If hot summer days leave you sitting in front of the fan or you need to walk around the house with a blanket in the winter, it’s probably time to rethink your HVAC system. The cost of a new HVAC system sits between $5,000 to $12,500, depending on the size of the unit, whether you need new components, and the brand you select.
How Much Does a New HVAC System Cost by Unit?
HVAC systems vary quite a bit, as the more square footage you have in your home, the bigger the unit you’re going to need. If you’ve added on square footage to the house with an extension or finished the garage, now would be a great time to get some air flowing to those areas.
Cost of a Furnace
The furnace is the portion of the HVAC system that is responsible for keeping you nice and cozy on those chilly nights. Furnaces use British Thermal Units (BTUs) to describe how powerful the system is—and yes, you still use BTUs even if you’re in America.
Common furnace sizes and their prices are:
- 40,000–60,000 BTUs: $3,250
- 75,000–100,000 BTUs: $4,200
- 120,000–140,000 BTUs: $6,000
Cost of an AC Unit
An AC unit comes in tons, so some people will have a two-ton unit, while others may have as large as a five-ton unit. Make sure you get the right size unit for your home. Too big or too small and you run the risk of losing energy efficiency or overworking, cutting the lifespan down significantly.
Common AC unit sizes and their prices:
- 2-ton: $2,250
- 3-ton: $3,000
- 4-ton: $4,250
- 5-ton: $5,500
This price is for the AC unit only and doesn’t include ductwork and labor, which are typically separate.
How Much Does a New HVAC System Cost Near You?
The cost of living always factors into the final cost. In general, rural prices are likely to be lower than urban. However, being in a hotter state doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to spend more on your new HVAC system. For example, Florida, despite being known as the sunshine state, tends to cost less than installing an air conditioner in New Jersey.
Average prices for a 3.0-ton HVAC unit in various parts of the country are:
- Florida: $8,300
- Arizona: $10,400
- Washington: $11,600
- Montana: $8,300
- Iowa: $10,700
- Ohio: $9,900
- New Jersey: $12,200
- New Hampshire: $11,300
What Factors Influence the Cost of a New HVAC System?
Beyond your location and the size of the unit, you need to take into account other factors, such as whether your HVAC system also requires new ductwork, new insulation, and how difficult it is to install. There are plenty of different brands to choose from as well.
A full HVAC replacement includes replacing the ductwork throughout the home. The ductwork is responsible for carrying cool air to the vents so you can create your own winter wonderland. Depending on how much ductwork you need, the cost of ductwork is around $15 per linear foot.
“When you’re installing an HVAC unit for the first time on a multi-story house, the vertical ducts need to be encased or hidden, which involves framing, sheetrock, and finishing,” says Bob Tschudi, Expert Review Board Member and general contractor. “Your contractor can help you find ways to do this, such as installing a corner bookshelf with the vertical ductwork behind it.”
If you have a home addition, such as a finished garage or enclosed patio, now is the time to go ahead and add vents and ductwork to these areas.
Installing an HVAC unit, removing and replacing ductwork, and making sure everything works properly is no easy feat. Labor for this project costs around $1,500 on average. You’re likely to pay extra if you’ve never had an existing HVAC system.
When you’re installing an HVAC unit for the first time, you’re also going to need to add insulation. Most HVAC contractors don’t do insulation, but you can contact your local HVAC company to find out more. Insulation costs $1,500 on average, but this is only if your house doesn’t have any existing insulation.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of competition in the HVAC world. More competition typically equals more competitive rates. Regardless of brand, the average cost of an HVAC unit is around $4,750.
Typical costs for an HVAC unit from the most popular brands come out to:
- Amana/Goodman: $2,750
- American Standard: $3,750
- Bryant: $3,000
- Carrier: $4,250
- Coleman: $3,000
- Lennox: $3,500
- Magic Pak: $4,750
- Mitsubishi: $4,500
- Trane: $6,000
- Rheem/Ruud: $3,250
- York: $7,500
Location of the Unit Outside the Home
The unit located outside the house is typically one half of your AC unit. This unit handles cooling the air from inside your home and moving it back in through the use of a compressor.
Most people put their outside AC units on the side or behind the home. But, this isn’t always the case. Those who are limited on space such as a multi-family home or townhome may need to mount theirs to the roof. In the event you need a roof-mounted AC unit, expect to pay around $1,000 more, as the AC contractor needs to find a spot that supports the weight of the system. “In some municipalities, you will be required to hide the rooftop unit with a decorative fence or wall around it,” advises Tschudi. “Since this involves securing under the roofing materials, it’s important to get a qualified roofer involved.”
Location of the Unit Inside the Home
You’ll also need to consider the furnace system that goes inside your home. Most furnace systems go in places like a utility closet or in the attic or basement if you have one. The inside unit is also responsible for pulling in the hot and cold air to either cool down in the outside unit or heat up in the furnace.
If you have no proper place to install the inside unit, then you’re looking at spending anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 for a small space to be built around it.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a New HVAC System by Style?
Technology hasn’t forgotten about HVAC systems either. There are now multiple styles to choose from that each has its own unique twist on how to cool and heat your home.
Ductless Mini-Split HVAC
Ductless mini-split HVAC units cost from $2,000 to $8,250. These units don’t use ductwork but instead use air handlers in each room to individually handle heat. There’s also only an outside unit, which means you don’t need to make space for an inside unit.
High-Velocity HVAC System
Consider high-velocity HVAC systems the “turbo” option of the heating and cooling world. It works much faster at cooling or heating areas, but it also certainly makes quite a bit more noise while it’s running. Expect to pay around $5,000 for a high-velocity HVAC unit.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling
Looking for ways to stay eco-friendly? A geothermal heating and cooling system is the option for you. Rather than using electricity to cool, geothermal systems bring in the ground temperature, which is routinely around 40° to 60° Farhenheit, and uses that to cool or heat the home.
Geothermal systems come with a hefty price tag compared to other units. Expect to pay around $10,000 for your unit.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a New HVAC System Yourself?
Unless you’re installing a simple window AC unit, you shouldn’t tackle new HVAC installation yourself. You need to have a license to handle refrigerants when installing. Not only that but any wrong move in the installation process and you’re looking at a higher energy bill and a system that can’t provide the cool or warm air you’re looking for.
FAQs About HVAC Systems
How long do HVAC systems last?
On average, an HVAC system lasts around 15 years. If you do annual maintenance, such as cleaning the coils and addressing repairs promptly, you can expect it to last 5 years more or longer. This will vary based on usage and weather conditions, as extreme heat and extreme cold may damage the components faster than in mild climates.
Should I replace or repair my HVAC system?
The biggest thing to consider whether you should replace or repair your HVAC system is its age. If it’s beyond those 15 years, it’s only a matter of time before it kicks the bucket. If repairs end up totaling well over $5,000, it also might be worth it to simply go for a new unit. Many vendors have long parts-replacement warranties, so ask your HVAC contractor to check into that. You could save hundreds on a repair if the part is free.
How should you choose an HVAC system?
When it comes to choosing an HVAC system, the contractor you hire will let you know what they have available. If they don’t have one you’re looking for, you’ll have to contact the manufacturer and ask for retail prices.
How do HVAC systems work?
HVAC systems work by pulling hot air out through an evaporator coil, which turns the warm air into a gas. The condenser coil then turns the gas back into a liquid in the form of a refrigerant.
For heating, the HVAC unit uses a furnace to heat the air and push it into the home. The cost to install a new furnace is around $2,500 on average.