HVAC Replacement Cost: 8 Things You Need To Know
Climatologists predict that 2022 will rank as one of the ten warmest years on record.
Whether you’re entirely sold on the science or not, if your heating and cooling system didn’t perform as well as expected last year, you’re likely in the market for an HVAC replacement.
Most homeowners don’t plan for this kind of expenditure.
To avoid surprises, you’ll want to know everything possible about HVAC replacement cost in advance.
Several things impact what you’ll invest in new equipment. We’ve put together a brief guide highlighting six factors that drive the cost to replace an HVAC system.
Learn more in this article before you begin shopping for your new system.
It’s no secret that people pay a premium for reputable brands. This is true whether you’re buying a new dishwasher, lawnmower, or HVAC equipment.
This investment is usually worth it when it comes to a heating and cooling system.
Buyers get enhanced performance, reliability, and a warranty for a premium price. If you decide to purchase a lesser-known brand to save money, you may be disappointed.
While you don’t necessarily need a system with all the bells and whistles, you should budget for the one that meets all of your needs.
In this case, it’s true—you get what you pay for.
2. Type of System
Another factor that plays a significant role in cost is the type of system you buy. HVAC systems come in several configurations, including:
- Split system
- Ductless or Mini-split
- Packaged system
Each type of system comes with different product and installation costs. Before deciding what’s best for your home, research your options and talk with a qualified HVAC contractor about the features, benefits, and prices of each.
Tip: Most homeowners replacing all or part of an HVAC system opt to stay with the same type of equipment they’re currently using. However, you may find a different option that will work better.
When determining the cost to replace HVAC equipment, size matters. It’s why you should work with an HVAC company that will have a representative visit your home to put together an estimate.
The purpose of an on-site visit is to determine the square footage of your home. The larger the house, the bigger the system you’ll need to provide adequate heating and cooling.
If you install a too-small system, it will work harder and less efficiently. The equipment may even wear out sooner than expected.
In this case, bigger isn’t better. If you end up with a too-large system for your home, you may notice uneven heating and cooling, less efficiency, poor humidity control, and numerous maintenance issues.
Most HVAC companies can provide a load calculation and energy analysis. This helps identify the right size system for your home.
When determining cost, capacity is another factor. When you look at higher capacity furnaces, the prices increase.
4. Fuel Source
If you include a furnace in your new HVAC system, you’ll need to consider the fuel source. Most homeowners replace current equipment with one that uses the same type of fuel.
The most common fuel sources for HVAC systems are:
- Natural gas
If you’re configuring a new system from scratch, generally, the upfront cost of an electric furnace will be slightly less than one that runs on natural gas.
You may find that using gas as a fuel source is more cost-effective in the long run.
5. Energy Efficiency
If it’s been 15-20 years since you installed your current system, you’re in for a few surprises.
Today’s HVAC systems are much more energy-efficient. To understand how manufacturers rate energy-efficiency, let’s look at two measurements. Keep in mind that energy efficiency is measured differently for heating and cooling systems.
AFUE (fuel utilization efficiency rating) is the measurement used for furnaces. A rating of 90% is good, but if you install a unit with a 97% rating, you’ll have a furnace with higher efficiency—at a higher cost.
The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is another measurement that predicts how much energy an air conditioner uses during the cooling season.
The higher the SEER rating, the less energy it should take to regulate the temperature inside a home. Units with higher SEER ratings typically cost more.
One factor many homeowners forget to consider is ductwork.
Of course, the HVAC company you work with will evaluate the current ductwork before you order new HVAC equipment.
Your contractor will assess your ductwork to ensure it’s in good condition and will work with the type of HVAC system you’re considering.
If the ductwork needs modifications or a complete replacement, it will impact the cost of your new system.
Labor is the one factor that hinges on your zip code.
For example, if you live in the Mid-West, labor charges will be different from those in the Northwest.
If you can access tools, such as an HVAC calculator, you may be able to key in your zip code and find out the typical labor costs in your area.
Either way, labor will be included in your estimate as part of the cost of installing your HVAC system.
8. Advanced features
The last cost factor is accessories and advanced features. You can buy a basic system or one with features that can enhance your comfort and convenience.
Some accessories can help your new HVAC system function easier to operate. Others help it work more efficiently.
If you haven’t upgraded to a programmable thermostat, you should consider doing so with the new installation.
Your contractor can go over any additional components and recommend those they think offer the best benefits.
Need More Information About HVAC Replacement Cost?
Knowing the different factors that impact the cost to replace an HVAC system will help you better prepare for the financial investment. It should also help you determine which features in a new system are must haves vs. those that are nice but not essential.
If you’re ready to purchase a new system and would like help figuring out your HVAC replacement cost, we can help!
Contact us today for a free HVAC installation quote.