furnace blower motor results in lower efficiency and may cause premature system failure.

  • Replace the furnace and air conditioner at the same time if the furnace is over 15 years old or if upgrading to a more efficient AC with a higher SEER rating.
  • Consider replacing only the blower fan motor instead if the furnace is less than 15 years old.

What size HVAC system do I need?

HVAC furnace and air conditioner units are sized separately in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The average home needs:

  • Air conditioner – 16 to 30 BTUs per square foot of living space
  • Furnace – 25 to 50 BTUs per square foot of living space

Hire a licensed contractor to perform a Manual J Load calculation that considers the following factors to determine the ideal HVAC size:

  • Zone, climate, and humidity
  • Square footage and number of stories
  • Home layout and ceiling height
  • Insulation amount and quality
  • Basement, slab, or crawlspace conditions
  • Number, type, and placement of windows
  • Sun exposure or shade
  • Number of people in the home
  • Heat-generating appliances
  • Air conditioner SEER rating and furnace AFUE rating

Does a new HVAC add value to a home?

A new HVAC system only adds value to a home that did not previously have central heat and air conditioning. Replacing an existing HVAC with a new energy-efficient system won't increase a home's value but may appeal to buyers. HVAC systems typically don't add value for homes in colder regions.

Do you tip HVAC installers?

You don't need to tip HVAC installers unless they exceed your expectations. Consider tipping if the installers work in extreme heat or cold or complete the project sooner than expected. HVAC installers appreciate it when homeowners offer drinks or allow the use of a bathroom in the home.

How long does it take to install an HVAC unit?

Installing an HVAC system takes 1 to 2 days on average if using the existing ductwork or 3 to 5 days if installing new ductwork.

How long do HVAC systems last?

HVAC systems last 15 to 25 years on average, depending on the brand and usage. Each component has its own lifespan:

HVAC component Lasts (years)
Furnace 15 – 30
AC Unit 15 – 20
Heat Pump 10 – 20

An HVAC tune-up costs $70 to $200 and prolongs the system's lifespan.

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Getting HVAC system quotes

Before hiring an AC company near you to install a new HVAC system, be sure to:

  • Get at least three estimates to compare.
  • Look for a NATE-certified company with experience installing central HVAC systems.
  • Select an HVAC contractor who will perform a complete home evaluation to assess your heating and cooling needs.
  • Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide and Google.
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business longer than five years.
  • When comparing quotes, confirm they include equipment of the same size and quality.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead for work completed.

Questions to ask HVAC contractors

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Can you provide references?
  • What system size do you recommend?
  • What efficiency rating do you recommend and why?
  • Is my thermostat in the best location for the layout of my home?
  • Can the existing ductwork be used with the new system?
  • Will you inspect my existing ductwork for leaks, mold, and asbestos?
  • How much will it cost to remove my old AC unit and furnace?
  • Does the installation include a new line set?
  • What extra costs should I expect?
  • Which brands do you recommend and why?
  • Are there any local or federal rebates available?
  • How long will it take to install the HVAC system?
  • How long is the warranty, and what does it cover?
  • How long will the system last?
  • Do you offer a maintenance or service plan?

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