The Average Home HVAC Cost

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HVAC systems cost depend on numerous factors.
HVAC systems cost depend on numerous factors. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system plays a dramatic role in the comfort of your home. Upgrading your existing HVAC system or installing an HVAC system to a new building can greatly vary from a few thousand dollars to over $10,000. The size of the unit, efficiency, home size and the need for additional duct-work all influence the overall cost of the HVAC system.

General Information

A heating, ventilation and air conditioning system completes many operations, including the regulation of temperature, cleaning indoor air and humidifying the home. Many HVAC systems are split systems, meaning some components of the system are inside and others are outside. The bulky condenser is often located outside while the fan-and-coil system are installed inside the house. Pipes full of refrigerant connect the components and other pipes connect with your home's furnace. The cost for an HVAC system can vary dramatically, based on the size and efficiency of the unit, as well as other factors.

General Costs

The typical cost for a 2,000-square-foot home with an existing forced-air system runs between $3,500 and $4,000, at the time of publication. A 1,500 square-foot home that is a new construction will run between $5,000 to $7,000. The need for additional duct-work increases the cost of the installation. About 1/3 of the cost is attributed to the actual unit, while 2/3 of the cost goes toward the installation.

Variables

The cost of an HVAC system can vary based on a number of factors, including the efficiency of the system, the size of the home and the difficulty of the job. More efficient models will cost more. Efficiency is based on a rating called a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER rating must be 14 or higher to be considered highly efficient on the sticker on the unit. If you have a larger home, you will likely need a larger, more expensive unit to effectively regulate the temperature in your home. Installing multiple thermostats and using multiple units can complicate the job and increase its cost.

Considerations

Before investing thousands of dollars in a new HVAC system, have your home inspected. Certified inspectors can come into your home, investigate your home's heat gain and determine the right size unit specific to your needs. Additionally, if your home is not well-insulated, it will be less expensive in the long run if you better insulate your home and get a smaller HVAC unit. Add insulation to your attic, upgrade your existing insulation and seal windows and doors to increase your home's energy efficiency and to avoid having to get a larger HVAC system. More efficient HVAC systems will have a higher upfront cost, but will save you money on utility bills. Consider how long it will take to recoup your initial investment when deciding what unit to purchase. A more efficient model may also increase your home value.

Tax Credits

Installing air source heat pumps with your HVAC system and adding a central air conditioner offer tax credits for up to $300. You must install a unit with a SEER rating of 14 or above. The tax credits are applicable until the end of 2011.

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