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How Much Does HVAC
Replacement Cost?

HVAC replacement costs range from $3,250 to $12,586 for the average sized 2,000 sq. ft home in a moderate climate zone. The cost of installation will depend on home size, if you are installing either a central AC unit, furnace, or heat pump, and if ductwork will need to be replaced.

Home Size
Central AC Unit Costs
Gas Furnace Costs
1,300 - 1,600 sq. ft
1,600 - 1,900 sq. ft
1,900 - 2,200 sq. ft
2,200 - 2,600 sq. ft
2,600 - 3,200 sq. ft

Average HVAC Installation Costs

The average costs for different heating and cooling systems will vary by the brands, energy efficiency level, size of the unit needed for your home, and also what the local labor rates are for installation. A local heating and cooling contractor near you will be able to give you an exact price quote. However, you can assume you will pay somewhere in the area below for average HVAC system installation costs:

What Factors Affect HVAC Replacement Cost?

Installation costs will change depending on a few factors that are specific to your home and location. Here are the main things that your air conditioning contractor will asses in order to give you the most exact price quote for your replacement HVAC system:

  • Local climate conditions
  • Current ductwork conditions
  • Home age and construction
  • HVAC unit features such as size, brand, and energy efficiency (SEER)
  • Top air conditioner brands & associated installation costs

1. Local Climate Conditions

Depending on where in the US your home is located, the local region’s climate can change dramatically. A home located in the South would need an AC unit with a size capable of cooling your home due to high temperature Summers. A home in the Northern part of the US would need a much larger heating capacity as well which will affect costs. See the chart below for the average costs of a central AC unit only by TONS.

Central Air Conditioner SizeAC Unit BTUAC Unit Only 
1.5 Tons18,000 BTU$2,000
2 Tons24,000 BTU$2,620
2.5 Tons30000 BTU$2,895
3 Tons36000 BTU$2,920
3.5 Tons42000 BTU$3,550
4 Tons48000 BTU$3,650
5 Tons60000 BTU$3,690

2. Do You Need New Ductwork?

If you are replacing your current air conditioning system, it’s safe to assume that you already have ductwork installed. Ductwork delivers the conditioned air from your HVAC system throughout your home through vents often found in your home’s attic and However, with time ductwork can lose its’ efficiency or may need to be altered to work with your new AC system. New ductwork installation can tack on an additional cost anywhere from $1,200 to $4,200 depending on the level of complexity to install or alter. Plan to add a few days of labor to your HVAC replacement project if you do need ductwork replacement.

3. Home Age and Construction

The ability to cool and heat your home at maximum efficiency will depend a lot on how well insulated your home is currently and the size of your home. A 2500 square foot home will need a much larger AC unit than a smaller home, which will impact installation costs. Also a house with energy efficient windows that are well insulated and sealed well with no cracks for air flow will require far less AC capacity to keep temperatures comfortable. Other factors that can affect this could be the insulation elsewhere such as the foundation, roof, attics, basements, flooring, and more.

4. HVAC Unit Features

A local and trusted HVAC service installer will be able to tell you best what features you may need or want for your home’s system. Higher priced AC unit costs will come with higher energy efficiency levels known as the SEER rating. The size of the unit will also make a different in AC unit prices. The HVAC brand you choose will also impact total installation costs. Higher end central AC units will cost more upfront. However, better brands usually come with a longer lifespan, better warranties, and smarter technology built in to fully control your home’s temperature.

Ask About Hidden Costs

There may also be some AC installation costs that are not included in the initial HVAC estimate but you will want to factor in just in case. These are the things you should ask the air conditioning contractor if the following costs are included in the initial quote they’re providing. Be sure to always ask these questions.

  • If a permit is required from your local city or county building department. The unit will also require an inspection by a representative of the building department to ensure the system is up to code.
  • If you live in an older home that has asbestos or lead paint, there may be an additional cost to test, remove, or replace the material.
  • If any of the following requires additional work involved with the installation process – plumbing, electrical work, removal of an existing system, installing the HVAC system at a new location, modifying the framing or surfacing of the home, or bringing any systems up to code – it will also factor into the cost estimate for your home’s new HVAC installation.

types of central air conditioners

Evaluating Price Quotes for HVAC Installation

There are a quite a few factors to consider when determining what could affect the cost of a new HVAC system installation price quote. Some factors may cause your initial cost estimate to be higher or lower. It is advised to get at least four local price quotes from different qualified HVAC contractors. Let Modernize help connect you to reliable local contractors.

High Priced AC Installations:

  • HVAC installation and replacements can vary drastically in price. These disparities could be due to the type of HVAC unit—how quiet an air conditioning system is, for example. We encourage homeowners to research their desired HVAC system and make sure it is the best suited for their homes and needs.
  • HVAC units can also vary in total cost depending on hardware other than the main units themselves. The increasingly popular smart thermostat is often paired with a new residential HVAC unit, which could cost as little as $30 or as much as $300.
  • High-end heating and cooling contractors will likely have more equipment and overhead, which may be seen in your price quote.
  • HVAC unit warranties will also impact your total installation costs. Most HVAC installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty system equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the total HVAC installation as well, covering potential damage to your roof (if applicable.)
  • Research and be aware of potential hidden HVAC costs— like needing permits and potential fines for your installation. Your heating and cooling quote should include a proper breakdown of how local or federal regulation applies to you and what your HVAC contractor will or will not do in that regard.
    • For example, if your installed HVAC unit’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating is lower than 13, the Department of Energy might flag your HVAC contractor for selling it.
    • An HVAC system having an average SEER rating of 16 could mean saving upward of $400 annually in comparison to other lower efficiency options.Expect an analysis of what your bills should look like after your new HVAC installation, and how you should expect these heating and cooling energy costs to change in upcoming years.

Low Priced AC Installations:

  • If an HVAC contractor does not have proper insurance, they will often provide a lower bid. This may leave the homeowner responsible for HVAC laborer injuries or damages that occur. We recommend that homeowners always select a licensed HVAC contractor for their heating and cooling replacement projects.
  • If a contractor doesn’t have a solid grasp of local policies or applicable local, regional, and federal incentives—like the ones found at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, they may leave that to you and subsequently lower their fees since they have less paperwork to worry about. While a contractor may charge you for help navigating the bureaucracy of air conditioning regulation, a good contractor will assure your energy compliance in your area and maximize your return on investment utilizing expertise you may lack.
  • Extremely low bidders may also be desperate for a new HVAC job leads, which is never a reassuring sign. Be sure to always vet your HVAC contractor before hiring for the job.

For any bid you receive you should always double check your final HVAC installation quotes for possible pricing errors. Errors can happen when trying to determine your full HVAC system installation costs. Communicate any and all questions and concerns with your air conditioning installer before you sign off on any contracts.

For a full list of price evaluation tips see our  homeowner’s guide to evaluating your HVAC cost estimates.

Ductless AC Costs

  • Ductless HVAC systems, often called mini-split systems, are convenient to install and are a very energy efficient heating & cooling system option. Ductless mini split system costs range from $3,000 to $5,000 for the average sized home. It could be up to $9,500 for large whole house systems. Ductless HVAC installation usually includes one outside system & multiple indoor units for each room where cooling is needed. A ductless unit’s SEER rating will also determine total costs (available from 16 SEER to 30 SEER.) Use our ductless AC contractors near me comparison page or let Modernize get you an exact price below. Let us get you exact & local prices:

Heat Pump Installation Costs

  • There are different kinds of heat pump installations to consider, the most common ductless air source heat pump installation will cost $3,500 to $6,500 total per indoor unit installed. However, a central air heat pump system will cost more ranging from $12,500 and $20,000.

Electric Furnace Costs

  • Electric furnaces are HVAC units that push air through your home’s air ducts with an electric blower. The average electric furnace installation cost for a replacement unit is about $1,500 to $2,500. Electric furnaces are usually used in areas with a warm climate that central heating is not needed. You will pay more or less depending on the size needed for your home, the blower’s speed, and whether or not the motor is energy efficient or not (ECM vs. PCM.) Let us get you exact & local prices:

Gas Furnace Costs

  • Gas furnaces are the most common type of furnaces installed and offer a high energy efficiency. The average cost for a gas furnace installation is anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 depending on size and energy efficiency. Let us get you exact & local prices:

Oil Furnace Installation Costs

  • Oil furnaces are the least common type of furnace, and most homeowners would want to opt for a natural gas or propane burning furnace. However, if oil furnaces are your only option, the average installation cost for an oil furnace runs anywhere from $5,500 to $6,500. Let us get you exact & local prices:

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to install different heating and cooling systems?
The average costs for different heating and cooling systems will vary by the brands, energy efficiency level, size of the unit needed for your home, and also what the local labor rates are for installation.

You can use our HVAC Installation Cost Calculator to get an average price for installation in your area and then talk to reliable local contractors about your specific project afterwards if you'd like.
What are the top factors that affect the cost of your HVAC installation?
The major factors that will affect the total cost of your HVAC installation can include:
  1. Type of HVAC System Installed
  2. Size of Unit Needed
  3. Cooling - Heating Capacity Needed
  4. Energy Efficient Levels - SEER or AFUE Ratings
  5. Needing Ductwork Installation - Replacement
  6. Local Labor Costs - Varies by Region
  7. Seasonality - Local Climate Extremities

Read in depth about the details here on each of these cost factors and get an estimate on how much each HVAC system will cost to install in your area.
Can you negotiate HVAC Installation costs with contractors?
Negotiating the costs of your air conditioner installation with your contractor is definitely possible. You should always have backup resources to justify the local costs in your area for a new AC unit.

HVAC installation costs typically range from $3,500 to $7,525, but homeowners can reduce those costs by negotiating the contract price and terms with their contractor by getting multiple quotes from local contractors or using our cost calculator to get average local prices as a negotiating basepoint.
What are the top brands of HVAC systems?
When installing a new HVAC unit, brand and associated costs can be an important decision factor. A good HVAC brand can usually offer a price point to fit any budget from a low cost AC unit or furnace to top performing HVAC systems.

Some brands offer extensive warranties, boast incredible customer support teams, and offer smart home technology for your new air conditioner. It really depends on your budget and what you value the most in a new home heating or cooling unit and the brand of it. Like most things, you get what you pay for and should plan your budget accordingly when looking to install a new HVAC system in your home. See our review list of the the best air conditioner brands and top furnace brands.
How do you find a local reliable cooling and heating installer?
When you're needing to install a new home cooling or heating system, it can become an urgent situation if your home’s temperature starts to become extremely cold or unpleasantly warm. Finding a reliable local HVAC contractor fast is possible. The best strategy is to ask friends and family for recommendations first.

It is then smart to vet the recommended contractors by doing research and using a service like Modernize to instantly compare multiple quotes from the top HVAC contractors. We provide information on local service professionals along with their current Google business ratings, Better Business Bureau ratings, and even recent reviews from homeowners in your neighborhood who also completed HVAC projects with those same heating and cooling contractors.
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