How Much Does HVAC Installation or Replacement Cost on Average?

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Heating. Ventilation. Air Conditioning… Regardless of where you live, most homeowners require a well-maintained HVAC system.

These heating and cooling systems keep your home comfortable in all types of extreme and moderate temperatures year-round, summer, fall autumn and winter. Upgrading your system can even help you save 40% on energy costs

Many homeowners question whether to go with replacing their HVAC system in whole, sometimes in parts (depending on what’s broken) or just a completely new unit installation. This brings up questions relating to the cost of installing or replacing an HVAC system in your home.  

Check out this helpful guide we’ve put together on HVAC installation costs, tips, and more!

Reasons You May Need an HVAC Repair or Replacement

In homes older than 12 years old, the HVAC system may be outdated and not performing as best as it should or could. The average lifespan of these systems is about 12-15 years, depending on how well it was maintained, the weather in the area and the quality of the unit itself. After around 8-10 years, many systems begin to act up or break down. BUT their lifespan can be prolonged as long as you stay on-top of them with regular maintenance. 

If you think there’s just no hope left for your unit, or you just keep dumping money into maintenance and repairs, maybe it’s time to replace the unit. But before you spend the thousands of dollars new units cost, there are a few key signs that you should check for to see if you really need an HVAC replacement.

Be on The Lookout for Inconsistent Heating & Cooling Patterns

Some of the common causes of inconsistency in function could be the following, but, keep in mind that it’s not limited to the following and you should always call an HVAC professional to inspect your unit.

  • Improper sealing can result in heat loss for your home.
  • Low coolant levels may also be impacting airflow.
  • An HVAC system that makes loud noises, leaks, or cycles more than it should.  

A faulty heating unit can become a safety hazard as well. A cracked heat exchanger may release carbon monoxide into the home. Unreliable heating units also have the potential to start a fire. 

If you’re experiencing frequent maintenance issues, it may be time for a new HVAC. In this case, it is more cost-efficient to replace the entire system. 

Considering a Replacement vs. Full-Installation

Sometimes your HVAC system may only need a tune-up. Yet, if the system is acting up a lot, you may need a full installation. A full HVAC system replacement includes central air conditioning, heating, and ductwork. 

There are many benefits of installing a new high-quality HVAC system in your home. These models are more energy-efficient and lower heating and cooling bills. They are also better for the environment and boost your home’s value.   

New HVAC systems are backed by a warranty as well. This way, you’re covered if anything should break down the road.  

How Much Does an HVAC Replacement Cost?

An HVAC systems price will depend on the size of your home and the area you live in. Other factors include the brand you choose and how efficient the product is (SEER ratings). Here is a list of some of the best heating and cooling units to consider. 

A new HVAC system costs an average of $4,000 to $13,000. This HVAC cost estimate is for an average-sized home in a mild climate.

These HVAC prices include parts and labor installation costs. It’s always best to leave the installation in the hands of a professional. Doing so ensures everything is installed the proper way and up to code.   

The size of your HVAC system is important for maintaining the right humidity levels. A large-enough unit also ensures your system is not constantly running. 

A larger HVAC system will likely cost more for the unit and labor. Installers use BTUs to determine which size heating unit is best for your home. 

Hot climates, extra sun exposure, and high ceilings all increase the amount of BTUs you need. Having a large family may also call for a bigger unit.  

Air conditioning unit prices are determined by their tonnage. This relates to how much cooling the system puts out in an hour. 

HVAC Installation, With Ductwork

Expect to fall at a higher price range when new ductwork is involved. This is often the case when installing a new HVAC system.

Is your current HVAC unit outdated and underperforming? Then chances are the ductwork is in a poor condition as well. Ductwork can become clogged, unsealed, or damaged over time. 

Ductwork tends to last no longer than 15 years. Updating your ductwork makes it better insulated and more efficient. It takes a few days to complete a full HVAC system with ductwork.  

HVAC Change-Out

A system change-out involves only replacing the heating and cooling unit. This is done without updating any of the ductwork. Pricing falls on the lower end and it takes about a day to complete this job.  

Extra Costs to Consider

You may be subject to added costs when installing extra features for your HVAC system. This includes a new air handler, zoning system, variable speed fan, or thermostat installation. A whole-house purifier or humidifier will also boost costs. 

Zoning systems help to control the temperature in different zones within your home. These use an air handling system to set rooms at different temperatures during the day or night. 

Variable speed fans use a different style of motor to control the fan’s speed. This helps to better control the temperature of your home. Zoning systems and variable speed fans will add a few thousand dollars to your HVAC cost. 

Be sure to ask about any permitting costs in your HVAC installation cost estimator. These will depend on where you live and can run you a couple of hundred dollars extra.  

A more difficult job may also affect pricing. This often relates to how hard the HVAC unit is to access. This includes older homes or those with tiny attic spaces or complex insulation.

The removal of lead paint or asbestos also boosts job costs. Expect to pay more for jobs that need any electrical or plumbing work as well.  

Many popular HVAC brands are announcing slight price increases for the year 2020. Homeowners can expect an increase of up to 7%. This price update includes brands like Carrier, Lennox, and Amana. 

HVAC Repairs

Repair service costs depend on the parts and tools needed. Labor rates tend to average from $50 to $150 per hour plus extra for parts. Repair costs will also depend on if your heating system is electric, gas, or oil. 

Frequent repairs can become a big investment for a homeowner. In the end, it’s often more cost-efficient to upgrade a faulty unit with a new HVAC system. 

Installing a new system can also save you money on your taxes. Some states provide rebates for homes that upgrade to more energy-efficient HVAC models. 

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Tips for Extending the Life of Your HVAC System

Proper maintenance can prolong the life of your HVAC system. This works to keep it at peak performance all year long.  

Changing Your Air Filters

One smart tip is to change your air filters regularly. Swapping these out every 3 months is ideal. 

This improves your home’s air quality and keeps your HVAC system running smoothly.  Dust, dander, and pollen often circulate throughout the home, especially with closed windows. New filters protect your family from respiratory issues and allergens.  

Scheduling a Tune-Up

Regular HVAC tune-ups by a certified professional are important. This provides a full inspection to ensure your system is working well.

Experts recommend yearly inspections, even for a new HVAC system. Yet, it can be even more helpful to have this done in the spring and fall. This helps you better prepare to use your air in the summer and heat in the winter.

These maintenance checks are cost-efficient and help to avoid big issues later on. They make it less likely the unit will breakdown in mid-summer or winter when you need it most. 

A trained professional is able to find a blocked airflow, clogged drain, or loose blower. Not getting these items fixed can create bigger and more expensive issues later on. 

Annual Duct Cleanings

Having your ducts cleaned every year is another smart maintenance tip. This is helpful for making sure your system is running as it should. A trained eye may also notice issues with sealing, clogs, or damage to the ducts.  

Upgrading to Smarter Home Technology 

Smart thermostats can also improve the efficiency and lifespan of your HVAC unit. These tools learn your usage habits to help keep your home at the preferred temperature. They help homeowners to use less energy and save you money on utilities. 

Finding the Best HVAC Installation and Repair Professionals 

Not having your HVAC system run at peak performance can be a huge issue. This is when many homeowners seek HVAC installation or repair services. It comes down to cost factors when choosing to replace or install a new HVAC system in your home.

In most cases, it’s most cost-efficient to upgrade to a new system. This will create a more energy-efficient home with fewer maintenance needs. You’ll also find yourself saving money on heating and cooling costs. 

Availability is key when selecting the right HVAC repair technicians or installers. Be sure to choose a company that promises 24/7 emergency services. They should also offer fair and flat-rate pricing. 

Interested in HVAC repair or new installation to update your home? Learn more about how Aiken HVAC’s heating and cooling services can help. 

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John Daner

HVAC Technician with 12+ years experience in the field.