If you’re in the HVAC market and you need to know fair prices on HVAC installation cost, this is the place to be.
That being said, if your recent HVAC contractor suggested you needed a whole new HVAC system, always get a second opinion. Sometimes the fix is much smaller than that.
But this article is assuming you’ve done all that, and now you’re searching for the fair price of a new HVAC system and a good professional to help you install it.
Factors in New HVAC Installation Cost
Consider these factors when you’re searching for your new HVAC system.
We did our best to break down average costs of parts and installation to give you an honest estimate. There are some HVAC companies that will try to take advantage of you, and we’re always working to inform you so you can avoid these disreputable companies.
These points are here to guide you to a fair and honest price for your HVAC system.
- The Brand: Like most products, the brand of an HVAC system will influence the price. American Standard, York, Trane, Heil, Goodman…the prices will fluctuate, but most air conditioners with a matching coil cost between $1,000-$2,000.
Furnaces can range from $500-$1500. You can cross check your quoted prices on equipment on a company’s website to make sure you’re being treated fairly.
- House Size and Location: HVAC systems come in a variety of sizes and with different features. The bigger your house, the bigger the system, the bigger the price tag.
Your AC unit size is measured in tons—that’s not the weight, but rather a unit of measurement to define its ability to cool your home.
Typically, the ratio is 1-ton to every 400 sq/ft. of flooring. For example, a 2,000-square ft. house would require around a 5-ton HVAC system. Location influences the cost as well—depending on your state or zip code, installation may be more or less.
- SEER Value: The SEER influences your HVAC installation costs. SEER is a way to measure how efficient your system is. The higher your SEER value is, the lower the cost is for you to run it.
A 16-SEER system is considered a solid unit. Many contractors will steer you towards a 21-SEER unit, but it’s not exactly better. 21-SEER, or anything over 16-SEER works as a motor with variable speeds.
If you have a 21-SEER unit, for example, it will run at full speed unless demand is low, in which case it will run at half speed (think 5-ton to 2.5-ton) to save energy. This sounds excellent, but this type of motor is expensive to fix and has a reputation for breaking.
A 16-SEER is basically the same unit (5-ton), with a reputation of being more reliable. We think that since 21-SEER units are very expensive, and 16-SEER is more reliable, you’ll tend to save more money with the 16-SEER. It’s up to you, of course.
- Project Difficulty: Bigger or more complex projects add cost to the installation price. If you live in an older house, or if the attic or closet space is difficult to access, or if your system requires customized parts, you can expect to pay more. And it’s worth it to pay more. You do not want to skimp when it comes to the credibility and sills of a professional.
While we can’t give you an exact number this, honest contractors can usually tell you exactly why and where you’re spending money.
If they’re giving you some generic excuse such as “a new law made this more expensive,” or “that’s just how much the unit costs,” and you know it doesn’t because you’ve read this article and did your research, you can pretty much know you’re working with someone dishonest.
- Credibility and Insurance: You don’t want your HVAC professional to be overly expensive or too cheap. A good HVAC company is going to charge you for the parts and a fair amount for labor. No more or less.
Expensive might be ripping you off, but if they’re low-balling you, it’s likely they don’t have insurance, credibility, or are even scamming you with stolen equipment. It’s more common than you’d think.
Always check your HVAC company’s credentials and insurance, always do your research, always be willing to pay your professionals a fair price.
The Fair Price-Range of HVAC Installation Cost
Now that we’ve considered multiple factors that influence HVAC installation cost, let’s look at your expected price ranges for installation, component parts, labor, and all materials for your HVAC system installation.
* Note: These price ranges are for single-unit residential installations. *
- Remember: Don’t go with a contractor that is just cheap. Make sure the HVAC professional has credentials, insurance, and is part of a well-established company. Usually if a contractor is offering you discounts upfront, they’re probably already charging you too much.
There are 3 main types of HVAC installation and their costs to consider.
- Change-Out HVAC Installation Cost:
Expected price range: $6-8,000
Job time: 1 day
Description: Installation of just HVAC components without any ductwork. Price varies depending on unit and any added features you may need. Important Note: Ductwork deteriorates quickly and usually needs to be replaced, so only do a change-out if your ductwork is in fantastic condition. HVAC contractors may push for you to do a change-out since ductwork is the hardest part of the job—change-outs are easy money. Only around 15% of all jobs are change-outs so be cautious and aware.
- Full HVAC Installation Cost:
Expected price range: $9-12,300
Job time: 3-5 days
Description: Full installations are the most common type of HVAC installations for professionals. The ductwork adds about 2 days and $2-3000, but it’s usually a necessary part of your HVAC installation and maintenance.
- Full HVAC System With Added Features Cost:
Expected price range: $13-17,000
Job time: 3-7 days
Description: You can add as many features as you want, so technically the cost on this could go up and up. Features usually means customized parts and customizing systems to difficult layouts. You may or may not need/want added features.
Still Unsure About Your HVAC Installation Costs?
While the numbers above will work for most of you, some of you may need to know more.
If you want a simple way to calculate your personal HVAC installation cost, the old-school equation is this:
[(Cost of Equipment) + (Cost of Labor) + (Other Materials and Costs)] X 1.4 = Bidding Price You Receive
Fair profit for a contractor is usually at 40% profit since they must pay for insurance, credentials, renting office space, gasoline, licenses, advertising, and of course supporting their homes and families just like you.
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* Disclaimer: The information in this article is to our best knowledge, based on single-unit and residential HVAC system installation costs. HVAC installation costs vary by region and are based on professional rates. Home Professionals is trying to inform you on how to keep from getting ripped off—keep in mind, these are guidelines, not commandments *