Atlas AC Repair, LLC

HVAC replacement cost guide in 2021

An HVAC system replacement costs the average homeowner $5,300 to $7,800.

Your HVAC Replacement cost guide for 2021

Complete HVAC replacement cost guide in 2021
  • New AC Unit Cost – $3,300 to $4,000
  • New Furnace Cost – $3,000 to $5,100
  • Complete HVAC System Cost – $5,200 to $7,750

What Exactly is a HVAC System?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

The furnace/air handler is the equipment used to heat your home and push air through your vents.

The ventilation, also known as ductwork, is responsible for evenly distributing the air through your home to maintain a consistent temperature.

The outdoor AC unit/condenser is responsible for creating cool air for your home.

How Much Does A HVAC Replacement Cost?

On average an HVAC replacement, which includes the replacement of the indoor furnace and outdoor air conditioning unit, costs a homeowner around $4,900 to $7,000.  The following chart represents a basic HVAC replacement cost.  It does not include replacing the ductwork. 

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What should be included in new HVAC installation?

Remove and install a new outdoor air conditioning unit and indoor furnace.
  • Removal & disposal of current air conditioning unit and furnace. 
  • Installation of new AC unit and furnace to city code. 
  • Installation of heat kit elements, disconnect & whip, proper max circuit protection fuses, safety float switches, locking caps, plenum transitions, drain line, reconnection & line set flush to accommodate new refrigerant. Complete city permit & city inspection.
  • 10-year parts warranty & 1-year labor warranty
Carrier ac system

What is the difference between an Electric, Heat pump and gas HVAC?

There are 3 types of HVAC systems most commonly used in the US. The difference between these 3 system types largely has to do with the furnace and how it heats your home.

Electric HVAC System

  • An electric HVAC warms your house differently from a heat pump or gas system.  Electric is the most budget-friendly option but also the most energy inefficient solution. The cost to replace an electric HVAC will save you a few hundred dollars over the other system types.  Electric systems use heat strips inside the furnace that uses electricity to warm up your house. Air is blown over these heat strips warming the air, which is then distributed through your home.  Most people will use these HVAC systems for rental properties or if they are planning to move in the near future.  It is not ideal for northern states that have long winters due to the inefficiency of this type of system. Homeowners that plan on living in their home for more than 7 years would be better served by a more efficient system. 

Heat Pump HVAC system

  •  What makes an HVAC heat pump different is it uses the outside air conditioning unit to cool and warm your house. The cost of an HVAC heat pump is a few hundred dollars more than an electric system but you will definitely make that back in energy savings. This system is arguably the most efficient system out of the 3 options. It uses the air conditioning unit to convert the outdoor ambient temperature into heat. This process is using the outdoor air to make heat instead of using electricity or gas. This is why it is so efficient. HVAC heat pumps are ideal for a homeowner who is planning to live in their home for many years. Where heat pumps underperform is up north. Since it uses the outdoor air to create heat, once temperatures drop below minis -10 degrees it starts struggling to keep up.

Gas HVAC system

  • A gas HVAC system uses combustion in the furnace to create heat. A new furnace cost more for a gas HVAC system because of all of the safety measures that must be put in place to prevent carbon monoxide poisonings. Many people believe this system delivers superior quality of heating over the other 2 system types. A gas system is ideal for the northern states and areas that provide access to inexpensive gas. The only downside to the system is the cost is high because of all the extra safety measures that must be taken to keep the homeowner safe.

What is the Most Cost Effective HVAC Brand?

The cost of an HVAC replacement can vary depending on the brand. There can be around a $2,000 difference in the replacement cost base on which brand you go with.

3 Ton 14 Seer AC unit & Furnace Replacement cost

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Each HVAC company has a different price model.

  • Just a quick disclaimer, take the above pricing with a grain of salt. Your cost for a replacement is going to change based on where you are located in the US to your local city requirements. However, the biggest cost difference is going to come from the company you work with. Some HVAC companies spend huge amounts of money on marketing and salesmen. It is normal for an air conditioning company to spend 20% of the replacement cost on marketing by the time the sale is closed. Also, they need a salesman to close that sale with cost another 10%. That’s right, many companies will 30% on something that has no direct benefit to the customer. If you are working with a company that is 30% higher than these prices, I would recommend calling a few more companies until the pricing is more in line with fair industry rates.

The purchasing power of an air conditioning company matters.

  • If you have a very specific brand in mind, not all HVAC companies will be able to give you competitive rates. For example, take a company like ours, Atlas AC Repair, we primarily use Carrier for our replacements. Since we do so much volume through Carrier we get special pricing that gets passed down to the customer. We simply can be as completive using another brand. If you want a Trane air conditioning system, we would have to charge an extra $750 over our Carrier price. We don’t do enough volume with Trane to be able to give you the best price. If you are after a certain brand, it would be best to ask the contractor what their primary brand is. If it lines up with what you are looking for, depending on the company, you would be able to get the best price for that brand.

How Much Does High Efficiency HVAC Cost?

There is a huge cost difference for high efficiency. A 3 Ton 14 Seer Gas HVAC installed cost $6,200 while a 22 Seer AC unit cost $15,000.

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What is the Difference In a 1 stage Vs. multi stage air conditioner?

The number of stages you have on your HVAC has a big impact on temperature consistency, humidity, and energy use. The more stages you have, the more control you have for the air quality in your home.

Single Stage Delivers Little Control

  • A single-stage HVAC has only one setting, it’s either on or off, there is no in-between. What this means is when it’s time to warm or cool your home turns on at 100% until the desired temperature is met. This is a good thing, right? Not quite, by operating at 100% this creates a few problems that a multi-stage HVAC can fix.
  • A single-stage HVAC creates a short cycle time because it’s running all out. The on/off cycle time can create hot and cool spots throughout your home. So some areas of your home are cool while other areas can be warm. A multi-stage HVAC can play a part in fixing this problem.
  • There is also another problem that we run into, humidity. If you live in an area with high humidity, a lot of time a single-stage HVAC doesn’t run long enough to balance out the humidity in your home.  This is bad news if you have art or expensive furniture. A single-stage HVAC replacement is always going to cost the least amount of money but isn’t always the best solution.
Single Stage AC unit

2 Stage Delivers Some Control

2 stage AC unit
  • A two-stage central air conditioner and heater have two operating speeds. Most of the time the first stage operates around 65% of its compacity. The second stage operates at 100%. If there is not a lot of demand on the HVAC it will use the first stage to warm and cool your home. However, if it’s really hot or cold outside where the first stage is no longer keeping up, it moves to stage 2. At that point, the desired temperature is met. A 2 stage HVAC has a much longer run time, which in turn better controls the humidity in your home. It also helps to even out the temperatures throughout your home. The extra cost for a 2 stage HVAC replacement is worth considering if you own a 2 story home or looking to protecting your valuables

Variable Speed Delivers Total Control

  • 5 Speed and Variable speed HVAC operate at multiple different outputs. These are designed to run all the time at the lowest speed. Once the lowest speed can satisfy the indoor temperature, it moves to the next stages until it hits temperature then starts stepping back down through the stages. It can control your house’s temperature within 1 degree. Because it runs for a long time on the lowest stages you can set the humidity at your desired levels. The increase in cost for a variable speed HVAC replacement is worth considering if you have a large home with high ceilings and lots of rooms. These systems will also protect your artwork and expensive furniture along with keeping your electric bill low. 
Green speed AC unit

What Is The Install Cost Of A HVAC System Per Region?

The price difference for a new HVAC replacement can vary as much as $1,000 depending on where you are located in the US.

Map of USA deviled up in HVAC regions

The temperature and humidity difference between each region in the US can change the size and type of HVAC system available to you. If you are in the southeastern states, you are going to need a lot bigger air conditioning unit to handle the heat over what is needed up north. The southwestern states need a specialized air handler to add moisture back in the air because of the dry climate. The northern states require huge furnaces to handle the long cold winters.

The type of heating and cooling system can change depending on the region you live in.

  • The most common HVAC used in the southeastern states is heat pump heating and cooling system. A heat pump HVAC system is the most efficient way to heat your home for this region. A straight electric and gas system can be used in this area. A gas system is going to cost the most. An electric system is going to cost the least but is the most energy inefficient. A heat pump is in the middle of the road in cost but is going to deliver the most in savings.
  • The southwestern states have a dry climate that has to be taken into consideration. The lack of moisture in the air makes it difficult to properly cool and warm a house. In this area, there are special furnaces that are made to help add moisture back into the air.
  • The northern states typically use a gas or oil furnace with a straight electric air conditioning unit. A heat pump HVAC system doesn’t work well up north because it uses the outdoor ambient temperature to create heat. The winters are cold and long making a heat pump, not a good fit. An electric HVAC system is too inefficient to use up north leaves only a gas or oil furnace with a straight electric AC unit.

Average HVAC replacement cost per region

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Load calculations are what drives the size of the furnace and air conditioning unit you need for your home. Some of the calculations take into consideration the size of your home, ceiling height, and how well insulated your home is. These variables help to determine the size of heating and cooling you need for your home. The next set of variables that are looked at is the outdoor to indoor temperature splits. The temperature splits in southern states are going to going to be around 20 degrees in the summer and 30 degrees in the winter. For example, if temperatures reach up to 95 degrees, the air conditioner will keep inside your home at 75 degrees. In northern states on a 15-degree split is needed for the summer but a 55-degree split is needed for the winter. For this reason, southern states need much larger air conditioner units but smaller furnaces than what is required up north. The big difference in cost largely comes from the technology needed pre-region of the US. Southeastern states can use a heat pump to heat or warm homes but up north a gas or oil furnace is required. A gas and oil furnace costs more than a heat pump, largely due to the increase in safety features required. 

The Right HVAC system for the right application

As we know there is so such thing as a 1 size fits all. There are a couple of different options that available to you, whether you are looking for the most budget-friendly to the most energy-efficient HVAC. The heating and cooling quality can also vary depending on the system type you use. 

Heat Pump HVAC

  •  A heat pump is one of the most ideal options for southern states in the US. There are a few reasons a heat pump works so well in the south. One reason biggest reason is a heat pump uses a chemical reaction to create heat. The outdoor AC unit uses the freon to both cool and heat your home. This is very different from the other HVAC systems that have to use combustion or electricity to heat your home. Since a heat pump does not use combustion or electricity to heat your home, but a chemical reaction, it is the most energy-efficient HVAC available. Another positive is the cost of an HVAC replacement is almost the same as an electric system and is much cheaper than a gas HVAC. The downside to a heat pump HVAC is it doesn’t work well up north. Since it has to extract heat from the outdoor ambient temperature, at some point it gets too cold to pull heat from the air. Another small issue is the live expectance isn’t quite as long as the other HVAC system types. This is due to it runs all year round for both summer and winter. The gas and electric system only uses the outdoor air conditioning unit in the summer and the furnace in the winter. I would expect to get around 15 years with a heat pump and a few years longer for the others. The HVAC replacement cost is good and the energy efficiency is also great making this one of your best options for the southern US.
Gas HVAC
  • A gas HVAC arguably delivers the highest quality of heating for your home. The HVAC replacement cost for a gas system is the highest out of the three system types. The increase in cost is largely due to the number of safety precautions that have to be met when a gas HVAC is replaced. Since it uses combustion to warm your home, the by-product it produces is carbon monoxide. There are a lot of safety perimeters that must be met in order to safely get the carbon monoxide out of your home. Overall, this is one of your best options for the northern states. A heat pump can’t perform in the cold weather and an electric furnace is too inefficient for the long winters. A gas system might be the most expensive option but it is your best option for up north.

Electric HVAC

  • An electric HVAC is going to be your most budget-friendly option but it’s the most inefficient way to warm your home. Generally, an electric HVAC system is not recommended that often but there are a few applications where it makes sense to use. If you are going to live in your home for fewer than 5 years this might be a good replacement option. Another instance where it makes sense is for rental properties. Most tenants don’t change the filters that often or properly take care of the HVAC. This leads to HVAC systems failing 5 to 10 years sooner than it normally would. In this scenario, where you are not paying for the electricity and the equipment is being used and abused, your best option is the low-cost electric replacement.
 

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Atlas AC Service Area

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How to get a fair price on an HVAC install?

If you are a homeowner that is digging into the HVAC replacement cost for your home, it can be frustrating. You find this site where we are transparent with our internal pricing but the contractor you are working with is quoting you a much high price. You might be asking yourself, what is going on here, I just want a fair price. This can be extremely frustrating and if your HVAC system is down you need to makes so decisions quickly. There are a few things you can do to help find the right HVAC company to work with.

12 Things Every Homeowner Should Know Before Buying New HVAC

Download the Atlas AC Buyers Guide before you buy a new AC

The HVAC industry still operates as the wild west, and many homeowners are left to fend for themselves. Atlas AC created the Buyers Guide to prevent homeowners from being exploited by untrustworthy HVAC companies.

Use this guide to help you select the best HVAC Company for your next HVAC Replacement.

What to look out for when starting your search?

The method you use to find an HVAC contractor can impact the amount you pay for an HVAC system. So, I have been in the HVAC business for a while now and have found that many HVAC businesses will spend upwards of 15% of all their revenue on marketing. For example, we did an advertising test with HomeAdvisor, Modernize, Angie’s List, and Google Ads to see if we could cost-effectively increase our HVAC replacement volume. We spent around $100k on the test and the results were quite shocking. We spent on average $1,500 by the time we got just one HVAC replacement. So for every HVAC replacement, we had to spend $1,500. So we could no longer charge $5,800 for a 3 Ton HVAC replacement we now had to charge $7,300 just to cover the marketing expenses. We were fortunate enough to be able to run such a large test but at the end of the day, we had to cancel the program because we are not the type of company to overcharge our customers.

This ends up complicating everything because how do you know if they are the type of HVAC business that uses these tactics? The short answer is you are not going to know for sure until you start working with them. One thing you can do is when starting your search is to not uses directory sites like Home Advisor, Modernize, and Angie’s List because they sell your information to HVAC companies for a premium. Another thing you can stay away from is clicking on ads. Each click costs that company quite a bit. Overall if a company is using these tactics to find customers they are going to have to charge more just to stay in business. It is hard to determine whether or not a business uses these tactics but the next 2 steps should help clear things up a little more.

Atlas AC Repair team installing new AC condenser outside for homeowner

Do they have salesmen?

You might be thinking to yourself, what is wrong with a salesman? Well, let’s go back to the marketing test we did with HomeAdvisor, Modernize, Angie’s List, and Google Ads. When HomeAdvisor and Modernize sell your information, they sell it to a bunch of HVAC companies. This creates a feeding frenzy among all the HVAC companies. This created a whole slew of problems. Since none of these companies can any longer compete by offering a fair HVAC replacement they are forced to use other tactics. They have to be the first to respond and the first to your home so they can pressure you into a sell before the next company shows up. This is where the salesman comes in. It is the salesman’s job to respond and be the first to your home to try to close the sale. The way the salesman makes money is through commissions. If he sells something he gets paid and if not he doesn’t. You can already see where this is going.

Let’s do some simple math. If the HVAC company spends $1,500 on marketing. Their sales price for a 3 ton HVAC replacement will be around $7,300. Now we have to add the 10% in for the salesman, $730. Now they have to sell you an HVAC system for around $8,030. Not only that, this is for a basic 14 Seer 3 ton HVAC system replacement, nothing fancy. Since a salesman makes money through commissions they are going to try to sell you a higher Seer HVAC system so they can make more money. Meaning they don’t always have your best interest in mind. If you are looking for a fair HVAC replacement cost, it’s best to avoid companies that use salesmen as a tactic.

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