In the HVAC world, we’re always answering hard questions. Day in and day out, we discover answers to such conundrums as:
“Why are my energy bills so high?”
“Why is this room so much hotter than that room?”
“Can my AC be set up to remove more humidity?”
And so on.
Truth is that every homeowner has different questions about their situation. But when it’s time to replace your AC or furnace, there’s one thing that everybody asks about.
Everyone wants to know, “How much is a new HVAC System?”
And that question is really difficult to answer without a thorough HVAC consultation.
The thing about HVAC costs is that every home is different. In some cases, you’re replacing what used to be the perfect air conditioner for your home. You don’t need anything else done besides swapping a couple of pieces of equipment for a couple of new pieces with identical specs. In situations like these, the cost question is pretty easy to answer.
But in most homes, it simply isn’t that straightforward.
One home might need some ductwork modifications. Another one might need a different size furnace. Still, another house might need zoning or an update to the existing zoning arrangement. The next house might need all of these things.
So, the cost of an HVAC system depends on your specific needs at your specific home.
If you’re asking, “How much is a new AC unit?” or “What’s a furnace going to cost me?” here are the things we consider when preparing a quote.
Toward the end of this article, we’ll look at some hard numbers for costs. But first, let’s consider some of the variable factors that impact that cost.
During an initial consultation, we examine your home, your existing HVAC equipment, and your ductwork to determine the overall scope of your installation. Once we agree to work together, we also take some measurements so that we know we’re quoting you on the right type of system. All of these exercises help us determine the cost.
Specifically, we look at:
Your line set is the copper tubing where the AC’s refrigerant lives. We need to know how big it is, where it runs, and whether it’s going to be the right type for your new system.
If we can reuse it, great! If not, a new line set will likely be part of the cost of a new system.
Are your ducts the right size for the current system? Will they be the right size for your home and the new system? Again, it’s great when they are, but they aren’t always. In many installations, part of the cost includes getting properly sized ducts for your home.
In many situations, it’s either not possible or not advisable to replace an HVAC system with the same size system as before. When this is the case, we have to make sure the new system will fit. If it won’t, the next step is to determine whether modifications to the home are needed or whether you need a different system design.
An example might be a homeowner who wants to upgrade to a high-efficiency furnace. These furnaces have dedicated pipes for combustion air, so we’d need to make sure there was a way to route the new infrastructure.
Sometimes, clients with two-story homes want to add zoning to their system. That way, they can get better temperature control on different floors of the house. When this is the case, the installation becomes somewhat more involved and will cost more. You might also have multiple thermostats whereas there was only one before.
It’s also not uncommon for a client to want their zoning system to work better, in which case we may have to modify the way that system moves air in addition to installing the new equipment. Again, this affects the cost.
For some installations, we’ll need to run new electrical wiring. This adds some to the cost as well.
Different AC and furnace sizes have different costs. That’s not a cost we set; it just comes from the manufacturer. For instance, a 4-ton AC is physically larger than a 1.5-ton AC and just costs more.
Two-stage and variable speed HVAC systems are quieter, more efficient, and offer better comfort when compared to standard units. If you want this kind of system, the up-front costs are higher.
Do you need a whole new system?
You might not! An example would be when your AC stops cooling during the summer, and we discover that you’ve got a refrigerant leak. If that leak is coming from the evaporator coil and the coil is under warranty, we can just replace the coil. It’s a lot cheaper!
What’s the application?
Not all system replacements occur in typical single-family homes or apartment buildings. Depending on where they live, some clients need special arrangements to replace their HVAC system.
One example is a family living in a high-rise apartment building. If the compressor lives on the roof, we might have to rent a crane to swap out the outdoor AC unit! Needless to say, this affects the cost.
Actual costs for a new HVAC system
When you consider all of the above, the cost for a new residential HVAC system in our market (Atlanta, Georgia) usually works out to:
- $5K-$8K for a complete AC/furnace replacement or all-electric system replacement
- $4K-$6K for just an AC replacement
That’s for standard installations of standard equipment. If you want a variable speed system, your costs will be higher:
- $8K-$12K for a complete system replacement that includes a variable speed furnace
- $12K-$16K for a complete two-stage or variable speed AC and furnace
The ranges provided account for some variability in each client’s situation. Still, your cost could be higher if there are lots of ancillary tasks we need to perform (ductwork and/or zoning changes, etc.) to install the right system with the right components.
Please avoid over-the-phone quotes
Given the above information, it’s hard to see how someone could quote you on a new system without ever visiting your home. Believe it or not, some companies actually do this!
We think over-the-phone quotes are a bad practice that increases your risk of getting an HVAC system that’s the wrong size and type for your home.
Honestly, it’s impossible to know how much a new HVAC system will cost without having a professional come to your home and do a rigorous analysis. You’re rolling the dice if you let someone quote you over the phone and then take them seriously.
Lately, costs have been going up.
As we write this, it’s the summer of 2021. Due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic, material costs have gone up and HVAC contractors like us have been hit with multiple price increases in just the last few months. Unfortunately, those costs get passed down to the consumer.
Please keep in mind that the numbers above might be different by the time you read this article!
If you want a fair price for an outstanding HVAC system installation…
We serve the Metro Atlanta market and go the extra mile to ensure you get the right AC and furnace for your home! If you need a quote for a new HVAC system, get in touch with us!
We’ll make an appointment for a consultation and work out how much your new HVAC system will cost.