HVAC Replacement Cost and Installation Cost Guide

Looking to get a new HVAC system and want to estimate HVAC replacement cost? The replacement cost and installation costs of a HVAC system is determined by the size of your house.

On average, the replacement cost of a HVAC unit is between $2,500 and $5,000. Take note the replacement cost and installation cost can go up if your home heating and air conditioning unit requires extensive new ductwork.

The cost of replacing the heating and air conditioning system is also determined by the HVAC system you choose.

The typical replacement cost of a full HVAC system is between $4,000 and $20,000. The higher price range for the new system with central air heating and cooling is inclusive of extensive ductwork for your HVAC unit.

1 HVAC Install

HVAC Goes In by Doug Joubert / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 You have options when it comes to your HVAC system, and the options you go with will determine how much you pay to replace or install this system. 

Contents

There is a broad cost range associated with installing an HVAC system. Depending on your system’s efficiency, size, and whether you need the contractor to install ducts, this new system can easily cost between $2.50 and $6.00 a square foot. This cost is for more residential installations, but it can have a higher cost if you live in a very cold climate. Very cold or hot climates require that your system has an higher-than-average efficiency, and this can increase your unit costs by a significant amount.

Factors Affecting HVAC Installation Costs

The primary factors affecting the replacement cost and installation costs of a new HVAC system are:

  • Efficiency
  • Size
  • Features
  • Noise level

Efficiency 

Energy efficiency is one of the main factors you should consider that affects replacement cost. Select a central air conditioner unit with the highest efficiency rating. In the long run, with your air conditioner operating many years, you will save money while reducing your carbon footprint from the air conditioner.

All central air conditioner and heating and cooling units have an energy efficiency rating label. Although most energy-efficient units may cost more, they will save you money in the long run.

Size

The size of a central heating or new HVAC system is another key factor affecting replacement cost that you should consider. A large air conditioning unit will easily keep your home warm or cool. Unfortunately, it will not be able to remove the humidity in your home.

On the other hand, a small HVAC unit will not warm your home on cold days, nor will it cool your home on hot days. To get the best HVAC unit for your home, contact a professional local HVAC service. They will advise you on the best size HVAC unit and replacement cost for your house.

HVAC System Features 

The majority of heating and cooling units have special features that improve efficiency and performance. For instance, some have a built-in filter light to alert you when the filter needs to be changed.

Another crucial feature to look for is a switch that only turns the fan on. It can be used on hot days to cool the house. Such features mean getting a higher priced central heating unit. The replacement cost of the high end units will be on the upper end of the range we provided

2 HVAC System Features
Construction at the NoMa Courtyard by Ben Schumin / CC BY-SA 2.0 The more high-tech your HVAC system gets, the more it’ll cost to repair or maintain parts when they fail. Regular maintenance can help prevent larger and more costly failures though. 

Noise Levels

One of the main benefits of having a central HVAC system is reduced noise levels. Unlike window-based heating and cooling systems, a central system is quieter. Going through reviews of several central heating units will give you an idea of the sound ratings.

If you are uncomfortable with the replacement cost of central heating systems, there is a way you can save money on the same. Start by shopping around to try to lower your replacement cost. You can lower your replacement cost by comparing prices of online and local HVAC stores.

The best way to save money on the replacement cost is by purchasing the HVAC equipment and heat pump during the summer. Stores generally hike prices for the heat pump and heating systems during winter, increasing the replacement cost.

Major Types of Heaters

Halogen heaters, convector heaters, fan heaters, and oil-filled heaters are the different types of electric heaters that you can purchase.

When looking to heat a room for a short period of time the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) recommends the use of fan heaters. They are noisy and not as powerful compared to other types of heaters.

If looking to heat a room for a couple of hours or more the use convector heaters because they thoroughly heat a room.

One of the more reliable of the varieties is oil-filled heaters. They take longer to heat up than other models but they keep a room warm for long periods after being turned off.

Another option is halogen heaters which work quickly and are cheaper to run. They are also known to keep punters warm in pub gardens.

Different forms of portable heater come with different heat outputs. For example mostly common outputs are 2kW, 1.2kW and 3kW. The higher the kilowatt, the more powerful the radiator is but it will also be more expensive.

The table below shows the replacement cost associated with using different types of heaters:

Typical heat outputRunning cost

Per hour standard meter

Running cost

Per hour (Economy 7, night)

Running cost

Per hour (Economy 7, day)

Oil-filled radiator1.5 kW21 cents10 cents27 cents
Fan heater2 kW28 cents13 cents36 cents
Convector heater2 kW28 cents13 cents36 cents
Halogen heater1.2 kW17 cents8 cents22 cents
Radiant bar fire2 kW28 cents13 cents36 cents

Comparing the Types of Heaters

The cost of running a 1.2kW halogen heater, on average is 17cents on a standard meter, which is cheaper compared to other models as per the CSE information. It has less heat output than a 2kW fan heater that costs 28 cents per hour – a massive 11 cents more to run per hour.

The most expensive radiators to run are the convector heaters. They keep the room warmer for a long period of time. In the long run they are better than fan heaters.

A number of factors are needed to analyze whether an electric radiator would save you more money than central heating. It includes how well your house is insulated and the style of the house i.e. is it new, old, modern or leaky.

Central heating is of two types-electric and gas-which comes with cons and pros. The average cost of central heating in 2019 was $548. This is when the house consumed approximately 12,000 kWh a year.

This equates to a user spending about $1.50 a day on central heating. Take note there are plenty of times, mostly in the summer, where the heating won’t be needed. The cost is determined by individual heating usage.

Cost of Heating Different Houses

Naturally, the cost of heating a one bedroom house will be less than heating a four bedroom house. The following is an approximate breakdown of what to expect with replacement cost and HVAC installation costs: 

4-bedroom House HVAC System Cost

  • Water tanks is a must $variable
  • Heating controls and thermostat – $250
  • Condensing boiler – $1,400

3-bedroom House HVAC System Cost

  • Water tanks, optional as it is determined by water pressure-$variable
  • Heating controls and thermostat – $150
  • Condensing boiler – $900

2-bedroom House HVAC System Cost

  • Water tanks, optional as it is determined by water pressure-$variable
  • Heating controls and thermostat – $100
  • Condensing boiler – $750

1-bedroom House HVAC System Cost

  • Water tanks, optional as it is determined by water pressure-$variable
  • Heating controls and thermostat – $50
  • Condensing boiler – $650

A heat pump cannot be effective alone to boost the pressure meaning a tank has to be installed first. Although they depend on mains water pressure, condensing boilers are the most efficient.

3 HVAC Installation
HVAC van 03 by Tim Evanson / CC BY-SA 2.0 The larger the system is, the longer it can take to inspect, pinpoint the problem, and fix. So, your costs can climb very quickly. 

HVAC Installation Cost 

  • For a 4 and 3-bed home, it will take between 4 or 5 days to install a new gas central heating system. 2 and 1-bedroom homes usually take 2 – 3 days.
  • Expect a laborer and a trainee to earn from $80-$120 in a day since this is a two-people project.
  • Subject to experience and location, a gas safe registered installer in a day charges between $150 and $200.
  • In addition to this, the company you choose may charge a fee for profit margins and overheads.
  • In addition to waste disposal and materials, a 4-day HVAC installation project may involve a HVAC installation labor fee of about $2250.

Additional costs

After the HVAC installation, walls need to be redecorated and this will be up to you. Your installer will make arrangements for this. The old materials i.e. heaters, brackets, and cables need to be disposed off.

Comparison between Gas and Electric Central Heating 

  • Shifting from electric heating to gas for a consumer living in a 3-bed home will allow them to save around $500 in a year.
  • The replacement cost you need to pay may increase up to $1950 for an electric system that uses electricity in peak hours.
  • In a year, the approximate cost you need to pay for hot water from electric central heating is $900 while for a condensing boiler is $550.
  • In conclusion, unless you have a heat pump, using electricity is a very expensive means to heat a home.

Grants 

  • These are given by the government though the entire system is a baffling mess of contradicting information.
  • Grants are money off tickets or vouchers that one can use to buy energy-saving products.
  • Some private institutions also give grants and discounts which are similar to promotions.
  • You can visit an energy saving trust in case you receive state benefits or go through the government’s energy grant calculator website.

Does Gas Central Heating Affect the Value of a Home?

Switching to a gas central heating system, if you have electric heaters, will increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to the next buyer or prospective renter. A new gas central heating system may increase the value of your home by up to 5.4%, so the replacement cost you need to pay is well-spent.

Defining a HVAC System Inspection 

Your HVAC system inspection can be anything from a very fast checkup to a more involved one that goes over the entire unit, including wiring, piping, and venting. Inspections will example furnaces, boilers, hydro coils, and heat pump systems over the course of the inspection. 

The services the inspection provides during their inspection will depend on what equipment they have to inspect. The technician will check several different components on your unit while performing simple services. They will start by measuring voltage, changing filters, tightening and checking electrical connections and components, and lubricating the unit’s moving parts to prevent overheating by reducing friction. 

The technician will also inspect the system’s condensate drains for sludge or algae buildup due to the condensation of the furnace or AC running, and they’ll get rid of any blockages or clogs. At this time, they’ll replace any acid neutralizer pellets in the condensate line to stop them from building up. They test and calibrate the thermostats, or they can replace older models with programmable ones. They’ll also inspect your ductwork and determine if you need to clean it. 

In a new home installation, the technician will do a complete audit of your system during the installation process for efficiency and quality. Most technicians will also test the controls for start, operation, and shut-off sequences, check the blower components to ensure proper airflow, find cold or hot spots to reduce efficiency, test gas pressure and piping to ensure the safety levels when you operate it. They can also perform refrigerant pressure tests if needed, and they can also test heat pumps for heating modes and defrost cycles. 

Other items they include in an inspection are radiant floor heating exams and checking how efficient your dehumidifiers and humidifiers are. 

4 HVAC Inspection
HVAC by Kirrus / CC BY-SA 2.0 Routine inspections are essential for the life of your HVAC system, and you really want to schedule an annual on to keep everything in top shape. 

Inspection Costs by System Type 

How much it costs to have a professional come and inspect your system will vary depending on which parts you want inspected. On average, an inspection typically costs between $250 and $350. Home inspections don’t always include an in-depth look at the entire system, it can be helpful to pay for a dedicated, separate inspection. The following parts should get an annual inspection to ensure they run correctly: 

Air Conditioner

An annual inspection of your air conditioner will help you enjoy cool, refreshing air all year-round. The average cost to inspect your air condition runs between $100 and $150. This price will vary depending on the hourly rate of your technician and the potential need for further part replacement or repairs. This being said, it’s important that you invest in annual air conditioning inspections to help keep your unit running as efficiently and smoothly as possible. In the long run, having an annual inspection on your unit can bring down the overall HVAC system tune-up prices. 

Air Duct

Ensuring that your air ducts are clean and maintained each year plays a primary role in how efficient your system is. Inspections of your HVAC system is the first step the technician takes to see whether or not you require a full cleaning. The average cost for this inspection ranges from $75.00 to $125. However, the average price to clean your system ranges from $750 to $1,000. With this significant difference in mind, it’s essential that you have regular inspections of your air ducts to minimize how much you spend on long-term cleaning costs. Cleaning and inspections go hand-in-hand with routine system maintenance to ensure that your whole system runs smoothly. 

Attic Fan Inspection

An attic fan works to cool your home from top to bottom by pulling hot air from the attic. Fans are very useful in your residential HVAC system. The average cost for a technician to come out and inspect your attic fans runs between $80.00 and $100. The costs typically include an hour of the technician’s time. The inspection will also include minor repairs. However, if the technician needs more time to fix your issues or if they need more extensive repairs, the price will go. 

Boiler Inspection 

Boilers can be a very economical option to use to heat your home, but boilers have to have regular inspections just like any other part of your HVAC system. The average cost to have a technician come out and inspect this part is between $100 and $300. You should have it done annually for the best results. Boilers are able to experience severe temperature fluctuations, but they usually use welded steel that can withstand these fluctuations without damage. However, if the welded steel cracks, the boiler has an increased risk of exploding. With this fact in mind, it’s clear to see why an annual boiler inspection is essential to keep your system efficient and safe. 

Furnace Inspection

People who live in colder climates where they need a furnace to keep their home comfortable should make a point to invest in a regular inspection of their furnaces. This inspection price can start at $80.00 and go up to $100. However, you want to make a note of the fact that the price of this inspection will go up if the technician has to perform repairs. In the long run, regular maintenance on your furnace can improve the lifespan of your HVAC system and save you repair money down the line. 

Radiant Flooring

One popular option to heat your floors from below them is radiant flooring. This is a more modern feature to add to your home, and it has to have regular inspections scheduled to avoid long-term problems. The average cost to inspect this part of your HVAC system falls between $100 and $125. The inspection will usually happen when you schedule your annual HVAC system inspection. Your technician will usually charge an evaluation fee to look at the system’s pressure if you have a hydronic system with the floor system’s pump. Lower pressure indicates that you have a leak somewhere in your pipes. If the pump is louder than usual, this can clue the technician in that there is something larger going on. 

Roof Vent

Roof vents work to evacuate humid or hot air from the highest spaces in your home. Keeping your roof vents in good repair is a great way to improve your HVAC system. On average, you’ll pay between $75.00 and $125 to inspect this part, depending on how much your technician charges an hour. An inspection of this part will look for any blockages that could stop ideal airflow in your attic area. This inspection will start with an exterior check of the roof because they check for rising shingles. The shingles indicate high humidity levels on the inside of your attic. 

Cost for an HVAC Inspector – Labor

Having your HVAC system inspected will ensure that the heating system is running correctly. The inspection will pinpoint any issues that your HVAC unit could be having that you’re not aware of. Inspections also allow you to stay up-to-date with your HVAC’s conditions and avoid having long-term damage or issues because the inspection catches them early. For these reasons, HVAC inspections are an essential part of the annual maintenance checklist for both large and small homes. 

Sometimes, a home inspector or an HVAC professional will give your system a thorough review to determine how old your systems are and what conditions your appliances are in. They’ll also ensure the operational quality, safety, efficiency, and the working order of the system. 

Once they complete a thorough inspection of the unit, they’ll generate a detailed report that will list any points of concern or issues. They may also offer their suggestions for the best ways to fix these issues. These fixes could include repairing the system, fixing a part, or performing upgrades. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Central HVAC Systems

There are advantages and disadvantages that come with having a central HVAC system installed, and you want to know both sides in order to make an informed decision. 

Advantages of Central HVAC Systems

Logistically, heating the entire house using one unit makes things easier. A bonus for some homeowners is the possibility of isolating the heating unit from the living space.

Another advantage of central heating systems is the ability to provide climate control and hot water. Additionally, homeowners can adjust the temperature in different parts of their house by using area or room-specific temperature, or by closing vents in the new ductwork.

You can also program the system to increase, decrease temperature during specific times. All in all, central heating systems offer the best solutions with reduced environmental impact.

Disadvantages of Central HVAC Systems

The major disadvantage of central heating systems is the cost of buying and installing one. The cost is higher in homes that are more than a decade old. Dust and noise can also be an issue if you are highly allergic to dust.

Another disadvantage is special permits may be required for certain equipment and fuels. Take note central heating systems have limited flexibility in case of changed heating requirements. Also, there is a time delay when the heat is being supplied from the system to the living space.

How to Find an Affordable Central Heater Contractor

The first step to finding the best central heating contractor is by doing some offline and online research. Such a method will give you an idea of the units available along with the replacement cost, and the ones that best suit your needs.

For example, you may find a contractor in a different town with a unit that will best suit your needs. Some stores offer free installation when you buy a unit from them. Research is the only way you can find the best unit at the most affordable price.

HVAC Replacement and Installation Cost Frequently Asked Questions 

5 HVAC FAQs
HVAC by James Vreeland / CC BY-SA 2.0 Since this can be a complex and involved inspection, having questions is normal. We’ve rounded up the more frequently asked ones here for you below. 

1. How long will an inspection take?

Typically, this inspection will take between 1.5 and 2 hours from start to finish. The condition of your unit and the type you have will factor in. The more damage the system has for the technician, the longer they’ll take. Another factor that plays into your HVAC system inspection cost is the home’s size. The larger your home is, the longer your inspection will take to finish. 

2. How long does an HVAC system last on average?

A standard HVAC system can easily last between 10 and 15 years. However, regular maintenance can extend this lifespan past 20 years. Certain units will also last longer than others. For example, a furnace can last between 20 and 30 years, and a boiler can last up to 35 years. To avoid the system not running as efficiently, you want to invest in annual inspections, maintenance, and repairs. 

3. What does it cost per hour for a HVAC technician to come out?

Most HVAC system service charges range from $75.00 to $150 an hour. The service can sometimes cost more than the inspection since the technician has to do additional labor. You’ll pay more for any parts and materials used while the technician services your HVAC system. 

Bottom Line

Finding the best HVAC system for your house is not a walk in the park. Using the above HVAC replacement costs guide will ensure you get the perfect unit for your home with the lowest replacement cost possible.

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