Cost to Install HVAC System with Ductwork
The cost to install an HVAC system with ductwork ranges from $5,000 to $12,500. You’ll pay more if you’re getting a separate furnace and air conditioner.
Installing a new system may take several days, compared to a few hours for replacement. Putting in new ducts and vents takes most of that time, since it may require cutting into walls.
Adding HVAC to a House
Adding HVAC to a house costs $1,500 to $12,500, depending on what you need. For example, you’ll pay less to add central air to a home that already has a furnace and ductwork.
If you don’t have ducts, it may be worthwhile to consider a ductless mini-split or high-velocity HVAC system. These options cost more for replacement, but the total may run less than a new installation with ductwork.
Commercial HVAC Installation Cost
Commercial HVAC installation costs range from $7,000 to $30,000, depending on the system and size. The higher price relates mostly to a larger output needed for a bigger building.
Cost to Add Zones to HVAC
Adding zones to existing HVAC costs $2,000 to $3,000. If you want to install a new system, you can expect to pay $7,500 to $12,500.
Zoned systems use a special thermostat to check various parts of your house. Dampers in the ducting open and close, so the airflow goes directly to the rooms that need heating or cooling.
Cost Factors for Choosing or Installing an HVAC System
Certain factors can add up to $2,000 or more to your HVAC installation price. Keep these aspects in mind as you plan.
Energy-efficient HVAC systems cost 10 to 20 percent more than standard models. You can find these products by looking for the Energy Star rating.
To earn an Energy Star rating, a product or system must meet certain efficiency standards. Manufacturers earn this designation through testing by an EPA-approved third party.
Rebates can help you save up to $3,000 on the purchase and installation of a new HVAC system. Your options depend on the year and the type of system.
Rebates usually save the most on larger, expensive systems like a geothermal heat pump. This is because they can decrease your energy consumption by 50 to 75 percent.
Keep in mind that rebates and tax credits may expire yearly. You’ll usually need a dated receipt to qualify. Be sure to confirm that it’s still available before you buy.
Units with a high SEER rating may cost $1,000 to $2,000 more than average. Comparing ratings helps you choose an air conditioner or heat pump that meets your needs.
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) tells you how much energy the unit uses in relation to cooling load. Since this also depends on your home and where you live, it isn’t an exact prediction of system efficiency.
The size of the unit is the biggest determiner of price. For example, a 5-ton AC costs $3,000 to $8,000, compared to $1,500 to $3,000 for a 2-ton model.
For HVAC, size doesn’t usually refer to actual dimensions. It means output or capacity, typically set by tons or BTUs.
Bigger is not necessarily better, and smaller isn't always more efficient. If your system is too small, it will run constantly to keep up with the temperature. Units that are too large won't run long enough to control the humidity.
Roof-mounted HVAC costs up to $1,000 more for labor. These systems are harder to install because pros must find a spot that will support the weight. They also have to use more equipment to lift the unit.
Roof-mounted systems offer heating and cooling in one unit. They can be a great choice for properties with limited ground space. Some municipalities require owners to construct a parapet wall to shield the HVAC system from public viewing—ask your HVAC pro if installing a roof-mounted system.
The cost to insulate a house ranges from $1,000 to $2,100. Proper insulation can decrease your heating and cooling costs by 10 to 15 percent.
Insulation isn’t usually a part of your HVAC system installation. You may want to consider it if:
You live in an older house.
Your attic is stiflingly hot in summer.
You have cold or drafty rooms in winter.
Installing a thermostat costs $125 to $275, depending on the type. Most HVAC technicians will include one with the purchase of a new AC, furnace or heat pump. Plan to pay up to $100 extra for smart models or those that connect to your Wi-Fi.
Programmable thermostats are more efficient than manual thermostats. You create settings to adjust the temperature automatically at certain times.
You may need to consider these added cost factors:
Multi-stage Operation: Increases energy efficiency by adjusting speed.
Filtration Systems: Removes dust and allergens more effectively.
Humidity Control: Regulates moisture in very dry or very humid regions.
How do I buy an HVAC unit?
Most homeowners buy an HVAC unit from a qualified installer. In some cases, you may be able to buy equipment directly from the manufacturer or a wholesaler.
What is the cheapest HVAC system?
The cheapest HVAC system is a window AC. Installing a window air conditioner costs $150 to $500.
How long does an HVAC system last?
HVAC systems typically last 10 to 20 years. They may run longer than that, but they lose efficiency.
Can you install your own HVAC system?
Since HVAC equipment is heavy and tricky to install, it’s not a DIY job. Improper placement can cost you up to $1,000 in repairs. When you search for HVAC contractors near you, remember to get at least three quotes.
Why is HVAC so expensive?
HVAC involves large, complicated pieces of equipment that can take several hours for a professional to install. In exchange, you get effective heating and cooling for 10 years or more.