There's a lot to be said for the advantages of a central heating, ventilation and cooling system – otherwise known as your HVAC system. Anyone who's had a miserable experience attempting to fit a conventional air conditioner into a window during the summer or having to rely on space heaters in wintertime knows not only the inconvenience but also the energy inefficiencies.
A central HVAC system is a big financial investment and a repair or replacement of components could lead to a hefty price tag. So let’s discuss the potential costs:
According to Fixr.com, homeowners in the U.S. currently pay an average bill of about $7,200 to install a centralized heating and cooling system in a home with an area of 2,000 square feet. On the low end of the spectrum, costs may be under $2,700. And some more complex HVAC install jobs can come in at over the $10,000 threshold – depending where you live nationally.
A determining factor as to cost is whether your house has existing ductwork for forced-air heating. (I know from personal experience that you'll pay less if you have existing ductwork, and more if you don't.) Other big factors include the total number of windows in your house and the state of insulation. (This is due to the amount of unwanted cold or warm air that might creep in, as well as material costs and contractor and labor fees.)
Footing the replacement bill
Maybe you're wondering, "Well, if those are the installation costs, how much would HVAC replacement expenses be?" The answer, unfortunately, is different - and not in a good way.
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Even if you're replacing an old HVAC unit with the exact same make and model - or one that's otherwise easily comparable – the changing economy can cause prices to go up over time - especially with popular appliances and systems. Fixr.com notes that you may be paying more for materials when replacement time rolls around. For example, the EPA is looking to stop Freon production and use in the U.S. by the end of 2020. While new coolants will be more environmentally friendly, they may also cost more.
Mitigating HVAC costs
Proper maintenance is the best long-term way to try and avoid paying for a full-fledged HVAC replacement. According to HouseLogic.com, you should have professionals give your HVAC a good once-over at least twice a year - but there's plenty you can DIY in between tune ups:
- Change the filters every three months or so.
- Clean off any leaves and debris periodically (during every season but winter).
- Check the refrigerant lines for damage each month.
- Keep two feet of clearance around the unit.
- Shut off humidifier water supply for the summer.
It's always wise to be prepared for unexpected HVAC and home repairs. That’s why having a plan from HomeServe can help you deal with costs of repair or replacement.