HVAC units

Your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer. It also circulates fresh air in your home to eliminate dangerous allergens and dust. Because your HVAC is a crucial home system, it should perform optimally. It may be time for a replacement if it’s not working as efficiently as it once did. 

A new HVAC system averages $5,000 to $12,000. Many factors influence where your price falls within that range. This guide breaks down all the necessary information in simple terms to prepare you for HVAC installation.

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New HVAC System Cost

HVAC replacement costs as low as $3,000 but can range from $5,000 to $12,000, including installation costs. Most homeowners pay an average of $7,000.*

You may also need to replace ductwork when installing a new central air conditioning (AC) unit or furnace. This costs around $2,100 for an average-sized, single-story 2,000-square-foot home. 

Equipment type has the biggest influence on a new HVAC system’s cost. Homeowners should check their old heating and cooling units to know which HVAC system to order. 

There are also many heating and cooling system combinations to choose from, depending on your local climate and home specifications. Consult an HVAC technician to determine which cooling and heating system combination best matches your needs and budget. 

Here are the most popular HVAC unit types and their average costs, including labor:

  • Electric furnace: $2,500–$3,500
  • Gas furnace: $3,000–$4,000
  • Ductless split AC: $3,000–$5,000
  • Oil furnace: $5,000–$8,000
  • Central AC: $5,000–$10,000
  • Heat pump: $5,500–$8,000
  • Geothermal heat pump: $15,000–$40,000



Factors That Influence HVAC System Cost

The HVAC unit type has the most significant influence on cost, but other factors can increase your total.


Like other home appliances, the HVAC unit’s brand affects its price. Recognizable brands such as Trane and American Standard usually charge more but are typically higher quality and perform better in larger spaces. An especially energy-efficient brand will also be more expensive. We suggest discussing what brand you should purchase with an HVAC pro, as you may need a specific brand to match other HVAC system components. 


Your home’s location also determines what HVAC system you should install. For example, a home in the southern United States requires a sizable air conditioner capable of cooling the home during humid, high-temperature summers. A home in the northern United States needs a larger heating capacity for frigid winters. 

Efficiency Ratings

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports that current AC units save homeowners 30% to 50% on monthly energy bills compared to systems from 30 to 40 years ago. Look for air conditioners with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings and heaters with higher Heating Seasonal Performance Ratio (HSPF) ratings. These ratings refer to a unit’s energy efficiency: The higher the efficiency rating, the more money you’ll save long term. Be aware that units with higher efficiency ratings typically cost more up-front.

Hidden Costs

An HVAC tech may not include certain installation costs in your initial estimate, but you should factor them in to be safe. Below are some items to ask your HVAC expert about.

  • Permit fees: Your local city or county building department may require a permit. If so, the unit will also require an inspection by a building department representative. This process comes with an additional fee. 
  • Additional contractor work: HVAC installation sometimes requires additional work, such as plumbing and electrical, to complete the job correctly. A contractor may also have to modify your home’s framing or surfacing to bring the unit up to code. All of this additional work will increase your cost. 

Home Size, Age, and Layout

Your home’s age, layout, and size greatly influence your HVAC system’s total cost. For example, a 2,000-square-foot home requires a larger AC and furnace than a 900-square-foot home.

If your home’s windows are well-sealed and energy-efficient, you’ll need less AC capacity to keep temperatures comfortable. Your home’s layout also influences the required AC or furnace size due to the insulation in the foundation, roof, attic, basements, flooring, and more. A home with poor insulation requires a more efficient HVAC system than a well-insulated one.

If you live in an older home, testing and removing potential asbestos or lead paint may be an extra cost. 


Labor for HVAC installation costs $500 to $3,000 on average. Depending on the job’s size and complexity, installation can take six to ten hours. Replacing an old HVAC system takes longer and costs more. If the installation requires new ductwork, the project could take an additional one to three days.

Unit Size

The size of the unit also influences its cost. An HVAC technician will calculate the required size of your new furnace or air conditioning unit based on British Thermal Units (BTUs). BTU measures the amount of energy required to raise a pound of water’s temperature by one degree. The tech will check your home’s total square footage to calculate this.

Twelve thousand BTUs equals 1 ton. For example, a 2.5-ton air conditioner equals 30,000 BTUs. The average AC unit can cool roughly 400 square feet of house per 1 ton of AC cooling capacity. This would produce 12,000 BTUs per 400 square feet. Below is a breakdown of central AC units’ average cost based on BTU.

Central Air Conditioner SizeBTUsAverage Cost
1.5 tons18,000 BTUs$2,000
2 tons24,000 BTUs$2,650
2.5 tons30,000 BTUs$2,900
3 tons36,000 BTUs$3,000
3.5 tons42,000 BTUs$3,500
4 tons48,000 BTUs$3,750
5 tons60,000 BTUs$3,900



Other Repairs and Replacements

HVAC installation is an excellent time to schedule other HVAC-related repairs or replacements. Below are some other repairs you may want to make during an HVAC installation or update. 


Adding ductwork is common during  HVAC installation. We recommend new ductwork if you’re replacing the entire HVAC system. This ensures the ductwork is free of dust, allergens, leaks, and cracks. HVAC duct replacement costs an extra $500 to $2,000. If only a small section of your home’s ductwork needs replacing, you could pay just $10 to $20 per linear foot (plus labor costs). 

General HVAC Repairs 

You can save a lot of money by repairing your air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump instead of fully replacing them. Mending an AC that’s leaking water costs less than installing an entirely new central air conditioner. We suggest consulting an HVAC expert to inquire about the following repairs before paying for a full HVAC replacement: 

  • AC leaking water: $200–$1,300
  • Clogged air filter: $75–$180
  • Compressor replacement: $600–$1,200
  • Cracked heat exchanger: $2,000–$3,500
  • Damaged blower bearings: $30–$150
  • Damaged blower belt: $30–$110
  • Drainage problems: $100–$150
  • Ductwork: $750–$3,300
  • Electrical circuit repair: $100–$150
  • Fan or blower repair: $450–$650
  • Frozen condenser coils: $250–$1,000


HVAC installation is a great time to add insulation, especially if you live in an older home. Extra insulation makes your HVAC system run more efficiently, helping you save money on energy bills. In addition, insulated ductwork eliminates condensation and mold. Insulation costs range from $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the project’s scale. 


A new HVAC system may call for a new thermostat. Thermostat installation typically costs $100 to $300, depending on the thermostat type. Many HVAC installers include the cost of installing a thermostat with your new AC unit, heat pump, or furnace. Smart thermostats cost more than standard manual ones, and programmable thermostats that self-regulate heating and cooling cost somewhere in the middle. 


Zones are dampers in the ductwork that regulate and redirect air to specific areas. Adding new zones to your existing HVAC system can raise the price by $2,000 to $3,000. Installing an entirely new zoned system costs $7,500 to $12,500. A zoned system requires a specific thermostat for every zone in the home.



Contact an HVAC Professional

It’s best to let professionals handle HVAC installations rather than attempting a do-it-yourself (DIY) installation. We recommend finding HVAC contractors that service your address and comparing estimates to find the best fit for your budget and needs. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About New HVAC System Cost



When to Consider a Broader Home Inspection

When purchasing or selling a home, it is critical to complete a thorough inspection to understand the condition of the property. A standard home inspection includes an assessment of a home’s systems and physical structure. After the process, the inspector will provide a report detailing their findings and recommendations.

If you are thinking about buying a home or putting your home on the market, we strongly recommend finding an ASHI home inspector in your area.