How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Air Handler?

Typical Range:

$1,500 - $3,400

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated September 27, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Replacing an air handler costs between $1,500 and $3,400, including the unit and installation, with most people paying around $2,450. This breaks down to around $700 to $1,600 for the air handler and $800 to $1,800 for the labor to replace the old air handler with a new one. 

Air handlers connect to an air conditioner or heat pump to provide cooled or heated air for an indoor space. They come in various sizes and usually last 10 to 15 years. They may use refrigerant, chilled water, or hot water to treat the air. A fan coil unit is a type of handler that doesn't require ductwork.

Since putting in a new air handler can be very complicated, plan to hire an HVAC pro near you to do it. Additionally, most manufacturers require installation from a pro for the warranty to remain valid.

Average Cost to Install an Air Handler

Average Cost High Cost Low Cost
$2,450 $3,400 $1,500

Air Handler Prices

How much do air handlers cost? Air handler prices vary considerably by size and type. A small 1 1/2-ton hydronic air handler is the most affordable option, while large-capacity 5-ton variable ones cost significantly more. 

Air Handler Prices by Size

Choose an air handler based on your home's square footage and—if in doubt—size up. Your air conditioner pro can easily recommend the correct air handler size and provide the correct option for your system when they come out to do the repairs.

Home Size in Sq. Ft. Average Cost Range for Unit and Installation Average Cost
600 – 900 $600 – $800 $700
1,000 – 1,200 $700 – $1,200 $950
1,300 – 1,500 $800 – $1,400 $1,100
1,600 – 1,800 $900 – $1,500 $1,200
1,900 – 2,100 $1,000 – $1,600 $1,300
2,200 – 2,500 $1,200 – $1,800 $1,500
2,600 – 3,000 $1,300 – $2,100 $1,700
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Hydronic Air Handler Prices

Hydronic or chilled water air handler prices range from $600 to $3,500. The prices relate heavily to size, and these often run 4 to 5 tons or more. Hydronic handlers connect to a boiler or water-source heat pump. The heated or cooled water passes through the coil to warm or chill the air from the blower.

Variable-Speed Air Handler Prices

Variable-speed air handlers run from $1,000 to $3,500. Models with a variable motor tend to cost more because they offer consistent cooling or heating. Homeowners can also choose single- or multispeed units from most major brands, with single-speed models being the most affordable.

Air Handler Prices by Brand

Air handler prices vary by brand, as well as by size and type. Take a look at some of the most popular brands and their typical costs, including installation.

Air Handler Brand Average Cost Range to Replace Average Cost to Replace
American Standard $2,000 – $3,000 $2,500
Armstrong Air $2,000 – $3,000 $2,500
Bryant $1,800 – $3,000 $2,400
Carrier/AirQuest $1,000 – $3,400 $2,200
Coleman $1,500 – $2,400 $1,950
Daikin/Amana $1,200 – $2,800 $2,000
Goodman $1,000 – $2,400 $1,700
Lennox $1,800 – $3,400 $2,600
Rheem/Ruud $1,000 – $2,600 $1,800
Trane $1,500 – $3,400 $2,450
York $1,500 – $3,000 $2,250

Commercial vs. Residential HVAC Handler Costs

Air handlers intended for commercial or industrial buildings cost approximately $1,500 to $3,500, compared to around $700 to $1,600 for residential models. The roughly 56% difference stems from the larger unit size required to cycle air through commercial spaces.

Fan Coil Unit Prices

Fan coil units range from $400 to $3,500, depending on the size and type. The term is often used interchangeably with air handlers, but fan coil units aren’t always the same thing. 

Air handlers cool and move air to a new location, while fan coils simply move air in an existing space. The least-expensive models run from $300 to $800. Generally, property owners install these products in commercial or industrial spaces that need zoned cooling or don’t have ductwork.

Chilled Water Fan Coil Unit

A chilled water fan coil unit costs approximately $600 to $3,500. It uses cold water instead of refrigerant to chill the air. The size of this product measures in cubic feet per minute (CFM), ranging from 200 to 1,200 CFM.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Handlers

A ductless mini-split air handler costs around $400 to $1,800 for the first unit and $400 to $1,000 for additional ones. For ductless AC units, homeowners connect multiple smaller handlers to the outside air conditioning equipment. Homeowners with older homes or little space for ductwork prefer these systems as an alternative to traditional central air.

Cost to Replace an Air Handler

You can break down the cost of replacing an air handler into a few different elements. These are the cost of the new unit, the cost of removing the old unit, and the labor to install the new unit. 

Cost Breakdown Average Cost Range Average Cost
New Air Handler$700 – $1,500$1,100
Installation$1,200 – $1,800$900
Remove/Dispose of Old Unit$300 – $500$450

Cost to Replace a Heat Pump and Air Handler

The cost to install a heat pump runs $5,500 on average and usually includes the installation of a new handler. A ground-source heat pump ranges from $10,000 to $25,000.

Cost to Replace a Condenser and Air Handler

To replace the condenser and air handler, you'll pay between $1,200 and $4,200. It's common to replace these two components at the same time because they need to match in tonnage and seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER), a measure of the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. 

Air Handler Replacement Parts

The cost to repair an air conditioner averages $350. If your unit needs replacement parts, check your warranty to see if it’s covered. The price of replacement can approach the cost of a new unit.

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Air Handler Replacement Part Average Cost Range Average Cost
Evaporator Coil$650 – $1,200$930
Blower Motor$500 – $1,800$1,150
Blower Fan$200 – $500$350

Evaporator Coil

An evaporator coil replacement costs between $650 and $1,200, including removing the old one and installing the new unit. Evaporator coils pull heat from the air to help circulate cold air instead. 

Blower Motor or Fan

Replacing a blower motor costs between $500 and $1,800. Blower motors push conditioned air back into your home via your ductwork. On the other hand, replacing a blower fan costs around $200 to $500.

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Air Handler Installation Costs by Room 

Where you're replacing the air handler can impact labor cost, as tighter or more difficult-to-access locations can increase the project price because more challenging jobs result in more time and, therefore, labor costs. 

Attic Air Handler

Air handlers for the attic average $700 to $1,500. Your HVAC professional can install many models in this location. Assuming the space is easily accessible, the installation range of $800 to $1,800 should cover most jobs.

Be sure to clear the area of debris and look for signs of pests before hiring a pro. Attics often have insect or rodent infestations that require an exterminator. Hiring a pest control costs $180 on average.

Closet Air Handler

At a price range of about $500 to $3,500, most units are designed for installation in one of several locations. Many units run about 2 feet wide, 2 feet deep, and 4 feet high. You also need at least 10 to 12 inches of airflow on all sides. 

If your closet isn’t big enough to accommodate the new unit, you may need to select a smaller model or make the closet bigger. Hanging new drywall costs around $40 to $60 per panel and may be necessary for retrofits.

Crawl Space Air Handler

Air handlers to fit a crawl space cost around $500 to $2,200, depending on the type. Homeowners may have a limited selection tied to the actual dimensions of the unit, with some manufacturers selling air handlers specifically designed for placement in this location.

Check out your crawl space for possible problems before you schedule service. If the installer notices a rodent infestation, they may ask you to pay the price of rodent removal, which runs about $320.

Air Handler Unit Cost Factors

Aside from the unit's size, brand, and cost, the price of replacing an air handler is also influenced by labor costs, electrical upgrades, and the state of your ductwork.


The labor cost of installing an air handler ranges from $200 to $2,100, with most homeowners paying around $800 to $1,800. Larger or complicated projects, such as a zoned HVAC system, may cost more.

Installation typically includes these tasks:

  1. Preparing the space for the unit

  2. Securing the unit in the correct spot

  3. Attaching existing connections

  4. Testing the new system for proper function

  5. Cleaning up after the job is done

Electrical Upgrades

If you need any electrical upgrades, such as new wiring, you'll have to hire an electrician. Typically, electricians charge around $50 to $100 per hour, and installing new wiring costs around $3 to $5 per square foot. 


If your ductwork is damaged, you may want to replace it to improve efficiency and safety. Replacing ductwork costs around $10 to $25 per linear foot. If the ducts are in reasonably good condition but haven't been serviced in a while, you may want to consider having them seen. Cleaning ducts and vents costs around $380. 

DIY Air Handler Installation vs. Hiring a Pro

A proper installation provides a better guarantee that your air handler will work well for a life span of 10 to 15 years. Hiring an HVAC contractor to identify the best choices for your home will help you get the best investment. Manufacturers usually require a professional installation in case of any warranty claims. Ask a few pros for a quote, but keep in mind that the less costly one isn't always the best. Locate air conditioning installers near you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does an air handler work?

Air handlers work to move air and refrigerant to manage the indoor temperature. The unit draws air across the evaporator coil and uses refrigerant or water to absorb heat from the air and release it into the environment. It then blows the treated air through the ductwork or straight into the room via the blower motor or fan.

Where is an air handler located?

The handler is located next to the ductwork, usually in the attic or crawl space. Some homes have a closet designated for the unit. Air handlers are fairly large metal boxes that may resemble a furnace. Inside, you'll find the fan, motor, and coils, along with all the other components that make up the handling unit. 

What’s the difference between an air conditioner and air handler?

An air handler is a common part of a split-system air conditioner or heat pump. The exterior unit, which contains the compressor and condenser, sends refrigerant to the system to remove heat from the air and expel cooled air through the vents. The air handler itself moves air, sending it over the coils and then, once cooled, back out into the room or the ductwork.

Furnace vs. heat pump vs. air handler – how do they differ?

Furnaces consume energy to produce heat. This can be coal, oil, gas, or electricity. Heat pumps work like air conditioning units, running on electricity but drawing heat from outside and transferring it into your home instead of taking hot air out of your home like an air conditioner. Air handlers move the conditioned air through the ducts and vents in your home, whether you're using a heat pump or complete air conditioning system.

What size air handler should I get?

Know the square footage of the space to know what kind of air handler to get, then multiply that figure by 25 to get the British thermal units (BTUs). Divide the total by 12,000, rounding to the nearest 0.5 to find the tonnage.

For example, if you have a home that’s 1,000 square feet, do the following:

  • 1,000 x 25 = 25,000 BTUs

  • 25,000 / 12,000 = 2.08333

  • Tonnage required: 2