How Much Does an HVAC System Cost? A Comprehensive Pricing Breakdown.
Humans are all unique – some love coffee, and some hate it! A few are thrill-seekers, while others prefer a good book and cozy fire.
There’s at least one thing that we share though: we all want to make good financial investments.
It’s really no surprise. After all, it seems as though you aren’t making any progress in life when you waste money on a bad investment!
That’s why “how much does a new HVAC system cost?” is one of the most common questions the team at Minnick’s receives! We understand the frustration of not knowing how much replacing or repairing an HVAC system costs, and we’re here to help! At the end of this article you’ll know what you can expect to pay for an HVAC a system – and remember, you can always get a free estimate on your heating and cooling needs from Minnick’s!
Let’s get started!
What is an HVAC System?
HVAC is an abbreviation for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. Like the name implies, an HVAC system handles maintaining temperature, regulating humidity and cleaning the air in your home. A lot of homeowners will think of their HVAC system as the metal box in the basement that you control with your thermostat. While this is somewhat correct, there is a lot more that happens behind the scenes.
The HVAC system is an integrated operation comprised of many parts both inside and outside your home. When you adjust your thermostat, your entire house works in harmony to ensure that all these individual components deliver your desired temperature setting. The main components of your HVAC system are:
The Outdoor Unit: usually located to the rear or side of your house, this is where the heat removed from inside your home is dispersed. The outdoor unit contains a compressor, condenser coil, and a fan.
The Indoor Unit: usually located in a closet or basement, this where heat is absorbed and cooled in your home. The indoor unit consists of a furnace, evaporator coil, airblower, and an air handling unit.
Refrigeration Lines: located between your indoor and outdoor units, these circulate your refrigerant fluid that removes the hot air in your home.
Ductwork: runs throughout your entire home and connects to the vents in your rooms, this is how air circulates throughout your home. The ductwork consists of both supply and return air ducts.
Thermostat: the centralized control point that allows you to set your desired temperature for your home. This communicates with your entire HVAC system and all its individual parts.
When thinking about the replacement cost for your HVAC system, it’s important to understand that several pieces of equipment make up the entire HVAC system. The cost you’ll pay is dependent on the type of equipment, the condition, and how many components you need to replace.
What Type of HVAC System Do I Have?
There are three main types of HVAC systems that are used in residential homes. Each type of system differs in parts, sizes, and most importantly cost. Knowing which type of HVAC system is in your home is the first thing to consider when estimating the cost to replace. The three types of HVAC systems are:
Split Systems: The most common type of HVAC system; designed with two main units, one for heating and one for cooling. The cooling system is usually located outside and uses a fan, refrigerant, compressors, and coils to remove hot air from the house. The heating system is usually located in the basement and uses gas or electric and ductwork to produce and circulate heat in the house. A split system often has the most affordable equipment but the highest installation cost due to the required ductwork. The cost to replace only the equipment for a standard 14 SEER split system can range between $7,500 – $10,000.
Mini-Split (Ductless) Systems: A unique type of HVAC system that has individual units in each room. These types of systems are usually visibly mounted on indoor walls and attached to an outdoor compressor. Ductless systems do not require ductwork to operate which can save money on installation costs, but they often cost more for equipment since you’ll need a unit for each room. The cost to replace only the equipment for a standard single zone ductless system can range between $8,000 – $15,000.
Packaged Systems: This uncommon type of HVAC system is designed with all its major parts packaged together into one cabinet. These types of systems are usually installed outdoors and use a blower to circulate air in and out of the home. Packaged systems can run on either a heat pump or gas and electricity. Packaged systems are fully assembled by the manufacturer which saves you money on installation costs, but they often require more frequent maintenance due to all the major components being exposed to the outdoors. The cost to replace only the equipment for a standard 14 SEER packaged system can range between $10,000 – $14,000.
What is the cost to replace my HVAC Equipment?
To be up-front, if you’re replacing your entire HVAC system you can reasonably expect to pay between $15,000 and $40,000 for a replacement system. Keep in mind, depending on the condition of your current HVAC system, additional repairs or upgrades may be required to help the new system function properly. Additional work, such as ductwork renovation, can significantly impact the total cost for a new HVAC system.
To get a better sense of how much it would cost to replace your system, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
What Condition is My HVAC Equipment In?
A malfunctioning or inefficient HVAC system is usually a sign of deteriorated or improperly installed equipment. If your existing system requires repairs to support a new HVAC unit, this will factor into your final cost. Ductwork is a leading cause of HVAC inefficiencies and can add $1,000 – $3,000 to your replacement cost. For more on HVAC inefficiencies, read our blog, “7 Warning Signs Your Home Has Air Leaks And Drafts”
If you’re reading this article, we know it’s because you’re seeking a ballpark figure of how much your new system will cost you. So, we’ll elaborate some more on how ductwork estimates are calculated.
Ductwork runs throughout your home’s walls and ceiling to deliver your heating and cooling. The cost for duct is calculated by the type of material used (flexible duct, sheet metal, etc.) and how much of it your home requires. To put it all into perspective, the average cost of replacing ductwork is If you’re having difficulty heating or cooling your home, you may need to include ductwork into your HVAC replacement cost.
What Size HVAC Unit Do I Need?
There’s a lot of areas in life where bigger equals better, however, this doesn’t apply to your new HVAC system. When determining the best size for your new HVAC unit, there are several factors to consider. The size of your home, insulation levels, and ventilation rate will all influence what size unit your home needs. HVAC units are measured in tons, which is a calculation for heat required to raise or lower the temperature of your home.
Your HVAC unit and ductwork must be sized right for your home. If you choose too small of a unit it will constantly run, leading to high energy bills and a shorter lifespan. If you choose an oversized unit, it can short cycle and shut off before completely cooling/warming other rooms. While you should not base your decision on size nor price, larger units are generally more expensive. Each additional ton of cooling can increase the unit price by about $500-$1,000.
Don’t worry yourself about knowing exactly how many tons your home needs, a good HVAC company will perform an assessment to determine what size output is required to properly heat and cool your home.
What Efficiency Rating Do I Need?
The efficiency rating for HVAC systems is measured in SEERs (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Simply put, higher SEER ratings require less energy to operate. Most HVAC systems have SEER ratings ranging from 14 SEER to 21 SEERs. Higher rated units are often recommended to homeowners seeking replacements because of the proclaimed energy savings.
Keep in mind that high-efficiency units cost more to purchase and maintain. A 21 SEER unit will cost about twice the price of a 14 SEER unit and a 16 SEER unit can cost about $600-$1,000 more than a 14 SEER unit. Regardless of which efficiency rating you decide upon, remember one high-efficiency part does not make the whole HVAC system efficient.
How Much Will My HVAC System Cost?
While the exact cost of replacing your HVAC system will depend on several factors, we hope you found this article helpful in researching how much your replacement HVAC system will cost. Replacing your home’s HVAC system does not have to be a mysterious process. Educating yourself about the factors that influence the cost of replacing your HVAC system is a great sign of responsible homeownership and the Minnick’s team applauds you!
If you’re ready to explore your options for HVAC replacement and live in Maryland, we’d love to help you. At Minnick’s, we provide full-service HVAC repair and installs to Montgomery County, MD; Howard County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; Anne Arundel County, MD; Baltimore County, MD; Baltimore City; and all surrounding areas.