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How Much Does HVAC Installation Cost? (2023)

Typical HVAC Installation Range: $2,500–$8,000

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By Alexis Carthan 4/11/2023

Your heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system is crucial in keeping your home comfortable all year round. While installation costs vary widely based on your needs, a typical HVAC system installation ranges from $2,500–$8,000.

Check out our HVAC replacement cost guide for the three most common heating and cooling systems: air conditioners, furnace heaters, and heat pumps. Learn more about each system and how much you should expect to pay for a new one.

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Typical Cost Range: $2,500 – $8,000
Outdoor HVAC Unit
Central AC Installation

Expect to pay somewhere between $2,500 and $7,000 for the total cost of an air conditioner.

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A home high energy efficient furnace in a basement
Furnace Installation

The total cost to install a furnace can range from around $1,000–$6,000.

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heat pump outside of a house
Heat Pump Installation

In general, the cost of heat pump installation ranges from around $500–$30,000.

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HVAC Installation Cost by Type

To understand what goes into your HVAC’s replacement cost, you’ll need to know what type of installation you need. HVAC is a broad term that can represent multiple systems in your home that work together to heat or cool your living space.

For instance, if it’s a hot summer and your air conditioner goes out due to old age, you won’t necessarily need to replace your furnace heater but will probably need a new or repaired AC unit. Each type of HVAC system comes in various models and subtypes, depending on your preference and home compatibility.

Air Conditioner Costs

Type Cost (Includes Installation)

Portable AC

$100–$500*

Window AC unit

$150–$800**

Ductless mini-split

$600–$20,000

Central AC

$1,500–$4,000

*No installation required.

**You can typically install window AC units on your own.

Air conditioning is crucial to keep your house comfortable during summer. Unfortunately, most AC units break down during the hottest weather since that’s when your system works the hardest. An air conditioner generally costs $3,880–$7,910 including installation, unless you buy a low-cost window unit to cool a smaller room.* This price fluctuates significantly depending on the system type and whether or not you need to install or replace ductwork.

Here are more details about the most common air conditioning units.

  • Central air conditioners ($1,500–$4,000): These are some of the most common air conditioners. They pull air from inside the house and compress it in an outdoor condensing unit into a gas. This gas travels through coils and turns into hot liquid, which then travels to the evaporator coils. There, it transforms into a cool evaporated gas and circulates throughout the home’s ducts.
  • Ductless mini-split air conditioners ($600–$20,000): Intended for smaller spaces, such as apartments, split ACs cost roughly the same as central units. They connect an outdoor unit consisting of a compressor and condenser to one or more indoor units. The indoor units are mounted on a wall and use air blowers. The indoor and outdoor units are connected through tubing. Refrigerant circulates through all units in different ways depending on the type of usage. The price can quickly add up depending on the number of zones, BTU size, SEER rating, and brand.
  • Portable air conditioners ($100–$500): These units are single, free-standing units with all their components enclosed inside. Their design allows you to move them around easily, and they use a hose that takes air from inside a room and releases it outdoors. Some units use a dual hose that pulls air from the outdoors using one hose. This air cools the compressor and is then released outdoors from the other hose.
  • Window air conditioners ($150–$800): These operate like central air conditioners, but they pull air from outside, cool it, then blow it through fans into the room where the unit is placed. These units are smaller and weaker than central AC units but can cool up to around 1,500 square feet with the correct size.

*Prices via Angi and HomeGuide.

Furnace Costs

Type Cost (Including Installation)

Electric

$2,000–$7,000

Natural gas

$3,800–$10,000

Oil

$6,750–$10,000

Furnaces are the most common heating system type and work by forcing air through your home’s ducts and vents to warm the house. A furnace is separate from your air conditioner, but it typically uses the same ductwork for circulation and ventilation. The total cost to install a furnace can range from $2,000$10,000, depending on the type.

Jim Fuson, owner of 21st Century Home Inspections, says the region where you live should be your main consideration when determining which heating system to get. “Further south, we see a lot of heat pumps, which is an all-electrical system. They don’t perform very well as you move further north in latitude, so you’ll see a lot of gas furnaces still up there.”

Here are more details about the three common types of furnaces:

  • Electric furnace ($2,000 –$7,000): This heater is less efficient than other options, but it’s better for the environment. Electric furnaces have long life spans up to 30 years, are easier to maintain, and are less expensive than gas or oil furnaces. However, they can noticeably increase your monthly energy bills compared to gas furnaces.
  • Natural gas furnace ( $3,800–$10,000): Natural gas furnaces are the most common and will likely be recommended by your HVAC professional if you need replacement. They operate by forcing hot air into your home’s ducts after heating it with the fire from a gas-fueled furnace.
  • Oil furnace ($6,750–$10,000): Although less popular than gas furnaces, you might need an oil furnace if your home isn’t connected to natural gas. Oil furnaces operate similarly to gas furnaces but can be more expensive to run due to high oil prices.

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Heat Pump Costs

Type Cost (Including Installation)

Ductless mini-split

$2,000–$14,500

Dual fuel (hybrid)

$2,500–$10,000

Gas-fired

$3,800–$10,000

Air-source

$4,500–$8,000

Geothermal

$6,000–$20,000

Although most homes have split heating and cooling units, high-efficiency hybrid options, such as heat pumps, do all the work in one unit. Heat pumps cost more than other HVAC units, ranging from $2,000$20,000 including installation.

Here are more details about each common type of heat pump:

  • Air-source ($4,500–$8,000): Air-source heat pumps are the most common. They absorb heat energy by pulling in the air from outside your home. They compress the heat into hot air and send it through the home’s ducts during the cold months. They can also turn hot air into cool air and circulate it through the home during warmer months.
  • Geothermal ($6,000–$20,000): Also known as ground-source heat pumps, these are typically the most expensive HVAC systems to install since they use temperatures from the ground to heat or cool your home. They also require extensive labor and underground digging to place the piping.
  • Ductless mini-split ($2,000–$14,500): Rather than circulating hot or cool air through ductwork, this type of heat pump comes in multiple smaller units placed in various rooms throughout the house. This may be ideal for homes that don’t currently have ductwork installed or for people who want to avoid the cost of installing new ductwork.
  • Dual fuel ($2,500–$10,000): These HVAC units combine standard heating and cooling systems with the efficiency of an air-source heat pump. If you live in a colder area, this option could allow your home to receive the warmth it needs through a furnace heater that kicks in when the outside temperature is too cold for the heat pump to work on its own.
  • Gas-fired ($3,800–$10,000): These heat pumps are common for commercial buildings and homes larger than 4,000 square feet. They’re similar to air-source heat pumps but use natural gas rather than electricity.

Factors That Affect HVAC Replacement Cost

Several factors affect the cost of HVAC installation and replacement. Here are the key things to know.

  • Type: The installation cost of your air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump will depend on the type you choose. For instance, while a window AC unit will only cost a few hundred dollars and can be installed yourself, a geothermal heat pump can cost tens of thousands of dollars for the unit and installation. Before calling your professional HVAC installation company, determine which type of system fits in your budget.
  • Size: The size of HVAC systems is measured by British thermal units (Btus), which measure the amount of energy needed to condition the air in your home within an hour. The more square footage you have, the more Btus you’ll need for your HVAC system to cool the entire home.
  • Efficiency ratings: According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the current AC units on the market can save homeowners 30%–50% on monthly energy bills compared with older systems from 30–40 years ago. Air conditioners with higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings and heaters with higher Heating Seasonal Performance Ratio (HSPF) ratings can save you money long-term, but they typically come with a higher price tag.
  • Ductwork: If you need ductwork repairs or replacements, the total installation cost for your HVAC system will be higher than if your ductwork doesn’t need any attention. Additionally, upgrading your unit may require replacing ductwork since some higher-efficiency heating or cooling units are only compatible with certain ducts.

In some cases, you may not need to replace your HVAC unit. Most HVAC units can last 1520 years, so if you have an issue with your heating or cooling system and it’s not that old, consider hiring a contractor to help repair the system before completely replacing it.

Take your time to understand all parts of your HVAC system,” says Fuson. “[Your HVAC] runs 24 hours a day, year-round, whether it’s heating or cooling.” He recommends getting your HVAC serviced annually or at least every couple of years to prevent issues and maximize your HVAC system’s life span.

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Typical Cost Range: $2,500 – $8,000

If your air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump needs repairs rather than an installation, you could save a substantial amount of money. Below are some average repair costs for HVAC systems to give you an idea of what to expect.

Average Costs of Common HVAC Repairs

Common Repair Average Cost

TXV/TEV

$100–$500

Circuit board

$100–$600

Fan motor

$200–$700

Evaporator coil

$400–$1,000

Condenser coil

$500–$1,500

Ductwork

$500–$2,000

Compressor

$750–$2,000

Furnace

$2,600–$6,200


FAQ About HVAC Systems

What is the best type of HVAC unit?

Determining the best type of HVAC for your home depends on your specific needs, your local climate, your budget, and your house’s compatibility. In general, heat pumps offer the most efficient HVAC systems since they convert temperatures from the air, water, or ground to condition the air that circulates throughout your home, requiring less gas or electricity.

However, they may not be best for homeowners living in colder climates, with temperatures consistently dropping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also be more expensive than other HVAC options. We recommend consulting with an HVAC professional to help determine which system makes the most sense for your home.

What size AC unit do I need?

Since the size of your home determines how many Btus your air conditioner should have, the size of the unit you need will vary depending on your house’s exact square footage. Choosing an AC unit with the right amount of Btus is important to ensure you’re getting efficient energy use.

For example, while some small rooms with 100–200 square feet may only need a unit with around 5,000 Btus, larger homes with more than 2,000 square feet will likely require a unit with 34,000 Btus or more.

What SEER rating should I consider?

The best SEER rating for your HVAC unit can vary depending on your budget. High-efficiency units are typically more expensive but can save you money in the long run by helping you save on your monthly energy bills.

Depending on where you live, the DOE enforces a minimum SEER rating of 13 or 14, but you can find air conditioners with up to 22 or 23 SEER ratios. You can also get federal tax credits for purchasing split systems higher than 16 SEER and package systems higher than 14 SEER.

Can I install an HVAC unit by myself?

While you may be able to install window AC units on your own, we don’t recommend installing central air conditioners, furnaces, or heat pumps without professional training and proper equipment. You’ll have to spend money on equipment, materials, permitting, and the unit itself. We recommend investing in an HVAC contractor who will do the job correctly and whose price already builds these expenses in. You may find you save money in the long run by enlisting a licensed HVAC company.

Why is replacing HVAC so expensive?

Several factors make HVAC replacement expensive:

  1. Cost of equipment: New HVAC system costs can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the system type, brand, and size.
  2. Labor costs: Replacing an HVAC system requires the services of skilled technicians, who typically charge by the hour for their time, skills, materials, and licensure.
  3. Permits and inspections: Depending on local regulations, permits and inspections may be required for HVAC replacements.
  4. Upgrades and enhancements: Costs will increase if you choose to use an HVAC replacement as an opportunity to upgrade, such as adding new features or upgrading to a more energy-efficient system.

These are only a few of the cost factors for HVAC replacement. Ultimately, a new HVAC system results in long-term energy savings, improved indoor air quality, and increased home value, making it a worthwhile investment.

Why is my energy bill so high?

Your HVAC could likely be the cause of abnormally high energy costs. This can be caused by several issues, including dirty air filters, duct leaks, failing motors or other parts, low refrigerant, lack of maintenance, and simple aging of the appliance. If you notice a substantial increase in your energy bill, we recommend reaching out to an HVAC pro to help determine if there’s something wrong with your heating and cooling system.

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