How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace an HVAC System?

by Team HomeServe

Your home heating and cooling systems provide you and your family with comfort each season. A well-functioning HVAC system prevents you from getting frozen in the winter and living in a sauna in the summer.

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However, after some time, you'll have to replace even the best equipment on the market. When that time comes, it’s helpful to have some knowledge about the average cost of HVAC installation.

Determining HVAC Installation Costs

A definitive HVAC replacement cost estimate is hard to calculate. The final price depends on the size of your home and the type of equipment you choose. If your equipment isn't compatible with your home, it may be either overexerted or overpowered. In both cases, the machine may have a shorter lifespan. One of your first steps will be to have an expert HVAC technician come to your home and measure your heating and cooling needs. According to Lawnstarter, it costs between $60 and $150 (CAD 82 and CAD 205) to call out an HVAC technician.

The cost of a new air conditioning unit ranges from $3,500 to $8,000 (CAD 4,778 to CAD 10,922), while a gas furnace costs between $700 and $10,700 (CAD 956 and CAD 14,608). The difference in pricing is often a matter of power and efficiency. High-efficiency units usually cost more upfront, but they're less expensive to operate over time. Larger homes need more heating or cooling power, and more powerful units are on the expensive end of the scale.

You also have to consider the cost of labor when you install or replace your home systems. Forbes says the labor to install or replace HVAC systems costs between $500 and $2,500 (CAD 683 and CAD 3,413) on average, with hourly rates ranging between $60 and $150 (CAD 82 and CAD 205) per hour. However, if your situation is more complex, the costs will increase. For example, if the contractor must install ductwork for a central heating and cooling system, it will add to the price.

This extra work will also add to the time of the project. In most cases, a well-organized company can perform a furnace or AC replacement in a single day. When there's extra ductwork needed or other additions involved, your house may be tied up for a week.

How to Find the Right Professional

HVAC installation and maintenance require several years of training. Unless you're a skilled HVAC technician, you shouldn’t think about trying to do this project on your own. However, this means you'll have to find an HVAC professional you can trust.

In addition to cost, there are some easy ways to find the right company for the job. Everyone who has a home has some kind of home comfort system. You can talk to people around you about their experiences with local professionals. These days, there are also many resources online that provide reviews.

At a basic level, you want to work with someone who is fully licensed, bonded and insured. Experience matters when it comes to your home. Most HVAC pros list how long they've been in business on their websites.

To find the best prices, get at least three estimates from different HVAC companies in your area. This way, you can be sure that you’re getting the best deal.

You also should look for a company that offers great customer service. Ideally, the company that installs your home systems will be the one that maintains them. If the business was slow to respond to your calls or impatient with your questions, it might not be the team you want working on your home.

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Additional HVAC Replacement Costs

You can run into unexpected costs in your HVAC system replacement project. The process can get complex, especially if you're installing a new system. Depending on the scope of the project, you may need to obtain building permits. The price of a permit varies from town to town, but HomeGuide says it can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,500 (CAD 68 to CAD 2,048).

If you have a historic home, you may experience the cost of working through the additional legal hurdles involved. Older homes can also have unusual spaces that require custom ductwork and creative installation solutions. Extra work can mean extra expenses.


How Long Does an HVAC System Last?

Modern HVAC systems last longer than older units. With proper maintenance, you can expect to get at least 15 years from your HVAC equipment. Your furnace will probably last a few years longer than your air conditioner.

How Do I Care for My HVAC System?

The best thing you can do for the life and performance of your heating and cooling equipment is to have a professional company maintain it. Many HVAC businesses offer maintenance plans that will bring a technician to your home twice a year. You can also help the system by changing the air filter every two to three months.

Can I Lower the Costs of HVAC System Replacement?

If you're wondering how to lower the cost of HVAC replacement, you're in good company. These systems are a serious financial investment in your home. Take the time to do some research about the cost of the equipment versus the cost of operation. Cooling systems with a higher SEER rating will be more expensive, but the energy costs may be worth it in the long haul.

Additionally, many high-efficiency units are eligible for rebates and incentives through state and federal government programs. These discounts can take a welcome chunk out of your initial expenses.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.