Stay Comfortable and Informed: Your Guide to HVAC Unit Replacement Costs



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The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in your home keeps you comfortable all year round by circulating fresh air to remove dust and allergies. It might be time for a replacement if your HVAC unit isn't operating as efficiently as it previously did. The price to replace a whole HVAC system ranges from $5,000 to $10,000, with the national average coming in at $7,000. This equals between $25 and $60 per square foot. The size and brand of the HVAC system, the size of the house, the length of the ductwork, and the efficiency rating of the new unit all affect prices. Homeowners should anticipate paying between $1,500 and $12,500 for brand-new installations. 

Average labor costs for HVAC installations range from $500 to $2,000. The type and state of the existing system have an impact on the overall cost. Retrofitting forced or central heating often costs more than changing out an existing system.


National Average Cost







Factors in the HVAC Unit Replacement Cost 

Costs for replacing HVAC units depend on a number of things. Due to the cost of the new unit, labor costs, installation, accessibility, removal and disposal costs for the old unit, climate, and the age and condition of the home, prices may vary from the national average.


1. New Unit

Depending on the type and size of the unit, new HVAC systems might cost between $1,000 and $10,000. An air conditioner normally costs between $1,500 and $8,000, and a new furnace typically costs between $1,000 and $4,000. Homeowners should think about how switching to a newer, more energy-efficient model could result in long-term savings on their energy costs.

2. Labor 

The cost of labor, which ranges from $500 to $2,500, is typically incorporated into the installation costs as a whole. If the old HVAC system is being replaced with a new one, the job can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours, depending on its size and complexity. The installation may need to be delayed by one to three days if new ductwork is required.

3. Installation and Accessibility

An HVAC unit can be installed in three different ways: as part of a change-out, which includes a new heating and cooling system; as part of a full installation, which includes all HVAC equipment and ductwork; and as part of a full install, which also includes a zoning system and any other extra features. The cost of replacing the old HVAC system will increase with the difficulty of accessing it. It will increase the cost of installation if the HVAC unit is in a historic property, in a small attic or an attic with blown-in insulation, or if it needs custom-made parts.

4. Disposal and Removal

In most cases, the cost of removal and disposal of the old HVAC unit is included in the replacement cost. Homeowners should inquire about the cost of removal and disposal from the HVAC contractor conducting their replacement.

5. Climate

The cost of replacing an HVAC unit is also influenced by the climate in the area where the home is located. The British thermal unit (BTU) output for residential furnaces normally ranges between 35,000 and 100,000. The heat of one match is equal to one BTU. Homeowners in hotter climates will see a 10% boost in their cooling BTU output. A humidifier will be more expensive to install in the HVAC system for homeowners who reside in a dry area.

Additional costs and considerations

There will be other cost considerations and aspects to take into account when budgeting for HVAC unit replacement expenses. These consist of ducting, the installation of zones, insulation, or a thermostat; further additions and improvements; the replacement of the furnace and air conditioner; the removal of asbestos; and cost savings through rebates.

1. Ductwork

Costs for replacing HVAC ductwork range from $500 to $2,000. Homeowners should anticipate paying between $10 and $20 per linear foot if only a portion of the ductwork needs to be rebuilt. The effort required to install ductwork can increase by two to four days. In order to make sure the ductwork is free of dust and allergies and to ensure that the system is leak-free, it is a good idea for a homeowner to repair the ductwork if they are upgrading the entire HVAC system.

2. Adding Zones

An existing HVAC system's cost may increase by $2,000 to $3,000 when more zones are added. The price of installing a new system for a homeowner might be between $7,500 and $12,500. Each zone in a house has its own thermostat thanks to a zoned system. Depending on how much heating and cooling is required in a given zone, ductwork dampers open and close to meet those needs.

3. Insulation

Insulation is not normally included in the construction of an HVAC system, but those who live in older homes where the upper floors and attic are hot in the summer and the rooms are chilly and drafty in the winter may want to think about it. Costs for insulation might range from $1,000 to $2,100, although they can be reduced by 10 to 15%.

The HVAC system can operate more effectively and cost-effectively by insulating the ducting. Insulated ductwork can aid in removing condensation, which then does away with mold and mildew.

4. Thermostat

The cost of installing a thermostat ranges from $125 to $275, depending on the model. A new thermostat is frequently included when buying a new air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace, according to HVAC pros. Wi-Fi-connected or smart thermostats can cost an extra $100. An energy-efficient thermostat that controls both heating and cooling is one that can be programmed.

5. Upgrades and add-ons

The cost to install a new HVAC system with modifications and additional features might range from $13,000 to $17,000. The project can take anywhere between 4 and 7 days to finish with all the extra features. Zone systems, whole-house humidifiers, UV illumination, and variable-speed fans are a few add-ons.

6. Replacement Cost for a Furnace and an AC

Furnace replacement costs range from $2,600 to $6,300. High-efficiency furnaces are more expensive, and the cost of the project will go up if any ductwork needs to be repaired or replaced, so homeowners should keep that in mind. Installation costs for central air range from $3,800 to $7,500, excluding ductwork. The final cost is determined by the size of the air conditioner and whether any HVAC system repairs are necessary. If repair costs are close to 30% of the price of a brand-new HVAC machine, replacing the furnace and air conditioner is financially advantageous. The homeowner's area's labor costs, brand reputation, and rating all affect combination prices.

Costs for ductless mini-split air conditioners range from $2,000 to $14,500. For homes without ductwork or for setting up certain temperature zones, this kind of system is perfect. The size of the system and the number of air handlers affect the overall cost. Four to eight air handlers are common in most homes.

7. Removal of Asbestos

In order to extract and remove asbestos from a home, the owner will need to employ a reputable asbestos removal firm. In some states, only a qualified expert can remove asbestos from a property. This is done to protect the people in the house. The price to remove asbestos ranges from $500 to $1,000.

8. Rebates

The cost of purchasing and installing an HVAC system can be reduced by up to $3,000 for homes. Many local energy suppliers give discounts or rebates on updating or replacing an HVAC system, especially if it's an energy-efficient alternative, and other HVAC businesses offer savings on more expensive solutions like a zone system.

HVAC Unit Replacement Cost by Type 

Change-out, full installation with ductwork, and full installation with additions are the three different kinds of HVAC unit replacements.

1. Change-Out

A change-out HVAC replacement is a realistic choice if the ductwork on a property is in outstanding condition. The average cost of a change-out replacement is between $4,000 and $10,000. Without rebuilding the ductwork, it entails replacing the HVAC system's primary components. Homeowners should double check with their HVAC professional to see if they need to repair the ducting because most HVAC replacements call for new ductwork. Usually, a change-out replacement takes 1 to 3 days to complete.

2. Full installation with ductwork

It takes three to five days and costs between $6,500 and $12,500 to install an HVAC system with ducting. It is advised to replace the HVAC system and the ductwork at the same time because doing so adds 2 to 4 days of labor. The ductwork probably also has to be replaced if the system is old and worn out. Considering that the entire system is fresh, clean, and free of dust and allergens, new ducting can aid in reducing energy bills.

3. Full Installation with Extras

For an HVAC installation with added features, homeowners should budget between $13,000 and $17,000. It can take 4 to 7 days to finish this task. The price of a zoning system can increase the cost of installing an HVAC unit by $2,300 to $3,500. A programmable thermostat, UV lighting, a zoning system, a whole-house humidifier, or an energy recovery ventilator are a few additional add-ons that can be used.

Should I replace my HVAC system?

The normal lifespan of an HVAC system is between 10 and 20 years. As equipment ages, it deteriorates and loses efficiency, increasing the expense of maintenance. The age of the system, high utility costs, high repair costs, variable temperature, odd noises, and excessive dust are a few indicators that it's time to replace the HVAC system.

1. Age of the System

Every 10 to 15 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, households should update their HVAC systems. The system's components age at various rates: the lifespan of a heat pump is between 10 and 20 years; that of a furnace is between 15 and 30 years; and that of an air conditioner is between 15 and 20 years. Older appliances may use the environmentally damaging R-22 freon. You can save money on energy expenditures and lessen your carbon footprint by upgrading to a more modern HVAC system.

2. Costly energy bills

Seasonal variations in energy costs will occur, but a homeowner's bill should be consistent from one year to the next. A homeowner's HVAC system is likely not operating as well as it should if they observe their power bill increasing in cost. While routine maintenance can help the system last longer, some HVAC parts will eventually degrade.

3. Replacement vs. Repair

Homeowners should choose to replace the HVAC system if the cost of repair is 30% or more of the total cost of replacement. If the system needs frequent maintenance, it is a wise investment to replace the entire thing.

4. Home Temperature

A home's temperature will fluctuate if the HVAC system is old. The HVAC system may be to blame if a homeowner observes that their home is never sufficiently cold in the summer or sufficiently warm in the winter. Damage to the motor, fractured ducts, clogged filters, a broken or faulty thermostat, or low fluid levels are a few conditions that may result in variable temperatures. Spending money on a new HVAC system will reduce homeowners' utility costs if the ductwork is damaged or the system is having trouble keeping up with the demand for heating and cooling.

5. Noises

A faulty HVAC system will occasionally generate odd screeching or grinding noises. A properly maintained HVAC system ought to function reasonably quietly. when a homeowner hears strange noises.

6. Dust at Home

A properly working HVAC system filters out dust, grime, allergens, and debris in addition to ventilating, heating, and cooling a space. It may be necessary to replace the HVAC unit if a homeowner notices that there is more dust in the home than usual.

HVAC Unit Replacement Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

An HVAC unit replacement is not a DIY project, and improper installation of the unit can result in up to $1,000 in repairs. In addition to being extremely specialized, HVAC equipment is also bulky, heavy, and awkward. The homeowner won't have to perform all the labor-intensive work themselves; professional maintenance choices after installation; and peace of mind knowing the unit was installed by a professional are some advantages of hiring a professional HVAC installation.

After a new HVAC system has been professionally installed, homeowners can maintain it by changing the air filters on a regular basis, sealing any ductwork leaks, clearing the area around the HVAC system of any debris, keeping a 2-foot clearance around the system, changing or adjusting the thermostat, and using a garden hose to clean the evaporator coil, evaporator trap, and drain pipe. A permit may also be necessary in some localities for the installation of an HVAC system. If paperwork is required in the homeowner's region, a qualified installer can handle it.

How to Find a Professional

Installation and maintenance of HVAC systems demand extensive training. You shouldn't even consider attempting to complete this project on your own unless you are an experienced HVAC expert. Finding a dependable HVAC technician is now necessary, though.

There are various simple techniques to find the best firm for the work, besides price. Everybody who owns a house has a home comfort system of some type. You might ask those close to you about their interactions with regional experts. These days, there are a ton of websites that offer reviews.

Working with someone who is completely licensed, bonded, and insured is ideal at the most fundamental level. When it comes to your home, experience counts. On their websites, most HVAC professionals state how long they have been in business.

Get at least three quotes from different HVAC providers in your region to compare pricing. You can be certain that you're obtaining the best deal in this manner.

Additionally, search for a business that provides excellent customer service. In an ideal world, the business that installs your home's systems would also provide maintenance. You might not want this crew working on your house if they are slow to return your calls or annoyed with your inquiries.

How to Save Money on HVAC Unit Replacement Costs

The cost of replacing an HVAC unit can be considerable, and the project's additional costs can mount up quickly. Purchasing the least expensive choice is one approach to reducing the cost of replacing an HVAC unit, but there are other ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality.

1. Obtain many Quotes

Obtain at least three quotations from dependable HVAC specialists in your area, then pick the best one.

2. Make research

Use caution if you obtain an estimate that is significantly less than the others you've gotten. The companies that offer the lowest rate frequently lack insurance or a license. Reputable businesses will provide estimates that are comparable to each other.

3. Look for tax benefits and rebates.

Many manufacturers of HVAC systems provide rebates for particular models or for particular seasons of the year. You can be qualified for a tax credit if you install an energy-efficient HVAC unit or renewable energy devices like geothermal heat pumps, solar panels, or solar water heaters.

4. Choose the proper size.

The cost of installing an HVAC system that is too big for your house will rise by $300 to $400 for every ton of cooling. The capacity or output of an HVAC unit is commonly measured in tons or BTUs. If the system is too small, it will have to run continuously to maintain the desired temperature, which will increase energy expenditures.

5. Choose Experience

Choose an HVAC provider that has completed installations in both business and residential settings. These are the businesses with the most expertise and experience.

Questions to Ask About HVAC Unit Replacement Cost

Asking the proper questions to a professional regarding HVAC unit replacement costs can reduce misunderstandings, save money, and get the intended outcomes. The following are some questions to ask an expert in HVAC installation:

1. Are you certified and insured? Will you give evidence? (In certain states, such as Illinois, Arizona, New York, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, and Kansas, technicians are not required to obtain an HVAC license.)

2. How many people will be working on the projects, and do you have workers' compensation?

3. Do you have any referrals?

4. Will you complete and submit warranty, refund, and other paperwork on my behalf?

5. What size of HVAC system do I need?

6. Is a zone system required in my home?

7. Is the HVAC system eligible for a tax credit?

8. What is the new HVAC system's efficiency?

9. Do you inspect air ducts for leaks?

10. Do you provide a service contract?

11. What kind of warranty do you provide?


Question: What is the life span of an HVAC system?


Newer HVAC systems have a longer lifespan than older ones. Your HVAC system should last for at least 15 years with regular maintenance. Most likely, your furnace will last a few more years than your air conditioner.

Question: Can I reduce the cost of a new HVAC system?


You are not alone if you are considering ways to reduce the cost of replacing your HVAC system. These systems represent a significant financial commitment for your house. Spend some time comparing the price of the equipment to the cost of operation. Although more expensive, cooling systems with higher SEER ratings may ultimately save on energy expenses.

Additionally, a number of high-efficiency units qualify for rebates and incentives under state and federal government initiatives. These reductions can significantly reduce your upfront costs.

Question: Should I replace both the internal and exterior units?  


The manufacturer might provide another internal unit that is compatible with the external unit if the unit is still under warranty or is relatively new. To make sure the condenser is compatible and the system isn't using illegal R-22 refrigerant, it is advised to replace the complete HVAC system in an older home.

Question: How much does a 2,000-square-foot home's AC unit cost? 


For a 2,000-square-foot home, a full HVAC unit costs between $5,000 and $9,000. The price will be much lower if a homeowner only wants to buy an air conditioner.

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