2021 HVAC Installation and Replacements Costs

By Ian | Sep. 11, 2020 8:33 am PST

furnace troubleshooting interactive photo

A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is essential to a comfortable home or work environment. An HVAC system refers to the various appliances and parts needed to maintain proper temperatures and promote good air quality in an indoor space.

The primary difference between an HVAC system and your standard air conditioner (AC) is that an HVAC system includes tools for both heating and cooling an area. In contrast, a regular AC only incorporates the technology to cool down a space.

There are many different parts to an HVAC system, including the exhaust outlets, air ducts, filters, electrical components, and any units outside the building. Because there are many moving parts to this important and necessary system, there are a lot of costs involved.

Not only are you buying the units to have installed (such as the air conditioner, gas or electric furnace, heat pump), but there are also labor costs associated with the installation or replacement.

Knowing what these costs are ahead of time can help you budget for the installation and eventual replacement of these items.

What is the Average Cost of HVAC Installation?

HVAC system installation commonly includes the ductwork, a central air conditioner and gas furnace, and can cost anywhere from around $5,000 to $10,000.

There are three ways to have an HVAC system installed:

  • Change-out HVAC installation
  • HVAC installation with ductwork
  • HVAC installation with add-ons

Change-Out HVAC Installation

This installation package is the most basic and only takes one day to complete. It’s typically done when you have to replace HVAC system but the ductwork is okay. A change-out installation includes a central air conditioner and a new furnace, which costs between $4,820 – $9,350.

HVAC Installation with Ductwork

This type of installation includes ductwork and is used if the home is switching to a forced-air system from radiant heat. You might also add ductwork if your current ducting is inadequate.

This job is much more involved than a change-out, and takes three to five days to complete. Ductwork adds cost to the job, making the approximate total ranging at around $1,500 to $12,500.

HVAC Installation with Add-Ons

You can add additional features to your HVAC system, including a zoning system, thermostat, variable speed fan, whole-home humidifiers or dehumidifiers, air cleaners, and ultraviolet lighting.

You can also choose to have different cooling and heating systems installed for different zones of the house, which can cost anywhere from $400 to $13,000. The project can take as long as a week to complete.

Some of these systems are on the lower end of the price spectrum, such as an attic fan that runs from $400 to $900, and some are much higher in price, like radiant heating, which costs between $1,800 to $6,000.

What is the Average Cost of HVAC Replacement?

As with any piece of equipment, there will be a time when a replacement is necessary. Sometimes, an entire HVAC system needs to be replaced, or you may only have to replace a single component.

To install a new air conditioning unit, it ranges from $3,800 to $7,500, whereas replacing a furnace ranges from $2,600 to $6,300. If you need to replace a heat pump, it costs around $4,100 to $7,200, and a boiler replacement ranges from $3,500 to $7,700. In most cases, it can be much more cost-effective to replace these components at a packaged rate if that option is available.

One of the biggest replacement projects involves HVAC ductwork. You might find yourself in a situation where your HVAC system is in OK shape, but the ductwork has been damaged or is not working properly and must be replaced. If you need to replace your entire HVAC ductwork, the cost is around $500 to $2,000. However, if only a particular section needs to be replaced, you can pay about $10 to $20 per linear foot.

What are the Factors Affecting HVAC System Costs?

Of course, costs will vary according to the type of unit(s), specifically the brand and its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating and any advanced technology or features. You also need to consider the size of your home or the building where the HVAC system is being used and how old it is. An older home or place of business might need additional work done in or around the building that can affect the functionality of the HVAC system.

Another factor affecting the final cost of your HVAC system installation or replacement plans is the number of zones in the building. If you have a ductless HVAC system, the building can essentially be split into “zones” based on each area’s cooling and heating needs. This means each zone will need its own equipment to control the air in that specific space. If you choose to create various zones, you’ll need multiple sets of air-handling equipment for each zone. A completely new zone system could cost $7,500 to $12,500.

Not only does this cause a cost increase for materials and appliances, but it also increases the installation time. More equipment and more time equal higher costs.

Some cities also require a permit to install an HVAC system, so be sure to check with your planning and zoning office before committing to this type of project.

It’s always a good idea to get an estimate from a few different HVAC specialists or use an online cost estimator tool before making the final decision for your HVAC system project.

Keep in mind that R-22 phase out may also impact costs. R-22 is the old standard for residential air conditioners, and in 2020, it will no longer be produced or imported in the United States. Although you are not required to stop using R-22 air conditioners nor replace existing equipment, R-22 supplies will be more limited and costs to service equipment with R-22 may rise. If you do have an older system, keep in mind you’ll need to switch to more ozone-friendly refrigerants when it’s time to replace your unit.

What are the Benefits of an HVAC System?

Although it may seem like a costly project for your home or business, the long list of pros makes it worth the investment. There are a lot of benefits to having a modern HVAC system rather than just an air conditioner. For one, it is a major energy-saver and, thus, is better for the environment. This efficient use of energy also saves you money in the long run, so those initial installation costs might not seem as bad.

Advancements in technology allow us to have more energy-efficient devices, as well as higher-quality, longer-lasting materials. An HVAC system also allows air to move more freely, evenly distributed, and consistently. Another positive is that, as mentioned, an HVAC not only cools your space down when it’s hot out but also warms your space during those chillier months. No matter what the weather is like outside, your indoor space will be your desired temperature.

Lastly, investing in a modern, up-to-date HVAC system in your home or any building that you own will increase its value and give you a higher return on investment should you decide to sell at some point. Buyers will be attracted to the idea that they will not have to spend money on installing an HVAC system.

Your Heating and Cooling Experts

Are you ready to install an HVAC system, or is it time to replace one or more components? Sears Home Services is here to find all of the equipment and parts needed to get the job done. We offer flexible scheduling and protection plans, so reach out to one of our HVAC experts today.

You can also take advantage of our HVAC Savings Program, where every paid HVAC maintenance and repair service earns you dollar-for-dollar savings toward your next HVAC replacement. The best part is that your credits never expire so that you can work with us with confidence.

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