Reveal the average HVAC replacement costs in your region
Leverage our free service to discover local contractors' rates on HVAC installation & replacement. With a detailed price breakdown for your project, you'll be able to allocate the right sum for the materials and labor while avoiding cost overrun.
A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is an essential home element responsible for a comfortable environment, clean air, and adequate humidity level. HVAC keeps your premise warm on the coldest winter days and cool when it's scorching sun outside. If your system is poorly maintained and performs not as efficiently as it should be, consult an HVAC professional to understand whether to repair or replace it. Most units are meant to serve for 10-15 years with adequate upkeep.
The national average installation cost of a new HVAC system ranges from $5.400 to $12.600 or $25 to $55 per square foot. Nevertheless, one should consider multiple factors like the type of the system, its brand, size, and capacity to get a more precise estimate. This article will help you delve deeper into an HVAC system's price formation process. It's aimed at removing the stress of installing or replacing a unit in your house. Once you understand possible project expenses, you won't be afraid to make a mistake or go beyond the budget.
When to replace an HVAC unit?
As HVAC units get closer to the end of their service life, they become less efficient while the cost of their repairs rises. Sometimes, replacing a unit with a new one appears more reasonable than investing in repairs.
Here is when an HVAC system replacement is the only reasonable solution:
Investing in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system repairs does not make sense if they take up to 30% of the overall cost of a new unit. Getting a modern, energy-efficient system will save you the trouble of dealing with recurring costly repairs. Besides, this investment will bring you rewards in enhanced comfort, fresher air, and lower utility bills.
An HVAC unit's age
According to the US Department of Energy, a basic HVAC unit should be replaced every 15 years to ensure proper temperature and air circulation. Upgrading your old HVAC system or one of its parts, you reduce your carbon footprint while saving on electricity.
Non consistent temperature
If the air pumped by your HVAC is too dry or humid, the system does not cope with the load. The same goes for non-consistent temperature. If the weather outside leads to temperature adjustments inside the home, your HVAC system requires an upgrade.
New or adequately maintained heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems work almost silently. That is why if you have odd sounds like squealing or grinding, consider calling a professional to assess the extent of the problem and decide if a replacement is required.
What are the national average HVAC installation costs?
If your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system failed, the time is ripe to replace it. Whether it's a scorching sun outside or a bitter cold, you may want to get your HVAC unit replaced as quickly as possible. And that's when knowing the up-to-date installation price quotes won't go amiss.
The cost of the unit itself may range from $4.850 to $9.600, including a new furnace and AC. Installing a new system with ductwork requires higher spending, from $7.000 to $14.000 on average. The labor cost to install an HVAC unit starts at $1.250 and may go up to $3.450, depending on the unit type, size, and installation complexity.
See the table below to learn how the HVAC installation cost varies per square footage of the premise where it's meant to be installed.
$3.800 - $4.550
$5.700 - $6.800
$7.100 - $8.400
$8.600 - $9.000
$9.200 - $10.000
What factors can affect the HVAC replacement cost?
When breaking down the average cost of installing a new HVAC system, it is essential to enumerate the factors affecting it. There is no one-size-fits-all estimation formula as each particular situation is unique and requires an individual approach. Below you will find the list of the cost-affecting factors you need to consider calculating your spending on the new system.
HVAC location and accessibility
You will have to spend more on labor if your HVAC system needs to be installed in difficult-to-reach areas like the attic or basement. All HVAC systems that must be placed in hard-to-reach areas require higher replacement costs. The same goes for older homes, as ductwork modification is a must here.
One of the biggest determiners of the HVAC system's price is its size. The higher the BTU of the AC unit or furnace, the higher bill you will pay for their installation. For instance, a 3-ton AC costs around $2.600 while a 5-ton one costs $4.250. The size of your HVAC system should correlate with the size of your house. Bigger is not always better. That is why don't hurry up to invest in a heating or cooling unit of higher capacity if the area of your premise does not require it.
It's a rule of thumb that high-end brands sell their heating and cooling equipment at much higher costs than mid-range companies that have recently begun their path in the HVAC market. However, not only does the unit cost higher if you deal with lauded brands but its installation and maintenance also require more investment.
The seasonal energy efficiency ratio is the ratio that is used to measure a system's energy efficiency. The higher the SEER, the more money you will save on utility in the long run. HVAC units with a higher SEER rating may cost up to $2.000 more than average options. However, investing in the unit with the highest seasonal energy efficiency ratio makes financial sense if you live in a region with extreme climate conditions.
Home size, age, and construction
The size of the required HVAC unit is determined by the overall square footage of your home. If your 2- or 3-story home has more than 3.000 square footage, you may need a few heating and cooling systems to cover it. The home's construction also impacts the HVAC system choice. High-capacity units are more commonly installed in poor insulated or old houses. Newly-built homes are cooled and heated quicker. That means a ductless mini-split HVAC unit might be enough to install in them. Other criteria affecting the choice of a heating and cooling system's capacity include basement, roof, attic, and foundation insulation.
The required size of a central air conditioner depends on the climate conditions in your region. A home in Texas or Florida would need an AC unit with high capacity to keep a comfortable temperature inside, no matter the hot summers. And on the contrary, a home in the northern US would need an HVAC unit with high heating capacity combined with a furnace.
Look at the table below to find the correlation between central air conditioning replacement cost and size.
Central AC size
British Thermal Unit
It is an essential part of the HVAC system that transports heated or cooled air through the home. The ramification of the system, its size, material, and accessibility can affect the overall cost of a new HVAC system installation. You will also be charged extra to have the ducts encased and hidden.
The cost of the heat pumps and furnaces drastically vary depending on the fuel type needed for their work. Electric-powered options are more affordable than those that require oil and gas.
See the table below to find out how heating unit installation costs vary depending on the fuel source.
$1.900 - $4.800
$2.300 - $6.250
$2.700 - $6.500
$1.650 - $3.315
Wood & coal
$2.450 - $5.000
What hidden factors raise the HVAC installation cost?
Some cost components are not included in the initial HVAC estimate, but you may want to consider them for a more precise budget prediction. Ask your HVAC contractor about these factors before signing a contract.
Most local governments around the country require homeowners to get a permit before installing or replacing an HVAC system. Contractors should work following the set building norms to ensure the system is up to code. Paying the fees for getting permits is on you. They depend on the size and capacity of a new HVAC unit and may range from $100 to $450.
The new furnace and AC cost may rise if any additional work is required. For instance, you may need to remove old HVAC equipment. Depending on local disposal and freon removal fees, this service will cost you $250 on average. Electrical, plumbing, or framing works will also cost you extra.
Adding zones to HVAC
Depending on the size and number of zones you want to add, this service will cost you from $2.000 to $4.700. A zoning system is an addition that requires installing an advanced thermostat to monitor the air quality and temperature in each dedicated zone.
What are the average HVAC installation rates?
The complexity of installation, type, and size of the furnace and AC unit raise the labor cost of installing an HVAC system. Besides, labor rates may vary depending on the location. The national average HVAC installation cost ranges from $75 to $170 per hour. An HVAC repair service can cost between $150 and $450, depending on the amount and complexity of the job. A minimal fee you should expect to pay for calling out a professional is $80.
Look at the table below to find the average HVAC unit repair costs.
$750 – $3.100
$200 – $350
Fan or air blower
$400 – $670
$500 – $1.200
$140 – $620
Types of HVAC units and costs to replace them
The budget needed to replace an HVAC unit depends on its type, size, cooling capacity, seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and add-ons like air purifying and humidification systems. On top of that, additional spending can involve installing or replacing ductwork, drains, and control wiring. The home's zones to cool and heat also affect the costs of a system installation. The final estimate will be higher if your house requires multiple types of conditioning within different rooms.
Here are the popular combinations of HVAC systems and the average costs you should expect to spend on their installation:
Heat pump + Air handler system.
A matched system made up of a heat pump and an air handler is typically installed outside and works to cool
and heat your premise. The air accumulated by this kit is cooled by means of a refrigerant, which transports
hot air outdoors. The air heating is performed using electric power; no fuel is burnt for this purpose. The
role of an air handler is simple - it promotes cool and warm air circulation through the home through an air blower.
This variation of an HVAC system saves a lot of money on electricity, keeping an optimal temperature in the home regardless of the season. With this system, you don't need to worry about the uniformity of your home's cooling and heating. An air handler equipped with a blower fan ensures even circulation of air through the whole premise.
The average cost of an air source heat pump and an indoor air handler ranges from $3.600 to $5.200. The more handler units are required for your home, the higher the overall installation cost.
Electric furnace + AC system
Furnaces that work on electricity rather than fuel are good for mild southern climates where the temperature never
drops below zero. A system consisting of an electric furnace for heating and an electric unit for cooling requires
ductwork to push heated or cooled air throughout the home. These systems may vary in efficiency (from 13 to 19 SEER)
and capacity (1.5 to 5 tons), which affects their final installation quote.
The average cost of a new furnace and AC starts at $1.926 and goes up to $3.677, depending on the unit's capacity and brand.
Furnace + Split AC system
This HVAC system is made of both an outdoor and indoor unit. An outdoor cabinet is equipped with a compressor to
generate cool air and a contender to generate heated air. An indoor cabinet, in its turn, comes with an evaporator coil
for heating and an air handler for cooling. Indoor and outdoor units are connected by a line set that ensures cold air
transporting to the home.
Depending on the capacity and SEER level of the system, its cost may range from $2.294 to $3.710 without labor.
Boiler + AC system.
This combined system has a boiler component that makes it stand out in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
market. A boiler connects radiators and pipes through the house to distribute heated water. An air conditioning system
can accompany it to cover both home's cooling and heating needs. You can select three AC options to install with a
boiler - ductless mini-split systems, window units, and ducted air conditioning systems. They all vary in price, either
rising or dropping your HVAC installation spending.
The national average cost that is charged for installing a merged system of boiler and an AC system ranges from $2.150 to $3.270.
Here are the primary HVAC system elements and the average costs of their installation:
Ductless mini-split HVAC unit
Mini-splits are commonly used in multi-story homes with non-ducted heating systems. Besides, they can become a way out
for premises where installing distribution ductwork for a central air-conditioner is impossible. Mini-splits take little
space and don't require full-sized air ducts to operate. They involve installing an individual fan and evaporator unit for
each room to ensure a uniform distribution of cool and heat air. It promotes better temperature regulation and smarter
The national average cost of a ductless mini-split system ranges from $3.000 to $13.450. Factors like the system's brand, local labor costs, and home size may affect the final estimate.
Electric heat pumps are appliances that do the same job as furnaces and air conditioners, accumulating heat and cold air
inside the house. These units are installed outside and work by pulling heat or cold from the outdoor air and transferring
it indoors at the required temperature. A heat pump maintains a comfortable temperature inside the home all year round
and can be used as a stand-alone heating and cooling system if you live in a climate with mild winters.
The cost you should expect to pay for a heat pump ranges from $4.100 to $7.100, including material and labor. The prices of these units vary drastically, depending on their type, efficiency level, and component quality.
Large appliances that generate heat through burning coal, wood, gas, or other fuel types are called furnaces.
They're equipped with a blower to distribute heated air into different home areas, maintaining a comfortable indoor
temperature in cold months. The gas, be it a natural one or LPG, enters the furnace through the pipe and then burns,
warming the air that gets into the heat exchanger. The level of heating is determined by the thermostat. Once the set
temperature is reached, the gas valve in the furnace is turned off.
A new furnace can cost from $3.000 to $9.300, depending on its fuel type, energy efficiency, and sophistication of the equipment. The size and location of your home also matter.
If you want to understand what a boiler is, just imagine a closed vessel in which the water is heated to the point it's
turned into steam. Its primary working principle is converting water into steam using heat energy. The boiler produces
hot water for different purposes, including heating appliances and water supply. It can be powered by fuel or electricity.
The last option is more common for boilers of a small capacity.
There are three primary boiler types - water, steam, and combi. They differ by working principle, functionality, and capacity.
A combination model costs the most, but it offers more extended functionality, allowing to eliminate a separate water heater installation. The fuel source and the way of its conversion also contribute to the boiler cost. Gas boilers are considered to be more pricey than electrical ones.
Type of boiler
$2.500 to $7.500
Hot water boiler
$1.500 to $4.500
$4.000 to $8.500
$7.000 to $11.000
An air conditioning system accumulates cold and hot air inside an enclosed space. Some units produce only cooled air,
removing heat and humidity from the indoor environment. Other hybrid options combine cooling and heating functions and
can be used either as stand-alone HVAC units or in combination with a furnace or boiler. All air conditioning systems
have fans to allow hot or cold air to circulate through the home. Many Americans install split systems as they're
compact and have more functions than just cooling the premises. They control air quality and humidity, ensuring an
optimal home temperature.
The installation cost of an air conditioning system drastically depends on its type. See the table below for the most popular air conditioners and their average prices.
Cost (including labor)
$1.500 - $4.550
$3.230 - $6.500
$250 - $780
$4.100 - $6.000
Ductwork comprises trunks and pipes that distribute airflow from the heating or cooling system through your home.
This HVAC element sucks the air from throughout the house into the heater or AC, where it is cooled or heated and
pushed back through ducts.
The national average cost to install an HVAC ductwork ranges from $1.900 to $5.800. This cost covers removing existing materials and installing new components.
How to skimp on the HVAC system installation?
HVAC unit replacement is one of the most costly home improvement jobs after installing a new roof. This service is associated with multiple additional spending that can raise the overall project estimate. However, getting the cheapest unit to cut costs is not the best way to go. There are other effective options to save without compromising quality.
Leverage tax credits and rebates
If your new heating and cooling system possesses a high energy-saving rating and is approved by Energy Star, you can qualify for a local tax incentive. Check the database of state incentives for renewables and efficiency to see the rebates available in your region.
Pick a system of the right size
The size of a unit usually refers to its capacity measured in BTU. Getting either too large or too small an HVAC system for your home will increase the installation price and make you spend extra on electricity. Consult a professional HVAC installer to pick an optimal-sized system for your house.
Compare installers' quotes
Hiring an HVAC contractor offering the best price-quality ratio is another option to save a good buck on installation. To make this happen, you need to do your research, get multiple estimates and compare them side by side. You can do it with the help of the HomeQuote innovative contractor-matching service. This free platform requires only the initial details about your HVAC project to connect you with proven local specialists.
Avoid high seasons
If you seek the best HVAC system installation offer, consider hiring a pro in early spring or late summer when contractors are not as busy as in late autumn and early summer.
Replace both units simultaneously
Consider replacing the heating and cooling unit at once to avoid paying twice for installation.
Frequently asked questions
How often to replace an HVAC system?
The average service life of modern HVAC systems ranges from 12 to 16 years, depending on their brand, capacity, and maintenance requirements. Nevertheless, it's proven that the average heating and cooling system can provide maximum performance for not more than ten years. If your system performs well, you should replace it at the end of its service life. However, premature replacement is inevitable if the unit does not function as it should.
How much does a new HVAC system cost?
The installation of a new HVAC system with ductwork can range from $7.000 to $16.000. The cost may vary depending on the unit type, brand, size, capacity, and SEER value.
How much does it cost to replace an HVAC system?
The cost to replace a heating and cooling system in 2023 ranges from $5.400 to $12.600. The mid-range price most homeowners pay for a system replacement is $9.000.
How much does install different heating and cooling systems cost?
Average installation cost
$2.750 - $7.650
$3.000 - $9.500
$3.800 - $8.600
$2.400 - $6.150
$2.150 - $8.400
Is a new HVAC unit worth the investment?
An upgrade of a heating and cooling system allows you to save on electricity costs while keeping a comfortable temperature inside your home, no matter the season or the weather outside. Besides, it makes your property more attractive to potential buyers, raising its resale value by up to 7%.