How Much Does an Air Handler Cost?

Typical Range:

$700 - $5,600

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated June 9, 2021

Written by HomeAdvisor.

*costs include material, installation and other labor costs

Air Handler Costs

the average cost to install an air handler is $2,200 or $700 to $5,600.

An air handler costs $500 to $3,500, with most homeowners paying $700 to $1,500. This does not include installation, which averages $1,500 and ranges $200 to $2,100.

Air handlers connect to an air conditioner or heat pump to provide cooled or heated air for an indoor space. They come in a variety of 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 does not require ductwork.

To accept the warranty, most manufacturers demand installation from a professional HVAC specialist. Since putting in a new air handler can be very complicated, you should plan to hire a pro to do it.

Average Total Cost to Install an Air Handler

Average Cost$2,600
High Cost$5,600
Low Cost$700

Air Handler Prices

Air handlers run from $500 to $3,500. A 3-ton output is standard for homes 1,500 to 2,100 square feet. 3-ton units run $700 to $1,500.

Air Handling Unit Cost Estimates by Size
TonsBTUsRange
1.518,000$500 - $1,000
224,000$600 - $1,200
336,000$700 - $1,500
3.542,000$900 - $1,600
448,000$1,000 - $2,000
560,000$1,200 - $2,200

Hydronic Air Handler Prices

Hydronic or chilled water air handler prices range from $600 to $3,500. The price relates 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 $1,000 to $3,500. Models with a variable motor tend to cost more because they offer more consistent cooling or heating. Homeowners can also choose single or multi-speed units from most major brands. Single-speed ones usually cost the least of the three types.

Commercial vs. Residential HVAC Handlers

Air handlers intended for commercial or industrial buildings cost $1,500 to $3,500, compared to $500 to $2,200 for residential models. The roughly 56% difference stems from the larger unit size required to cycle air through commercial spaces.

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Fan Coil Unit Prices

Fan coil units range from $300 to $3,500, depending on the size and type. The term is often used interchangeably with air handlers, but fan coil units are not always the same thing. The least-expensive models run $300 to $800. Generally, property owners install these products in commercial or industrial spaces that need zoned cooling or do not have ductwork.

Chilled Water Fan Coil Unit

A chilled water fan coil unit costs $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, ranging from 200 to 1,200 CFM.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Handlers

A ductless mini-split air handler costs $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

New Air Handler$700 - $1,500
Installation$1,200 - $1,800
Remove/Dispose of Old Unit$300 - $500
Total$2,200 - $3,800

Cost to Replace Heat Pump & Air Handler

The cost to install a new heat pump runs about $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.

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.

Replacement Parts Price List
Evaporator Coil$650 - $1,200
Blower Motor$500 - $1,800
Blower Fan$200 - $500

Air Handler Coil Replacement Cost

An evaporator coil costs $650 to $1,200 to replace. It needs periodic upkeep to prevent damage. Evaporator coils often get dirty, causing particles to freeze and shut off the blower. Annual service from an HVAC professional can extend the product’s lifespan.

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Air Handler Installation Cost

The labor cost of installing an air handler ranges from $200 to $2,100. Most homeowners will pay $1,200 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.

Air Handler in Attic Cost

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 $1,200 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 requires an exterminator. Hiring an insect control service costs $175 on average.

Closet Units

At a price range of $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, give or take a few inches. You also need at least 10-12 inches of airflow on all sides. If your closet is not big enough to accommodate the new unit, you may need to select a smaller model or make the closet bigger. Hanging new drywall costs $40 to $60 per panel and may be necessary for retrofits.

AC Handler in a Crawl Space

Air handlers to fit a crawl space cost $500 to $2,200, depending on the type. Homeowners may have a limited selection tied to the actual dimensions of the unit. Some manufacturers sell 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 to hire an exterminator, which runs about $320.

Additional Installation Cost Factors

Homeowners who plan to use existing equipment may need to repair or replace it for the air handler to work properly. Here’s a few extra costs you might have to pay for:

Top Brands of Air Handler & Fan Coils

Most brands sell models with these standards:

  • Sizes ranging from 1.5 to 5 tons (18,000 to 60,000 BTUs)

  • Variable-speed options

  • All-aluminum coil

  • Full insulation

  • 10-year parts warranty

Air Handler Brand Cost Comparison
BrandPriceProduct/Series & Features
LennoxUnit: $900 - $1,300
Installed: $2,100 - $4,400
  • Signature, Elite, Merit
  • Some coils have a copper core
TraneUnit: $750 - $1,600
Installed: $2,000 - $3,400
  • Hyperion, M, TMM, GMU/V
  • Hyperion and M series compatible with communication system HVAC
First CompanyUnit: $1,500 - $2,500
Installed: $2,700 - $4,500
  • Multi-Family, Commercial
  • Compact sizing, hydronic options
GoodmanUnit: $500 - $1,300
Installed: $1,000 - $2,800
  • AVPTC, ASPT, ARUF, MBVC
  • Some models work with communication system
American StandardUnit: $1,000 - $1,500
Installed: $2,000 - $3,500
  • Forefront, Silver Series
  • Optional extended warranty
CarrierUnit: $800 - $1,500
Installed: $1,000 - $3,000
  • Infinity, Performance, Comfort Series
  • Some models for multi-family homes
RheemUnit: $500 - $2,200
Installed: $1,000 - $4,200
  • RH, Compact, Hydronic
  • Hydronic options available
DaikinUnit: $500 - $1,300
Installed: $1,200 - $2,800
  • DVPEC, DVPTC, ASPT, ARUF
  • Sizes as small as 7,000 BTUs
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Hiring an HVAC Contractor

Proper installation provides a better guarantee that your air handler will work well for a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Hiring a 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 cheapest isn’t always the best. Locate air conditioning installers near you.

FAQs

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 or release heat. It then blows the treated air through the ductwork or straight into the room.

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.

What’s the difference between a forced air and hydro HVAC system?

Most American homes have a forced-air furnace for heating, but some rely on a hydro HVAC system. A furnace burns fuel and a hydronic air handler heats water to provide effective space heating. Both can use ductwork to deliver heated air.

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

An air handler is a common part of a split-system AC 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.

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

Furnace and heat pumps need a way to handle the heated air. A furnace’s blower assembly can partially replace an air handler, with an evaporator coil installed nearby. If you use a heat pump for all your heating and cooling, you will need a separate unit.

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